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‘Speed writing’ may be the tip you need if you’re fighting writer’s block


Here’s another of those simple, basic writing tips you may already know — or you may be overlooking. I hope it’s helpful. In a word: Speed writing.

Okay, I cheated. That’s two words, but it’s a simple and effective way to start a writing session anytime you simply can’t get the words flowing and get started any other way. It’s a technique that’s pretty much self-descriptive.

Speed writing means sitting down at your keyboard and letting the words flow without purpose, without forcing words or thoughts. You’re simply trying to put down everything that comes to mind as quickly as you possibly can. It’s sort of a combined typing race and free-association exercise.

One writing coach of mine suggested setting a timer of some sort to 10 minutes, flipping the timer, then pounding away until the timer dings (chirps, warbles, rings, clicks, bangs, whatever).

If you’ve never tried this, you’ll be amazed at some of the stuff that might come out of your head, travel through the old finger tips, and end up in your computer. Good, bad, and indifferent — you’ll find yourself spilling it all.

And if you’re writing fiction, a nice benefit is that you might trip a switch in the old brain that’ll give you a new perspective on your story, a new story idea, a new character, whatever. The possibilities are pretty much limitless. Give it a shot.
[tags]speed writing, breaking writer’s block, writing exercises, advice for new writers, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

2 Responses to “‘Speed writing’ may be the tip you need if you’re fighting writer’s block”

  1. marriane elizabeth says:

    what you’re talking about is called “stream of consciousness writing”, and yes, it does help with writer’s block. most of the time, however, it’s just a whole bunch of nonsense. it’s rare that anything good comes out of it.

  2. Gary says:

    Yes, it can generate “a whole bunch of nonsense,” but it really can uncover an occasional “nugget” that might be developed into a character, a plot twist, etc. (I have two characters and one good plot idea rumbling around here somewhere on the hard drive that came about with this technique. Of course, heh heh, I haven’t DONE anything with them yet.)

    Above all, it can be a useful tool to start the old mental juices flowing when you simply need the exercise to limber up the brain.