Whether you’ve run out of inspiration or simply want to refine a good idea, a freewriting session might be the best way to get your best thoughts on the page. “I’ve seen people use it to create a strategic direction for their company, brainstorm ideas for a personal branding campaign, plan a product launch, think through employee engagement problems, rehearse ways of handling a negotiation, write books and blog posts, and more,” says Mark Levy at the Compelling blog.
When you sit down with the sole purpose of writing whatever crosses your mind, you’re able to override the internal editor that keeps you sounding smart, confident and consistent—usually by killing risky, daring, original thoughts before you’ve had the chance to finish a sentence.
To keep your internal editor in check, Levy offers this advice:
Set a time limit. Your freewriting session might last for as few as five minutes, or as long as half an hour. “When the timer starts,” explains Levy, “you start. When it finishes, you finish. By using a timer, you can forget about logistics, and spend your attention and energy on flat-out writing.”
Don’t pause. If your mind goes blank, write about your mind going blank. If you’re frustrated by the choppiness of your thoughts, write about that. “Stopping for more than a second or two gives your internal editor a chance to reengage and disrupt the process,” he notes.
Write at a swift rate. “Your fingers needn’t fly over the keyboard,” he says. “They just need to move at a clip slightly quicker than your norm.” This faster-than-usual pace will help to keep that internal editor at bay.
Use a no-holds-barred freewriting session to get all of your ideas on the page—then decide which ones deserve further consideration.