How To Freewrite And Make Yourself A More Effective Writer

If you are a writer you are sometimes tasked with writing as part of work assignments, then you have probably encountered the difficulty of getting the ideas in your head written down in a way that is actually usable. Sometimes the ideas don’t want to come, and the words don’t want to flow. Learning how to free write can help make your writing sessions more productive and less prone to blockages. Here’s how you can use freewriting to turn yourself into a better writer.

– What is freewriting?

Freewriting is a technique used to free up mental blocks that inhibit writers from writing. It is also used to tease out ideas that the writer may be having trouble expressing. Freewriting basically involves writing down a free and continuous flow of whatever comes into your mind over a set period of time. Generally, freewriting sessions take from five to twenty minutes depending on the time decided on, with sessions longer than twenty minutes generally being advised against as they become unproductive beyond that length. Grammar and spelling are not important during a freewriting session, as the flow of ideas is the desired outcome. The writer generally won’t re-read what they have written until the session has ended. Think of freewriting as like trying to clear a partial blockage in a pipe by letting water flow freely through it at maximum pressure.

– How to free write.

You begin a freewriting session by taking the time to clear your mind and relax your body. Remind yourself that no-one ever has to see or judge what you have written. You may get some useful ideas from the session, but the point of it is to loosen up your mind ready for a proper writing session. You are not trying to write actual content here – just to warm-up your mental writing muscles.

Your session should have a finite time limit set, so decide what that limit will be before you start. Consider setting a timer for the session, so you don’t have to keep checking a clock to see when the session ends. As you start the freewriting technique, set a five-minute limit, and expand the limit in future sessions as you gain more freewriting experience. If you are an experienced free-writer, then set a maximum twenty-minute session length. You can set longer sessions if you wish, but more than twenty minutes will usually result in you wandering too far from any coherent focus in your writing.

If you want to focus on a particular idea, then think about that idea before you start your session. Don’t be afraid to stray from that idea, though, as the direction you take may give you some insights.

Once the session starts, just start writing and don’t stop until the session ends. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or coherent writing as that is not what this exercise is about. If the idea you wanted to focus on for the session isn’t giving you anything to write down then just write whatever comes into your head. If you get bored, then write about how you feel bored. If you can’t think of an idea to write about, then just repeat any phrase you wish until something comes to you. The point is to encourage the free flow of words and ideas. You don’t need to worry about how much sense any of it makes, as it’s just an exercise.

Write continuously until the time limit is reached and then stop writing. Maybe take a short break to put yourself in a different frame of mind ready for the review of what you have written. Then go over what you wrote down and look for anything that may actually be usable for a real writing session. Look at the ideas you expressed and create a bullet list of items that may be worth building something substantial from.

Conclusion


Freewriting is not a technique that works for everybody, but if it works for you, then it can be an excellent approach to improve your writing and to help you get over writing blockages. It may also help you tease out ideas that are difficult to nail down when using a more direct approach. Remember that no-one needs to see what you have written. Even if you are freewriting as part of an assignment, you can always repeat the session if the first session didn’t produce anything that you want to share. So let the words flow and see where your freewriting session takes you.

Why Freewriting Is Important

Perhaps you feel like writing. You know deep within you that you have something you would like to share. Perhaps it is your own personal story. Maybe it is a book that will help you get your message out. But you ignore this feeling. There is no doubt that writing is tough. It is a skill developed on self-discovery and deep thought, both of which are time-consuming and emotionally draining. Just like proofreading, plotting, editing, and character development, and writing is a skill. Learning freewriting takes some patience and the ability to accept correction. Even a badly written piece can be educational. It can teach you the act of thinking deeply and clearly. Freewriting is, therefore, to the mind what yoga is to the body. 


