A Gem in the Scone is a guest blog, where folk who come to Carousel Writers’ Café can share whatever ‘gem’ they’ve found while writing and chatting over coffee each Wednesday. Our first contribution is by Annmarie Miles who learned about the concept of Free Writing.
Get your FREE Writing here…
That’s what I thought it meant when I first heard the phrase ‘free writing’! I thought it was writing you didn’t have to pay to read and/or didn’t get paid to write. So I thought… ‘yeah! I already do that!’
I was introduced to FREE writing on one of my first visits to Carousel Creates Writers’ Centre. I had never even heard of it before. (“What manner of a writer is she?” I hear you cry! :D)
The concept is very simple – you literally sit and write. Set a time limit of 10 to 20 minutes and keep your hands moving for the entire time. Write anything; a shopping list, a story, a letter, the recipe for a soufflé, the random thoughts you had while in the shower… whatever is in your head.
And the word FREE works as an acronym to help remember how to free write…
Fast… Raw… Exact but Easy…
Fast – Whether you are writing by hand or just typing, you just go for it. Put down whatever words are in your head. Even if they are not fully formed sentences, get the words out of your mind and on to the paper as quick as you can. Don’t stop to ponder on something!
Raw – no need to tidy things up or even complete a thought. No one else in the world ever has to read your free writing. It won’t be going to your editor or up on your blog. It’s just for you, so say what you like, how you like.
Exact but Easy – write with detail. Rather than writing about the dog, write about the Labrador with the shining golden coat. If you mention a car or a tree or a woman, describe them. Use your own memories as aides to make it easy to conjure ideas and write what comes naturally to you.
Free writing gives you permission to keep going. In fact it insists upon it. It’s not about detail or description. There’s no concern with character development or plot. You shouldn’t even go back to correct your spelling. It’s about getting words down on the page; releasing all the stuff in your head so that later you can sift through it to find the nugget.
That great sentence to finish your first chapter.
The beginnings of a brand new storyline that you can develop at a later date.
A fascinating aspect to add to the background detail of your protagonist’s life.
As you get used to free writing you’ll find better structured story lines and ideas will form quickly. If you develop it as a regular habit it will soon become a skill that will consistently release the story lines that you know are inside you.
It has been a fantastic aid to my fiction writing, which I’ve only been working hard at for about a year now. I have a whole stock of sentences and short paragraphs with all sorts of ideas and random thoughts. I may never use half of them as they are sometimes quite dull; but every so often I sift through them and find something that sparkles.
My gem in the scone is the tool to find the diamond in my writing rubble.
A gem and a diamond! Who knew that a quiet place to write with good coffee would have so many benefits?!
Carousel Café is open every Wednesday from 9am to 1pm and 7pm to 9pm. Click here for more details.
Come and find your gem in the scone!