If you’re someone who writes regularly—even more so if you write for others as well as your own platform—the demands can easily take their toll, right? You find yourself writing to formula, and if you’re not careful the demands of writing can become a deafening cacophony of noise in your head.
Indeed, if you’re not careful, it’s easy to allow our heads to become detached from our hearts when our writing. Especially when writing professionally, we’re writing for a specific audience, and so our minds can become so focussed on meeting the needs and requirements of the audience, there’s a danger our hearts can be disconnected.
And when this happens, we’re in serious trouble. We can lose all artistic integrity, authenticity, and above all, it’s much more difficult for readers to connect with our work.
This happened to me several years ago. I had a growing blog. I was guest posting for several major blogs, and had written a couple of ebooks, with a print book in the works.
Yet in the process of growing my platform, I began to feel I’d lost my way. People stopped connecting with my work in the way they had. I knew in my gut something was wrong.
I kept going. I tried focussing on different topics. But whilst things didn’t get too much worse, they didn’t get better. So, I did a major relaunch of a free ebook to bring in subscribers.
It barely made a dent. Things were clearly very wrong, and I needed to take action.
To figure out what this should be, and help diagnose the problem, I turned to some key friends. Truth tellers. People I knew would be honest with me in all circumstances. Honestly, these type of people are gold dust. We all need people like this in our lives.
My friends told me flat out: my writing didn’t sound like me anymore. I’d lost my writing voice. And as a result, the quality of my writing was dipping, and it wasn’t connecting with readers at all.
Freeing My Writing
I knew only drastic action was going to solve this problem, so I made a huge decision.
I’d stop writing publicly. Instead, I’d sit and do free writing every day. Private writing, just for me. For just fifteen minutes a day, I’d sit and write without an agenda, without a plan. Just write from the heart.
I’d do this for as long as it took to find my voice again. I had no time span in mind—just as long as it took.
So that’s what I did.
Fifteen minutes of free writing a day.
What I began to notice, was that, almost at random, similar themes were coming up. Themes around exploring creativity, finding your authentic voice, keeping artistic integrity, and how creativity is tied into identity. As I noticed this, ideas began to form in me.
Suddenly I was writing lots of proper blog posts, too. I had ideas for books and ebooks. My creative juices were flowing like never before.
It was, without doubt, one of the most creative seasons of my life. And definitely, the season of writing I look back on with most fondness.
In the end, I was away for three months. But those three months fueled over eighteen months of blog posts and two ebooks, which, ironically, grew my platform more than any work before or since.
Through free writing, I’d connected with my heart again. And I resolved I’d never let this happen again.
A Brief Introduction to Free Writing
So how do you get started free writing? Well, it’s way more simple than you’d think. You sit down, either with your pad or journal, or a document on your smart phone, or a Word or Pages document on your laptop.
And you just write. Without thinking. Without editing. Just write. Just let the words come out.
Resist the temptation to edit, to look back and wonder if it makes sense. It might not. Just keep writing. It might be fifteen minutes; it might be half an hour. It might be more. Just be willing to let it out.
Because what comes out when you free write is the raw truth of who you are. It’s your authentic creative voice speaking.
You can start with fifteen minutes. Just fifteen minutes. Like a train or bus journey to work. A little time on your lunch break. Begin with that.
And keep going. If you give it time, then you’ll find you’ll need longer than fifteen minutes. You’ll find words pouring out like water from a new spring.
Free writing set my creative side free and connected my writers head with my heart. I believe if you give it a go for just fifteen minutes today, and maybe more regularly in the long term, it can do the same for you, and transform your writing in the process.
Do you free write? How has free writing helped you in your writing process? Let us know in the comments.
Take fifteen minutes to sit down and free write. Write with no plan, no agenda, no forethought, and no edit button. Don’t engage the head; simply listen to the heart and let the words flow. Sometimes, believe it or not, avoiding looking at the screen itself can be helpful.
When your time is up, share your reflections on this in the comments below. How did it feel? What ideas sprung from it? What surprised you? You can even be bold and share the piece itself. And if you share, please leave feedback and encouragement for your fellow writers as we all grow together.
I can’t wait to read your responses!