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.

Quote – Choice of Words

The art of literature stands apart from among its sisters, because the material in which the literary artist works is the dialect of life; hence, on the one hand, a strange freshness and immediacy of address to the public mind, which is ready prepared to understand it; but hence, on the other, a singular limitation.

— Robert Louis Stevenson

The Best Length For A Children’s Book, By Age Group

Not all children are created equally. As an author targeting your writing to kids doesn’t automatically mean that your book should be 100 pages or less. In fact, children will develop incrementally by age group. Therefore, your writing has to mimic their attention span. It’s important to bear in mind that a three-year-old will need more pictures and visual aids than a 14-year old child.

So, what’s the appropriate length and topic to choose when writing a children’s book? Consider this as a short guide for the best children’s book-length by age.

Babies, Toddlers, And Preschoolers (aged 0-5)

Books for Babies, Toddlers And preschool children, ages 0-5, in most cases, these ages will be guided reads focusing on associating the concept of words to objects through pictures and will be comprised of more pictures and visual aids than they will words and pages.

Books For Babies

For babies, books should be 0-300 words is a guideline. In this age group will be entirely a guided experience and almost entirely visual and auditory.

Books For Toddlers

For toddlers, 1-500 words is a guideline. In this age group will still be mostly a guided experience and still be largely visual and auditory, although these readers

Books For Preschool Children

For preschooler children, a book of up to 1,000 words is appropriate in some cases.  These readers will be steadily becoming come more independent, but may still need or want a guided experience and enjoy pictures which have a meaningful context to the words.

Young Readers (children ages 5 to 7)

The young, or early reader category, will encompass children ages 5 to 7. These books are a notch above the picture book category. Think of this category as a group of children who are just starting to read when creating content to publish.

Short books will contain illustrations. However, authors can delve into the content a little more with word count, as opposed to strictly focusing on the visual aspect. For most books in this category, a range of 3,000 to 5,000 words is appropriate. Sticking closer to the 3,000 to 4,000 range is a good point of reference for writers to focus on. This ensures it won’t exhaust the readers but will still provide sufficient detail in the content to pique their interest and read on.

Book by Chapter ages of 6 to 10

In this category, you’re writing books that are written with multiple chapters. Children who are reading these books typically fall between the ages of 6 to 10. When creating these books, a good word count range is anything below 10,000 words. Most chapter books will fall between 7,000 to 10,000 words.

Tweens and Young Teens Readers

When children reach middle school, they’re more focused and more interested in reading content than simply looking at images. Therefore, writers can focus on creating more in-depth books and a more creative writing style.

For tween readers who fall between the ages of 9 to 12, books can reach a word count of up to 60,000 with some publishers. It’s best to avoid hitting the pinnacle in word count, and instead, focus on the quality of the content being published. A good range for these books is 35,000 to 50,000 for most books.

For the young teen, books can hit a word count of close to 100,000 words. The readers in this age bracket are between 12 to 15 years of age and have a greater attention span and can comprehend more words/ideas they couldn’t at a younger age. Books for young teens will typically fall between 60,000 to 100,000 words on the higher end.

The Young Adult Readers

Sci-fi, supernatural, non-fiction, and other topics might reach a word count of 90,000 to 100,000 words. Readers in this category are aged 15 and up to adults. Depending on the genre of books in this category, the word count can fluctuate greatly, so authors must consider their reader, and the reader’s attention span, in creating books for the young adult reader.

In some cases, publishers may have their rules in place as to the best children’s book-length by age, and this will also dictate the length and material density of a book. If you are working with a publisher. It’s best to check before starting to determine the right length for desire age group before starting the writing process.

The best children’s book-length by page will vary for each author. Furthermore, the genre, the direction the book is taking (educational vs. informational vs. non-fiction, etc.) can also impact the word length for a children’s book. So, before you start writing, make sure you have an idea in place as to who your audience is, what their attention span is, and what will pique their interest for the duration of the book, to ensure they’ll get through it.

