Peter Elbow, author of the article “Freewriting” argues that using the technique freewriting is very beneficial for writers. Freewriting is nonstop writing without correcting or checking what you’ve already written. Elbow says writers should use this exercise at least three times a week to improve their writing skills. I strongly agree with his assessment from personal use of this technique. While writing my first freewrite I realized I was less stressed, I felt like the paper displayed my character more, and I was able to share all of my ideas without losing them. We are so caught up in trying to sound educated and proper in our writings it sometimes can take away from the actual piece. Writing while under stress often turns out in a disaster, usually why my pieces of writing aren’t always the best. Just like Elbow has said the reason people get so stressed while writing is because of how we are taught throughout school “schooling makes us obsessed with the “mistakes” we make in writing. Many people constantly think about spelling and grammar as they try to write.
I am always thinking about the awkwardness, wordiness, and general mushiness of my natural verbal product as I try to write down words” (Elbow). This is completely true, the way we are taught in school adds a great deal of stress to the writer. At the beginning of every paper I’ve ever written for school I’ve always had stress because writing was never my strong suit to begin with and the requirements made it that much harder for me to develop a paper. Giving people such high standards for writing, yet telling them to make it their own is quite difficult for the writer because they are more worried about the structure rather than the actual content of the piece. People are also under stress while writing a paper because of who could be reading their piece, audience has a major impact on how a writer constructs their paper. With freewriting though you only have to worry about yourself reading over the paper so your ideas will flow easier onto the page because you aren’t watching what your write in fear of offending someone. You are able to fully be yourself throughout the piece. It’s difficult to incorporate character into your writing when you have to follow so many guidelines and worry about so many different things.
Elbow states in his writing that you have a voice which is the main source of power in your writing, and unfortunately that “voice is damped out by all the interruptions, changes, and hesitations between the consciousness and the page” (Elbow). If we all had the same voice and then no ones writing would really be all that special. Freewriting helps the writer to find that voice because they are writing their exact ideas without anything interrupting them. Once they are done with the freewrite they are able to go back and fix it up a little but it will still be their voice and how they felt in the first place. Elbow makes a good point at the end of his piece saying that you only have one voice and you can’t give up on that voice no matter how much you may dislike it because without it you will never be heard, and your writing will never be your own. To me making the piece your own and to actually enjoy writing it is what writing should be about. Not the grammar mistakes, or how well it all flows. It should be about your thoughts and how you feel they should be expressed into a piece of writing.
If writing is considered such a personal thing then we shouldn’t be so critiqued on every little thing throughout it. It’s happened more times than not when a writer loses an idea because they were too busy checking back on a previous one and trying to make it better. Using Elbow’s freewriting technique will ensure you to never lose an idea because as soon as it pops into your head you are able to write it down, even if it doesn’t exactly belong right there. Elbow also says that his technique stops the writer from editing their piece while writing allowing the ideas to flow more easily. I know from personal experience I lose ideas constantly because I’m worried about the previous paragraph, and if it was really good enough. When I wrote my freewrite I did not lose any ideas, I was able to get exactly what I wanted to say into that piece of writing and in the end if I wanted to I was able to go back and expand on them. Peter Elbow, author of the article “Freewriting” has helped me be able to form a more well developed piece of writing through his technique, freewriting. This exercise has helped me stay calmer while I write my paper and helps me to not worry about what I’m writing the entire time.
I benefit from Elbow’s technique this because once all of my ideas are out on paper I am able to go back and form them into well-developed paragraphs just like I am required to do. The requirements from professors, bosses or whoever the audience may be will prevent someone from writing the best they can and making a piece their own because they are too worried about what the audience will think of it or if it’s good enough for their standards. For anyone who has trouble with forming ideas, or gets too caught up in the editing part of the paper while still writing should try out Elbow’s exercise freewriting and they may be surprised at how well it works and how much it may help them. I know I sure was shocked at how much it helped me especially after being a little uneasy about it at first I was pleasantly surprised.
The freewriting exercise is what helped me develop this paper. I sat down for about an hour and was able to get all of my ideas down with no worries about grammar errors, or my audience, all I focused on was my ideas and what I thought was best to say in this paper. After I had finished it I went back and turned the freewrite into this piece. Since it worked so well for me I will now use freewriting before I start any of my papers in the future.
Elbow, Peter. “Freewriting.” Freewriting. Center for Learning, Teaching, Communication, and Research, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2014.
Courtney from Study Moose
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