Weekly Freewriting Exercises
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“It’s great to receive these every Friday. They make me smile, and kick start the writing process when I’m feeling ‘blank’. It’s surprising what pours out onto the page!!”
“These exercises are really helpful. I’ve used them a lot.”
“I love The Freewriter’s Companion, and the free weekly writing prompts that you can sign up for are brilliant and always get me writing. I’ve kept all of them in my inbox. Highly recommended.”
Every Friday for four years I sent out a prompt designed to kick-start a 10-minute freewrite.
If you were one of my subscribers during that time, thank you! I’d love to know if the freewriting you did from my prompts gave rise to new creative work or helped in any way.
They were fun to compose and I used many of them myself but I needed to move onto new things, so decided to stop in December 2022.
Read more here about why you should use prompts for freewriting.
Below are some examples of the prompts.
Why not have a go at one now?
The first exercise is the most basic and repeatable of all freewriting prompts.
Simply begin with “I remember” and write continuously and uncritically for ten minutes.
You can write about a distant memory or something that happened just a few minutes ago.
The only rule is to write about something that happened to you in the past.
You don’t even have to stick to this rule, you are free to write anything at all as long as you don’t stop writing for ten minutes.
If you are stuck, just repeat writing “I remember” until something occurs to you.
If you are hazy about the freewriting method. please go to my page How to Freewrite (where you’ll find instructions and tips on freewriting).
The second ten-minute freewriting exercise involves listening at the same time as writing and it’s adapted from The Creative Writing Coursebook (in the introduction by Julia Bell).
Write for ten minutes and record at least five sounds you can hear as you write, along with your personal associations with those sounds.
As with all freewriting prompts, the instructions are there to be disobeyed!
The aim is to record the associations of each sound in turn but if any one of the sounds sets you off on a long trail of recollection or cogitation then simply follow it and to hell with listening for the regulation five in all. Equally, if a sound from another time and place comes into your mind, write about that instead. Just follow the gleam.
This exercise is in the form of a diary entry.
In a ten-minute freewrite, describe a yesterday, or a day not too long ago, by using ONLY nouns (i.e. words for things or people).
This exercise is designed to give practice in observation and in using strong, specific description so aim to stick to concrete nouns (for example: “mushroom curry” “College Road” “Mike”) versus abstract nouns (such as “boredom” “beauty” etc).
A piece of writing like this is an excellent investment for the future if you are a writer because details are what makes fiction, poetry and memoir convincing and alive.
But never feel constrained by a prompt when freewriting. You can spend ten minutes describing your day using abstract qualities such as loneliness or loyalty if you want, and simply ignore the instruction to stick to nouns. The only rule is never to stop writing, even for a moment.
Go for it!