Use freewriting to pump your verbal muscles

Ian Lurie

Writing isn’t a talent—it’s a skill. You can get better at it through practice. If you want awesome verbal pectoral muscles:

GET PUMPED with freewriting

If you want to get better, you could write a novel, or a textbook. But there’s a much easier way: Freewriting

Freewriting is like a verbal sprint. You write a lot, really fast, and you’re done. It’s a great exercise that:

  • Gets you to stop self-editing;
  • Packs about an hour of writing ‘thinking’ into 60 seconds;
  • Helps you get faster, and more fluid, as a writer.
  • Is actually fun, once you get used to it.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Set aside 5 minutes, preferably when you first get to work.
  2. Open a blank document on your computer. Use whatever word processor you like, or just a text editor. OR (gasp) get a pen and a piece of paper.
  3. Get a timer. On your phone, or an egg timer, or whatever. Nothing fancy.
  4. Do not clear your head. You’ll need all the stuff in there.
  5. Start the timer…
  6. GO. Write. Don’t worry about what you’re writing. Write whatever pops into your head, even if it’s “I can’t think of what to write”.
  7. Write for 60 seconds straight.
  8. Stop when the timer stops.
  9. Save what you wrote.
  10. Read it later that day, or the next day. Is there a cool idea in there? Something you want to work with? Great! If not, great anyway!

Freewrite every day. It literally takes 1-2 minutes. Sometimes, you’ll even get a really funny result you stick on Reddit.

Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is the founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at

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  1. Have you ever heard of Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way”? It’s a great book, even for non-artists. In that book she suggests writing a whole three pages every day right when you wake up. Obviously, it’s a different system, but I think the idea is the same.
    Also, besides the external rewards to free writing, there are a lot of amazing internal rewards. As a writer, I always feel refreshed and strong after a session of freewriting. Communicating through the page is sometimes the best thing for the nerves.

  2. I love this idea, Ian, and just did my minute of speed writing.
    Also, I will continue to do this daily and log it in
    Thanks for the great tip!

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