Short Stories—Lesson 4: Idea making Part Two: Focused Freewriting

Focused Freewriting

We’ve introduced two kinds of freewriting: “total” and “focused.” In the last lesson, we practiced total freewriting.


Focused Freewriting, on the other hand, involves timed writing about a single topic or prompt. In Focused Freewriting, the author also writes without stopping, keeping the brain active, but they try to remain on topic, exploring every piece of the topic until the time runs out.


Use Focused Freewriting to get out of writer’s block

I most often use this form of freewriting when I am trying to draft a story. At the time I wrote this lesson, I was working on a short story called “Peasant Hackers.” My focused freewriting topic was “continue writing this story,” but I was in pretty bad writer’s block. Whenever writer’s block appeared, I would turn off my critical brain, close my eyes, and rattle the keyboard with quick-pounding fingers. Sometimes my freewriting sessions produced garbage, but every time I defeated writer’s block and found something new in my story.

Focused Freewriting Practice

Set a timer for 10–30 minutes and write on the following topic (inspired by Dr. Seuss): “Describe the creatures and the world that may exist inside the tiniest of raindrops.”


Extra Credit

Find a story you stopped due to writer’s block and do a focused freewrite to overcome the block and finish the story.


Class HOME

Unit One

NEXT—Lesson 5: Idea making Part Three: Brainstorming

BACK—Lesson 3: Idea making Part One: Total Freewriting