Freewriting is one of the most important forms of writing. The idea is to write some things down for a time period, or to fill up some pages, and not stop until you’re done writing. The topic you write on doesn’t matter much – only that you write, till the timer’s second stops. But there is more to freewriting than just to get a story for your novel. It is used in therapy and counseling as a means of handling trauma. It can help bloggers and writers deal with issues they are too scared to deal with in real life, and it gives an avenue to channel that nervous energy.

Benefits of Freewriting

Some reasons try freewriting are:

  • It can help you develop your writing abilities
  • Train your self to write without self-censorship
  • It can drive inspiration
  • It builds honesty in your writing
  • Helps you find topics to write about. If you are not quite sure the subject to write about, whether a blog post, a personal experience, or as a journalist, freewriting can help you figure the right topic. Think of a place, person, feeling, or event that you value so much and write about it.
  • It helps get rid of emotional barriers on a deeper level. For instance, if you find yourself always upset or annoyed by something, and you intend to figure out what the cause of that annoyance is, free write about it. Set a time limit and just begin writing.
  • Accept yourself just the way you are. If you can learn to accept the topics you write about without judging yourself, you can accept the person behind the story without judgment. 

Psychologically, freewriting is beneficial because:

  • It can be relaxing

It is a form of meditation. While at it, you get to a trance where only your writing matters, and nothing else. Freewriting is all about getting the story out of your body. When psychologists and counselors recommend it, it is done to get rid of emotions that have built-up, such as anger. 

  • It is a good practice

You don’t edit or fix grammatical errors when freewriting. This way, your initial idea is not interrupted, which is the reason behind your writing. Editing is done after the writing is completed.

  • It strengthens muscle memory and good habits

You are inherently creative as a writer. When you free-write for a period of time, you are tapping into your creativity, and flexing your creative muscles. They become stronger, the more you flex them. It is impossible to get good at writing without practice. Same way people lift weights to increase strength; you also write more to become a better writer. 

  • It develops self-confidence and trust.

As you write, you’re ultimately training yourself to have confidence. It is incredible when you learn to trust yourself in that way. And as earlier mentioned, this skill comes with much practice. Writing the first page is the most difficult aspect of writing, but when you decide to write, you’re telling yourself that you have an idea worthy of being written down. This sense of self-confidence will eventually find its way to other parts of your life.

Conclusion

Freewriting is similar to getting into a car and driving, without any destination or goal to attain – It is all about the process. If you have never given freewriting a shot, maybe because you feel intimidated writing for ten minutes or more without stopping, or you think it is a total waste of time, Give freewriting a try and do so without using technology. Get a notepad and a pen, which will change your focus and the way you think and work.

Best Writer Tools to Replace Microsoft Word

Having recently received my renewal notice from Microsoft for my office 365 suite, I got to thinking about do I really want to pay for Microsoft Office even though I’ve been using it for many years and what my alternatives might be to Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word for me is a very familiar tool which I’m exceptionally comfortable, but I’m not sure I need it just to write books and blog posts.

Microsoft Word has been one of the most used tools for writing, and Microsoft Word is familiar to many people because of Microsoft Word’s prevalence of use in business. However, this does not mean that it is the only tool that can be used for this purpose as there are others which can even do a better job than Microsoft Word.

Admittedly, which tool is best for you is going to boil down to your value proposition based on how well the tool’s functionality fits into your mental framework and how exactly you intend to use the tools. If all you’re doing is writing a few simple blogs, you may not even need a software tool beyond your blog provider software or the app on your phone. Also, for really short works grammar league can be used in much the same way.

Nonetheless, this article tries to provide you with the best writer tools to replace Microsoft Word.

WPS Office Phone Application
WPS Office Phone Application

WPS Office

Word Processing Component is a writer tool that has most of its features similar to those of Microsoft Word. WPS has a ribbon interface and icons that are almost identical. Any writer who enjoys using Microsoft Office 2007 will find this tool very convenient to work with.

WPS beats Microsoft in that it has a multi-document browsing tab making it appealing to work with. It is also possible to open any document format with the tool. On the issue of the cloud support, WPS ha a whole 1GB of storage that assists to back up or sync your documents easily. These are some of the reasons why WPS might prove to be one of the best alternatives to Microsoft Word.

