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How Freewriting Gets You That Messy First Draft

Dana Bennett
4 min readJan 25, 2020

And helps you build confidence in your unique voice.

In just 15-minute bursts, freewriting will get you to that important first draft. The basic necessity of writing something new.

But lots of us struggle through that first draft — hemming, writing, scratching out, blasting forth then rethinking, back to crossing out. And a first draft feels like the slowest part of the whole process. It doesn’t need to be, though. There are some simple rules you can follow to get that first task done in one or two 15-minute timed writing sessions.

What do I mean by “rules,” though? They’re the ones written down by Natalie Goldberg in “Writing Down the Bones.” You may have come across them somewhere, maybe scoffed at how there could be actual “rules” for writing, didn’t read her book, check them out for yourself.

Here they are, in compressed form. I believe most readers have seen these before.

1. Keep your hand moving. You can write nonsense until the next thought emerges.

2. Don’t cross out.

3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar. Don’t even worry about staying in the margins or lines.

4. Lose control.



Dana Bennett

has survived, achieved many things. Storyteller. BAMus, Univ. of Hawaii. MHumanities, Univ. of Colorado Denver. Liver Transplant, Cleveland Clinic.