Freewriting Should Be Your Nightly Ritual
Lately, my days revolve around writing — finding time to write, stressing over what I’ve yet to write, staring at a wall until inspiration knocks on my window, etc. — to the point where I’ve forgotten why I loved the activity in the first place. I took a creative writing class my freshman year of high school, and I could not get enough of my teacher’s writing prompts. They offered simple guidance and allowed me to explore both my thoughts and untapped potential.
I hadn’t written a poem in almost a year until last night. Laying in bed, I turned to my boyfriend and said, “Why don’t we write for a few minutes?” I grabbed two journals and two pens. He looked blankly at his paper. “Uhhh, what am I supposed to write?” he asked. I told him to write the first sentence that came to mind and to keep writing for another 2 minutes.
When the two minutes passed, we looked up at each other and noticed a quiet joy in each other’s eyes. We proceeded to read our poems aloud to one another and realized they were almost in conversation with one another. Both of us agreed that the practice sparked something within us, taking us back to the honeymoon phase of discovering a new passion.
Structure is vital for writers in their routines and the work they produce. But frequently, we overlook the beneficial structure freewriting can provide. You’re gifting yourself the opportunity to let your mind wander and find new ideas in the process. You’re allowing your writing to be imperfect. There’s no pressure from editors, peers, or readers. This work is for you and you alone.
Night-time can be a stress-relieving or stress-inducing period. As a writer, you usually feel compelled to produce more or forget everything you’ve written that day in the after-hours. Freewriting offers a beautiful in-between of reconnecting with your relationship to writing, free of a gaze or its commodification. Best of all, the practice costs nothing but a little time.