LibreOffice
LibreOffice

LibreOffice

LibreOffice is another tool that will give you an excellent writing service. This tool comes with a variety of features that you might want to experience when doing your writing tasks.

To start with, LibreOffice comes as part of a great office suite that meets a variety of your writing needs. Still, it provides you with a modern user interface that simplifies its usage as well as its efficiency. On the issue of supporting files, it is excellent since it is compatible with a variety of documents. Examples include the Microsoft Word documents like DOCX and DOC and other text formats.

The icons of the LibreOffice are simple and very intuitive to you as the user.

On the issue of integration, LibreOffice gives you a chance to import files like a spreadsheet from the calculator or even a graph from chats. It simplifies the whole process of writing for you.

SoftMaker
SoftMaker

SoftMaker Free Office

SoftMaker Free Office is another writer tool that has some features that you might love as a writer. Although some of its features are inside the sub-menus, you can customize them and experience them.

The free office feature makes it possible for you to create documents that are interactive. The bookmarks and the fields are meant for this purpose. Please note that you will not lose your documents if they were initially in word format because Microsoft Word documents can be opened by SoftMaker Free Office.

Apache OpenOffice
Apache OpenOffice

Apache OpenOffice

This writer tool is part of a great suite that comes with a Microsoft Word Office interface. The Apache Open Office offers the writer excellent compatibility with word documents. It can work with an imported spreadsheet, present applications or database.

Google Docs can also be added in the list as it offers one of the best services to any writer. Documents can be stored and retrieved any time the writer needs them.

These are some of the best writer tools to replace Microsoft Word. They come with more significant features found in Microsoft Word, and this makes the writing process simple and enjoyable.

Related References

What are the most popular themes and tropes in romance writing?

Romance can be a tricky genre, because it features a lot of double-edged themes. When handled correctly, such themes can create great stories, but when handled poorly, they can lead to poorly written clichés.

If you’re writing a romance novel for the first time, it’s important to be aware of all the major romance writing tropes, so that you can use them correctly. Here are four examples to help you get started.

Youthful Love

Youthful love is more than just about youth and romance. It’s also about innocence, recklessness and in certain cases, first heartaches. This theme usually focuses on the adventures of a bright, young boy looking for his princess, or a young girl looking for her prince charming. They are innocent about the ways of love, and their sense of romance is almost entirely made up by their imagination.

However, the theme of youthful love isn’t always cute or adorable. One of the most famous stories that feature youthful love is Romeo and Juliet, and we all know how that story ended. Other good examples. Whether the story ends in happiness or in tragedy, what’s important to remember about this theme is that it transforms the young characters from innocent and naive children into full-grown adults who understand the real nature of love, including its beauty and pitfalls.

Wounded Heart

This wounded heart theme is more oriented toward older audiences. It usually features characters who have had their hearts broken over and over again, making them cold and cynical in the process. A good example of this theme can be found throughout the classic film, Casa Blanca. Another good example is Fyodor Dostoevsky’s character Prince Myshkin, who became insane later in his story arc.

The wounded heart theme can also act as the background of a particular character. It can be a woman who had her heart broken by her boyfriend/husband or a man who had lost his girlfriend/wife due a tragic accident. Their past experiences will not only help drive the story’s narrative, they can also help set the tone for character interactions.

Tragic Love

Tragic love is one of the most major romance themes. It focuses on characters who love each, but who are doomed to never be together either because of

destiny or a flaw in their character. A good example of the tragic love theme can be found in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where the titular character Buffy cannot be with her boyfriend because the latter is a vampire.

Another good example is the love story between Aeneas and Dido from Aeneid, where the former had to leave the latter, so that he could fulfill his destiny to found Rome.

The tragic love theme is the number one theme for people who like to write tragedy. It usually starts with the promise of something beautiful and magnificent romance, only to break that very same promise as the story progresses or when new characters are introduced.

