Comments 16

Nuggets of Wisdom from Writers: On Freewriting

Free writing during the early hours of the morning has now become a wonderful way to start the day. Early morning writing has been a good way of telling my brain that writing is also a priority in my life. No matter how busy the day gets, I am comforted by the knowledge that I had at least done some writing for the day.

Natalie Goldberg has another name for free writing: In her book, Writing Down the Bones,”she refers to it as writing “first thoughts.”

Goldberg writes that”First thoughts have tremendous energy. It is the way the mind first flashes on something. The internal censor usually squelches them, so we live in the realm of second and third thoughts., thoughts on thought, twice and three times removed from the direct connection of the first fresh flash…

“First thoughts are unencumbered by ego, by that mechanism in us that tries to be in control, tries to prove the world is permanent and solid, enduring and logical…

“You must be a great warrior when you contact first thoughts and write from them…

“Why else are first thoughts so energizing? Because they have to do with freshness and inspiration.”

In the book Courage & Craft, Writing Your Life into Story, Barbara Abercombie, gives us one good reason to freewrite: “Even if you’re going to write about nonsense or what you’re going to have for lunch, you’re writing. And writing leads to more writing.”

Here’s hoping you’ll find time to free write, to explore writing your first thoughts…







  1. A great idea! Gonna have to give it a try (though after a pot of tea, can’t function without tea in the morning :D).


  2. Great idea! I used to do this … and have not, now, in many years. I think I still have a copy of Goldberg’s book on one of my bookshelves – need to see if I can find it. Time for a re-read.


  3. First thoughts has a lovely ring to it! I generally write late at night, when my mind is fully of my characters because they don’t want me to sleep. Perhaps I should begin the arduous journey of switching to mornings…I’ll have to learn to wake up before I start teaching in August anyway…right?
    Great Post!


    • Good luck with the attempt to switch from late night writing to early morning writing. I wrote mostly during the evenings for more than a decade. Now I’m totally loving early morning writing…but totally lost the energy and desire to write at night. I sleep better, though.


    • I don’t know much about writing music, Leslie. But it’s nice to know that musicians also work with first thoughts.


  4. I have always loved “free” writing, but now I have a new name for this and interesting facts. I find that dreaming is similar to having “first thoughts,” do you ever find inspiration there? Thanks for sharing!


    • Nice question, Leslie. I do dream interpretation as part of my therapy work. Actually, sometimes my dream the previous night becomes my first thoughts. Early morning writing has actually helped me remember dreams. Somehow, I begin to remember dreams when I free write in the morning.


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