How do you manage stress or difficult emotions? We all have our own strategies–exercise, yoga, meditation and journaling are just a few of the go-to stress relievers for many people. Today, we are going to share one very easy technique that is proven to be an effective way to process emotions and clear your head.
Free writing is a tool that many writers use to combat writer’s block. The process of free writing liberates you from expectations, opens up space for creativity and allows you to download all of the thoughts, feelings and stresses that are floating around in your head. It’s kind of like riding a gentle, emotional wave without worrying about where the wave takes you.
Even if you aren’t a writer, free writing can still be used to enhance creativity and get over emotional blocks. Establishing a regular free writing practice can make a huge impact on your daily life and ability to cope with stressors.
Let’s explore how to free write and list some of the major benefits of the practice.
What is Free Writing?
Free writing is really quite simple. You do not begin a session with a topic or prompt in mind. Rather, free writing is all about stream of consciousness. You write down whatever comes to your head, no matter if it makes sense or is complete gibberish. You do not worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation. You do not fret if your handwriting is not perfect. Free writing is all about putting pen to paper and writing down whatever words come out.
There are many ways people approach this practice. Most people suggest free writing first thing in the morning, even before you get out of bed. Why?
During the night, our subconscious processes all of the events of that day. When we wake up, our brain has sorted and made sense of it all. Free writing upon rising allows you to get all of that processed information down onto paper and out of your head. This means you can start the new day with a renewed sense of clarity and completion.
Some people choose to read their free writing after they are done; however, others feel that it is counter-intuitive to do so. Free writing allows you to unload all of your thoughts without harnessing any of it. Many people choose to tear up their pages or burn them to fully release those thoughts and emotions.
Those who have a free writing practice usually commit to writing for a certain amount of time or a certain number of pages. For example, you might choose to write for 15 minutes every morning. As soon as your 15 minutes are up you put your pen down, even if you are midsentence. Others choose to free write a certain number of pages before stopping.
Whatever method you choose is the right one. You’ll still get the amazing benefits that we’re going to talk about below.
The Benefits of a Free Writing Practice
- Reduces expectations of perfection.
- Provides unimpeded release of your thoughts and emotions.
- Builds self-confidence.
- Brings out emotional blocks and barriers to your success.
- Helps you develop good, healthy habits.
- Offers a blank slate for 100% honesty.
- Provides practice in releasing self-judgment and judgment from others.
- Increases creativity and inspiration.
- Uncovers thoughts and ideas you never knew you had.
- Assists in sorting through difficult situations.
- Acts as a forum for being truly authentic and YOU.
- Allows you to be more present in your day-to-day interactions.
- Fosters a greater sense of clarity and focus.
- Changes your perspective on challenging situations.
- Increases awareness of patterns and themes in your life.
Starting Your Free Writing Practice
If any of these benefits sound good to you, free writing might be a great addition to your daily routine. Go out there and buy yourself a nice, new journal and a good pen. Decide when you will do your free writing and for how long. Then, get started!
The key to being successful with free writing is to avoid censoring yourself in any way. Let the words flow directly from your head to the paper without thinking about them. It can be difficult at first – we aren’t used to writing in this way.
Whatever you write is just for you and no one else, so write your heart out. Good luck!