This theme can also be used to create tension between other themes, such as destiny, honor or even family. It forces characters to choose between what their romantic feelings and their other obligations and desires.

The Great Struggle

The Great Struggle is a theme that requires characters to struggle to achieve their romantic aspirations. A good example of this theme can be found in the Great Gatsby, where Jay Gatsby amasses a large fortune just to get the attention of Daisy Buchanan.

What makes this theme so compelling is that it creates stories where the characters must struggle and fight to earn the affections of the person they love. It’s also the kind of theme that often love triangles and social barriers. In rarer cases, these themes may even require writers to challenge social taboos or amassing wealth. If the story is set in a fantasy world, it may even include dragons and monsters.

In any case, the great struggle is an excellent theme for writers who write stories about, well, romantic struggles. One word of caution, though, the great struggle must also create a lot of conflict. It’s not enough that a character fight to win the love of their beloved. He or she must pay a price or get hurt throughout the course of the story.

Related References

Why keep a consistent writing schedule?

A lot of people think that being a writer is such a super easy profession. All you need is a few skills, a good amount of talent and creativity topped up with some inspiration. Easy, right? No, not that easy. You can have all these factors and more but still, fail at attaining success as a writer.

Why? Because without proper organizational and time management you may never be able to meet your goals and complete your book. What you and every writer need is a consistent daily writing schedule. And as you try and think if it is for you or not, here are 5 guaranteed benefits of having a consistent daily writing routine.

1. Productivity Habits

A consistent daily writing schedule means that every day you will be doing some writing. It can be as little as 1 page or as much as 10 pages. But the bottom line is you will be writing, and as you repetitively do this, it will develop into a habit. Writing will become second to nature for you. Meaning writing will become much easier for you and you will do it efficiently. That is the power of habit.

2. No more procrastination.

A proper daily writing routine needs you to set targets and goals for your writing assignments. Therefore, following your routine means, you will do what you are supposed to do, when you should be doing it. You don’t have the option of not doing what is in your schedule for that day. And once it becomes a habit, you can say bye-bye to procrastination.

3. Inspiration every day.

A lot of writers depend on the writing mood or a burst of inspiration to write. If you keep working with such a mentality, success as a writer will be only a dream. Working with a consistent daily writing routine trains your mind to understand that when it is time to work, inspiration is a requirement. And you will find yourself always finding the inspiration to write every single day. This is another power of habit.

4.Organized life.

Writing ca easily turn your life upside down. You may find yourself sometimes locking yourself up to write and completely forgetting about every other aspect of your life. And that is why a consistent daily schedule is important.

Planning ahead of time improves your time management abilities. Having a routine also means that other people get to know when you are free from work and when you’re what. Therefore, they will learn to respect your work time and make plans with you during your free time. A schedule enables you to plan for and fit all other aspects of your life around your writing. It is okay for writing to be your passion but don’t let it make you forget to live.

5. Much more freedom.

You will not believe how much free time you can have in your life as a writer. And that is inclusive of you meeting your goals and succeeding in your writing assignments. The key is proper planning especially by having a consistent daily writing routine. With a daily writing schedule, you plan your work time, set your goals and easily achieve them.

No more guilt when you go for days without writing because that won’t happen or if it does it was already planned for. No more panic attacks or fears that you won’t meet your deadlines. No more overworking yourself and missing out on everything around you. Having a consistent daily writing schedule will enable to develop productivity habits that will propel your success as a writer.

Related References

My Writing Approach

In a recent comment for one of my blogs, I was asked what my writing approach was and I honestly don’t think I had previously described the way I write.  So here goes.

My approach is straightforward and very old school. My biggest problem is time to do the writing.  My three current blogs ( I have had others) are hobbies for me. I have a day (and then some) job as a Tech consultant.

