2. Getting Ideas Part 1: Free Writing

Author: Nola Published: about 3 years ago.
Tags: creativity, ideas, muse, inspiration, free writing, writer's block Category: Writing tips

Some writers are never at a loss for words. They just open a notebook or sit in front of a computer and the ideas fall onto the page in a never-ending torrent of creative bliss. Sometimes I’m like that. Yet there are other days when I sit and stare at a blank page, wondering what to do next. In this three-part series, I’ll give some tips I’ve found useful in prodding that reluctant muse into action.

Free writing is one technique that can help get the creative juices flowing. For example, give yourself 10 minutes to write whatever comes to mind. Don’t worry about spelling and grammar. Don’t re-read what you’ve written. Don’t worry if it’s good, bad or indifferent. Just write. If you can’t think of anything to write about, start with what you ate for breakfast or what you can see out your window. By scribing without constraints or preconceived ideas, you may tap into some thoughts or feelings that could be explored further.

Just after Christmas one year, I was sitting in my lounge room intent on writing a poem. The only problem was that I had no ideas whatsoever. Undaunted, I put pen to paper and just started describing the Christmas angel decoration I saw in front of me. Here are my opening lines: ‘The calico angel / with raffia wings / sits on the box / where we keep the firewood. / A gold bracelet / forms a crown / above the faceless face.’

As soon as I wrote the words ‘faceless face’, I started thinking about the faceless people we see on the news every night who may need our help. From there, the poem went off in a totally different direction and became a social justice piece about whether we really care for those in need. The poem ‘Faceless’ was subsequently published in the journal Poetrix. If I had waited for the full idea to come to me, I never would have written that poem. I had to start writing first and it flowed from here. If you’d like to read the finished version, you can find it here.

Why not try a free-writing exercise? Not every piece will be a treasure, but if you do this regularly, who knows what gems you’ll unearth along the way. I’d be interested in hearing about your experiences.

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Posted about 3 years ago by Jeanette O'Hagan

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