How to Write a Book in the Digital Publishing Paradigm: Freewriting and Freespeaking


After you have developed your thesis statement, it’s a good idea to begin to organize your thoughts, and to sketch what you will be writing. One way to do a sketch of a narrative is freewriting, and its verbal counterpart, freespeaking.

Freewriting is commonly used by creative writers in the pre-writing stage of the writing process and is a standard feature of creative writing courses. It was initially formalized by Dorothea Brande in her 1934 book entitled Becoming a Writer, and was later developed by Peter Elbow in 1975 in his book Writing Without Teachers. It’s an excellent way of plowing up deeply buried ideas and get them on to the page where you can work with them.

Though freewriting is usually done by creative writers, it’s a process that can fruitfully be transferred to the pre-planning phase of goal setting process, since its purpose is to take you past mental blockages that occur due to fear, uncertainty and self-censure. When you freewrite, you write continuously for a period of time, anywhere from five to 30 minutes, allowing your thoughts to flow freely onto the page without regard to grammatical correctness and without self-censure. The idea is to give free reign to your thinking on a particular subject.


A variation of the freewriting process is freespeaking, in which you speak your ideas into a recorder.

“If you are better at talking out than writing out your ideas, try freespeaking, the talking version of freewriting,” says Andrea Lunsford in The St. Martin’s Handbook. “Begin by speaking into a tape recorder or into a computer with voice-recognition software, and just keep talking about your topic for at least seven to ten minutes. Say whatever comes to your mind, and don’t stop talking. You can then listen to or read the results of your freespeaking and look for an idea to pursue at greater length.”

Whether you choose to freewrite or freespeak, writing will be a significant aspect of our pre-planning exercise, therefore, it is highly recommended that you get yourself a journal, that is, a notebook or a folder in your device in which you’ll document your process, and which will allow you to track and measure your progress.