The Steps of My Writing Process

Basically, I follow this pattern when writing blog articles and books:

Capture Writing Ideas

  •  I capture my ideas as I have them and write one or two short line as for a frame of reference.

Organize and Schedule Articles

  • Then, Organize my writing according to when I want to write them, with some lead time, of course.

Outline Article

  • I outline my header levels/titles
  • I never write without an outline, even the small stuff. Outlining has become second-nature for me.

Gather Materials and Research

  • I gather my article research materials and load my project cart shelf with books, printed articles, and USB stick with electric materials
  • Go throw the research material and bookmark any import and relevant information, which I may use.

Note: I don’t always do this step if it is something I know very well or which I have just done.

Draft Article Content

  •  I write without editing or spell checking until I run out of information.
  • Add relevant research, if any is being used.

Edit Article And Proof

  • I edit, spell check, grammar check, and format article content
  • Apply SEO Optimization for Article body
    • Add paragraph headers/titles
    • Reduce or eliminate pronouns (it, they, these, them, etc..)

Add Article Graphics

  • Go get my pictures and graphics to flesh it out. This usually means taking them from my own photo repository, it sometimes means, taking additional pictures.
  • Add and Size graphics
  • Perform SEO optimization on graphics properties and description.

Keyword Optimization

  • I check my base keyword lists
  • Add additional words appropriate to the content
  • Add hashtags
  • Add long-tail keywords

Add Categories

  • I choose my categories; paying attention to the hierarchy, so,  any parent-child relationships are not missed.

Choose Social Network Publication Channels

  • choose the social network site, if any, I think it should be published to.

Add Related References

  • Add internal and, if appropriate, external reference links to other articles

Related References

How To Edit Your Own Writing

Editing Your Own Writing
Editing Your Own Writing

Editing Your Writing

The writing process is not complete until editing is done. Established writers like Stephen King write daily and their first drafts, like everyone’s, can be flabby, unreadable and mostly grammatically inconsistent. However, like great sculptures, bestsellers and highly rated articles are edited out of the initial drafts. We don’t often see the mess. What we see are the refined masterpieces and great articles.

What is editing?

The process of selecting and preparing written works used to convey information is known as editing. The steps often involved in the editing process include:

  1. Correction,
  2. Condensation,
  3. The organization, and;
  4. Several other modifications performed with the aim of producing an accurate, consistent, correct and complete work.

When should you edit?

Every writer has a different circadian rhythm and creative cycle throughout the day,  so do they have a different time of day which is best for writing and editing their work. However, as a general rule of thumb, it is important to get as much writing done before editing.

Techniques involved in self-edit writing

The techniques involved in editing evolve as the writer becomes a more competent writer. Many of the best-selling authors edit as they write. Beginning and freelance writers of nonfiction and fiction books, articles, short stories and blog posts, who are keen to give a great first impression when their articles or books appear online or in other forms of publications can make use of the following techniques to improve their editing skills:

Let your writing rest/cool off

An editor has to be objective. You have to be unbiased and be a strong critic of your written works. This objectiveness and a fresh perspective are achieved by letting your writing cool off for a while. In the case of novel writing, you can put the draft away for a month. This will give you sufficient time to clear your mind and be objective about your written work. However, in case of articles and other forms of short writings, you can let your writing cool off for about 2 to 3 hours.

Accumulate a checklist of your common mistakes

What are your common mistakes? Do you have a list of your common mistakes? Many mistakes come from haste in writing and inattention rather than ignorance. Others may stem from a confusion of grammatical usage. Keeping a checklist of your usual errors and help find patterns in your errors. The process and tracking and reviewing your common mistakes speeds the editing process and improves quality avoiding similar mistakes in future writings.