There’s no clear-cut guide which dictates just how many words to include when writing a book for children. When in doubt, authors should speak to a publisher to see if there are minimum/maximum counts in place. Better to be cautious and work towards the lower to mid-range, rather than overdo it and fluctuate, word count, which can result in losing the reader’s attention.

Related References

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

Most Popular Themes in Science Fiction Writing

As an aspiring writer in the science fiction genre, you are presented with limitless possibilities. However, while there are so many themes that you could write on, there are some popular themes have repeatedly proven to be the most successful. Given that there are potentially hundreds of themes to choose from, I have compiled ten of the most popular science fiction themes found in modern science fiction.

End of Humanity

Sometimes referred to as post-apocalyptic or apocalyptic fiction, this genre is set in a world in which the technological civilization of the Planet Earth is collapsing either due to manmade or natural phenomenon such as depletion of resources or a nuclear holocaust, fictional happenings such as an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse, or an eschatological happening such as the Second Coming.

Life Extension

The desire to achieve immortality is a popular theme in science fiction. The major themes typically involve aspects of mind uploading where one uploads their consciousness into a computer or digital equivalent; Digital immortality where the person’s personality is uploaded on digital media including their thoughts and memories, which continue to live in perpetuity; and cryonics where a dead person is preserved until human technology develops to the point of bringing them back to life.

Alien Invasion

An Alien invasion is one of the oldest themes that has been a favorite of science fiction fans. Alien invasion typically involves the visit of extraterrestrials to Earth usually in the form of an invasion that is intended to supplant or exterminate human life. This could take the form of stealing of resources, enslavement of the human population, or in some instances the destruction of the planet.

Parallel Universe

One of the most popular sub-genres particularly in literary science fiction. A parallel universe refers to a different world where an alternate reality that may or may not be a variant of the Earth exists. Such universes may have some differences from our current reality such as having different laws of physics or biology. The parallel universe is thus a crossroads between the planet Earth and a fantasy world.

Bodily Transformation

This theme refers to several subgenres that may include genetic engineering, cloning, and biohacking. Genetic engineering themes tend to involve the creation of a super race of humans through technologies such as brain-computer interfacing, nanotechnology, and eugenics. From the opposing direction, is biohacking, in which individual person transform their bodies by introducing chemicals or cybernetic devices. Prosthetics or the use of robotics for enhanced bodily function also falls in this category

Super Powers

While closely related to bodily transformation this is a different subgenre of science fiction. The acquisition of superpowers typically encompasses aspects of teleportation, psychic phenomena, and enhanced mental function. Teleportation is the ability to transport persons or objects from one location to another without necessarily making use of the physical space between them. Psychic phenomena may include persons who have telekinetic, telepathic, precognitive and clairvoyant abilities. An enhanced mental function may include mind uploading, higher memory, mind-swap, and mind control abilities.

Time Travel

Time travel is one of the original and most popular themes popularized by novels such as “The Time Machine” by HG Wells. As a science fiction theme, it involves the movement of persons or objects between two points in space that typically has one going back to an earlier era or going forward to a future era. For instance, one could travel back in time to the Roman first century AD or go forward in time to the technologically driven world of 2100.

Military Conflicts

Military conflict is a common trope in many modern science fiction movies and literature. This will typically involve interstellar travel and combat in space between armies of antagonists from different planets or galaxies. These types of conflicts normally make use of exotic and strange weapons though some weapons used in science fiction have found use in conventional militaries.

Galactic Empires

Ever since science fiction franchise “Star Trek” became a mass phenomenon and gained acceptance even out of the science fiction community, the theme of Galactic Empires in science fiction has grown in leaps and bounds. The writing of this theme is modeled along the lines of the decline or rise of an empire that has significant technological advancement as compared to human civilizations or other civilizations in its vicinity. Given the differences in technology, social and economic advancement, there is tension between empires which usually results in conflict.

As an aspiring writer, you could write in any of the science fiction overarching themes we have discussed and been relatively successful. Nonetheless, you can always dig deeper into the subgenres of science fiction and still find success as long as you can write something that captures the imagination of the reader. This is by no means a complete listing of all the overarching themes, but rather an exposition of the most popular ones that I have found to have a higher probability of success with audiences.

Related References