Freewriting is a great way to shake yourself free of your writer’s block. If you’re having trouble finding ideas, try one of these two freewriting exercises to get those creative juices flowing.
If you’ve had writer’s block for a while, it can be difficult to begin writing again. Your writing may feel stilted and uncomfortable. Maybe you feel like you’ve run out of things to say.
You might feel like there’s nothing to do, except surrender and wait for your writer’s block to end on its own. However, one of the best ways to kick your writer’s block is simply to start writing.
Freewriting is a great way to kick your writer’s block. The practice of freewriting allows writers to practice without any expectations. It’s like stretching your muscles – it’ll prepare you for the real thing, but without the effort that you can’t yet manage.
If you’re stuck in a rut right now, try one of these two freewriting exercises to stretch your mental muscles. It’ll help you start writing again – and, incidentally, both of these freewriting exercises will get you out of the house for a little while.
Freewriting Exercise #1: The Coffee Shop Exercise
I suggest using your most impressive notebook for this freewriting exercise because you’re going to be in public. I call it coffee shop freewriting because cafes are usually the best place for this, but it works in any public place where you can sit comfortably for an hour or so.
Pay attention to your surroundings as you begin freewriting. If you feel uncomfortable, it may help to begin by describing the room around you. But eventually, you should work your way up to the main attraction – the people.
Record anything that sticks out about the people around you – a snatch of overheard conversation, a really cool jacket, whatever you can find. (Needless to say, you shouldn’t do this in any place where you’ll run into somebody you know.)
Later, you can look over your freewriting notes and pick out the best things you saw. Is there a sentence in your notebook that sticks out? Try using that as the first sentence to a short story.
This freewriting exercise can be a great way to kick your writer’s block if you’re just stuck for ideas, but it’s also a great excuse to get out of the house. Sometimes, what feels like writer’s block is really just boredom or loneliness – and some good coffee at a busy coffee shop can help with both of those problems.
Freewriting Exercise #2: The Park Exercise
If you think your writer’s block might stem from being too busy or stressed, this freewriting exercise may help you solve both of those problems at once. A day at the park is a great way to relax and be with your own thoughts, and may make freewriting easier.
Grab your notebook and head to a nearby park or nature preserve. Drive if you have to, but I find that this works better if you bike or walk. You see more that way.
Once you’re at the park, find somewhere to sit down and begin freewriting. Again, it might help to begin by describing anything that sticks out about your surroundings. If you want to simply describe the place for the whole time, that’s fine.
Sometimes I end up writing a whole scene that takes place in that park, or even something totally irrelevant, by starting with those descriptions. The nice thing about this freewriting exercise is that there’s almost a zero percent chance that anyone will look over your shoulder.
Whether or not the park freewriting exercise works as a source of ideas depends on what you want to write. You might end up with a beautiful description that works for a setting, or you might end up with some messy notes. For this exercise, the main goal is to just start writing – whether or not it goes anywhere it up to you.
I used these freewriting exercises a lot during high school. All right, mostly I just enjoyed having people see me carry my sparkly green notebook around in public, but all joking aside: freewriting is a great way to gather ideas. And it’s a great way to kick your writer’s block when you’re stuck in a rut.