Verify factual information

Fact checking began in the 20th century when magazines ensured that statements of fact made in non-fictional texts were verified before publication. Verification of factual information increases the credibility of articles and other published writings. You can make use of the following websites and other authoritative sources to verify factual information made in your own writings:

  1. Google and other Search Engines: Although you need critical eyes to be able to spot a good search result, Google and other search engines are the best places to start when checking facts online.
  2. Snopes: There are several theories and urban legends online. Snopes is the best place to check if certain facts rumored on the internet are true and factual before putting them in a major article.
  3. FactCheck.org: The website provides a self-acclaimed objective view of political data and information about the US politics.
  4. WhoWhatWhen: This is a database containing vital information about famous people and important events.
  5. Merriam-Webster: Finally, Merriam-Webster is an excellent free resource you can use to quickly check basic facts, such as medical information, the meaning of words, or overview articles.

Listen to what you write (read it to yourself or have someone read it to you)

This is one of the most essential editing skills that you can apply in your writing process. Sometimes, a written piece can be mechanically correct but lacks the fluidity needed to be understood by a reader. It is therefore good to read out aloud your articles, blog posts or ebooks before clicking that publish button.

Avoid unnecessary colloquialisms and jargon

One of the golden rules of writing is knowing your audience. Except you are writing to a very informal audience, it will help your self-edit writing and eventually your editing skills, to avoid unnecessary colloquialisms and jargon.

Use a consistent writing style guide

It is easy to have an inconsistent writing style when you are trying to write an article that is heavily researched. In fact, you can veer off in fiction works. That is why you have to check for inconsistency in your writing style when editing your nonfiction and fiction books, articles, short stories or blog posts.

Use proper but minimalist punctuation

(e.g. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), The Chicago Manual of Style, The Business Style Handbook)

 Check for bad habit and problem word use for example:

  • ‘That’, when, and ‘which’ should be used
  • a lot/a lot: “alot” is a common misspelling of “a lot” which means a little.
  • affect/effect:- “affect” is a verb while “effect” is a noun
  • can/may: “can” is used to signify ability while “may” indicates permission.
  • further/farther: These are similar and very confusing words. However, while “farther” refers to physical distances, “further” refers to non-physical distances.
  • good/well: “Good” is an adjective while “well” is an adverb
  • i.e./e.g.: (i.e. means in essence while, e.g., is from the Latin exempli gratia which means example)
  • into/in to: “ into” is a preposition while “in to” is part of an infinitive verb.
  • it’s/its: “Its” is the possessive form of it. “It’s” is short for it is or it has.
  • lay/lie: While “lay requires a direct object, “lie” does not require a direct object. For instance, you lie down, but you lay something down.
  • less/fewer- “fewer” is used for countable nouns while “less” is for uncountable nouns.
  • that/who- “that” refers to groups of things or animals while “who” refers to groups of people.
  • their/they’re/there: “Their” is for possession. “They’re” is short for they are. “There” is a place.
  • then/than- This is mostly a spelling mistake as “then” is used as an adverb that refers to time while “than” is for comparison.
  • who/whom- In a sentence, “who” is the subject while “whom” refers to the object.
  • your/you’re- “your” is for possession while “you’re” is short for you are.

Use grammar, word choice and plagiarism checker

Grammer checkers, such as Grammarly, can help clean up common usage problems and even help identify content taken or duplicating other written works.  A word of caution, grammar checkers are not perfect and careful consideration should be given before excepting their recommendations or to trusting that the tools have identified all mistakes. You still need to read your work.

Check for gender, racial, sexual orientation, national, and other bias

You don’t want to spoil an article with a careless choice of sensitive words. Bias and stereotypes might also concern hair color, age, income, weight, life situation, or anything that judges personality characteristics based on outward appearance and other factors.

Trim, long sentences

If you have more than 25 words in a sentence, you should probably consider trimming the sentence to a sizeable length. Short sentences are easy to read.

Yes, I’m done editing!

Self-edit writing can be dull, and that is why many beginning and freelance writers of nonfiction and fiction books, articles, short stories and blog posts, often skip the editing process. However, by following the basic rules highlighted above, you will take your initial draft from a rough piece to a refined masterpiece.

Related References