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  • Writer's pictureDavid Nagai

Freewriting to Free Your Mind

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

During my final year of high school, Ms. Marshal was my English literature teacher. At the young age of 23, she was creative, fun, and was also an aspiring author. She would often have us do “freewriting” where we would write for five or ten minutes non-stop. This means we had to keep our pencils moving even if we just wrote something meaningless like, “I don’t know what to write, this is so weird and boring, what should I write? Blllahhhhhh, blah, bah! ABCDEFG what am I doing?”

The point was not to focus at all on grammar, spelling, or structure, but to focus on letting our thoughts and emotions flow out onto the page with freedom and openness. It was amazing what would come out – if we just spent some time doing the awkward work.

Many years later, I came across the book called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It’s a book about being an artist and overcoming our insecurities and fears so that we can create various types of art. She introduces the idea of “morning pages.” Morning pages are similar to what Ms. Marshall had us do in high school English. Basically, spend time writing anything that comes out every morning. She said something like three pages or 30 minutes, but we all have varied schedules and pages are different sizes in different notebooks etc., but the point is simple: write a little bit every day.

When I’ve written daily, I’ve come up with some great ideas and have realized some things within my mind or heart that I hadn’t realized were there. It really is truly amazing what you can discover or create within even five minutes of daily writing. But it can only happen if we create the discipline of writing a little bit each day.

Activity / Assignment

This week your assignment is to simply write non-stop five to ten minutes each day. Try to do this for seven days in a row.

Some Tips

It can be on paper or on your computer.

I recommend doing it at the same time each day so that you can be consistent.

Try for ten minutes for seven days, but at least do five minutes for at least five days. If you like it, do 15 minutes per session!

Write in English if you can. Maybe once or twice you can write in Japanese and see how it feels different from English.

Write about anything that comes to mind – anything at all. Don’t focus on grammar or spelling. Just imagine you are vomiting thoughts and words onto the paper and that you are not allowed to stop. It doesn’t have to be fast, but just don’t stop. Nobody will see your writing except for you.

If you really can’t think of anything to write, here are some prompts to get you started. But once you start, feel free to move to any topic, idea, emotion, or anything.

Prompts if you need for starting out:

  • Self introduction.

  • What I do at my job and how it makes me feel.

  • My favorite vacation.

  • Foods I like.

  • 20 things I love.

  • 20 things I wish I could do.

  • Describe a friend or coworker.

  • Joy.

  • Sadness.

  • Anger.

  • Politics.

  • Love.

  • Future.

  • Present.

  • Dream job.

  • My boss.

  • Pandemic.

  • Cherry blossoms.

  • Day off.

  • Two friends I appreciate.

Once again, the main key is: write for at least five minutes without stopping.

If you do this everyday for at least five minutes, I promise you you will have new ideas and look and inside your heart and find things you never saw before. Oh, and... be careful! It's quite a bit adventure!


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