From Santa Clarita Magazine August, 2017

Free-writing is exactly what it sounds like: just start writing and don’t stop. 10, 20, 30, or even 60 minutes with no editing, no limitations, no rules—except DON’T STOP. Keep that pen moving or those fingers typing.

As a writer, I’ve developed a practice of free-writing every day before launching into a specific scene to be constructed or character to be cracked. I call this mining—digging away all the clutter of my conscious mind, turning it off, and discovering the story that lies hidden beneath.

As my pen moves, my plots turn in directions I never could have imagined. My characters find new interests and make new choices. And so do I.

I also use free-writing in my daily life. If something stresses me out in my home, my relationships, my bank account… I write until the solution presents itself.

A recent study in the American Journal of Public Health demonstrates the power of expressive writing to decrease stress and improve physical wellbeing. For a real boost to your overall wellbeing, go beyond free-writing and delve into a story—that idea that’s been gnawing at you, that memory you can’t let go of, or that historical event that would make a great read or film. In my creative writing classes for adults and teens, I guide students through writing prompts on ideation, world-building, character development, plot development, and more.

You may discover a story you want to share with a wider audience, or simply begin to unearth your own personal story, just for you. Whatever the end result, free-writing can be a path towards a healthier, more peaceful life.

Liz Cotone