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How To Use Freewriting to Get Short Story Ideas

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Freewriting is one of the best and easiest exercises you can do. It requires a minimum of time and prep, and is perfect for those suffering from writer's block. Freewriting is a way to generate new short story ideas, and to go places with your creative writing you wouldn't go otherwise. At the very least it will get you to set pen to paper.

Do you learn best by example? See one way freewriting can play out in practice.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 10 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Sit down at a desk with pen and paper, ideally in some quiet place, though freewriting can be done anywhere.
  2. Decide beforehand that you will only be writing for ten minutes (longer if you'd like) and that you will not stop before that time is up. Set a timer or an alarm.
  3. Write without stopping until the timer goes off. Do not lift your pen from the paper, even if this means writing, "I don't know what to write," over and over again. Write nonsense, write anything, but don't stop writing.
  4. Look back over what you've written and see if anything sparks your interest. If so, use it as a point of departure for a short story, or for tomorrow's freewriting exercise. If nothing comes of it, don't be discouraged. The only goal to this exercise is to fill the page with words. If it leads somewhere, consider it a bonus.
  5. If you want to get out of your own head during your freewriting sessions -- or you just want to shake things up -- these writing prompts will help you do that.

    Still feeling a little unsure? Check out this step-by-step example.

What You Need

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Timer or alarm

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