Beating Writer's Blog Via Freewriting


Tasked with writing a blog post, article or paper but facing a serious case of writer's block? While there are all kinds of techniques out there that are supposed to help, freewriting can be one of the most helpful.

Freewriting, a writing technique created by Peter Elbow in 1973, is similar to brainstorming but is written in sentence and paragraph form without stopping.

As a result of the free writing process:

  • You will increase the flow of ideas and reduces the chance of censoring a good idea by accident.
  • Freewriting helps second-language learners improve their fluency—their ability to produce written language quickly (as opposed to accuracy, which is of course important but which is better addressed later in the process).

Similarly to brainstorming,

  • DO jot down any and all ideas you have about your topic, no matter how "crazy" they may seem; you can judge and edit them later! (And it won't be seen by anyone else.)
  • DO NOT BE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR GRAMMAR OR SPELLING; you will certainly need to be later, but for now, just keep writing.

In contrast to brainstorming,

  • DO write in complete sentences and paragraphs.
  • Do keep moving your hands. If you're stuck for ideas, keep repeating your subject (e.g., "busy trap, busy trap") or something along the lines of "I'm waiting for ideas to come and they will, I'm waiting for ideas to come and they will" until they do. (They will!)
  • Foe ESL writers: DO feel free to use a word from your native language if you can't think of an English equivalent, but don't go overboard;
  • DO keep going for 15 or 20 minutes, or until you feel you have enough material to begin writing your article, paper or blog.

NOTE: In Peter Elbow's original formulation of freewriting, the writer writes for a few minutes, selects one idea or word from that freewriting, freewrites about that new topic for several minutes, and then repeats the process, gradually refining their topic. If you're truly starting from scratch and have no idea what you want to write about, this method can be very helpful.