When you think of the old cliche "footloose and fancy free," what thoughts come to your mind? I think of childhood, a time in life that is carefree and not overburdened with responsibility, or matured from the experience of simply living life. Even being young and in college seems to fit well into that category, doesn't it? When, for many, it meant your biggest concern was whether or not you still had a can of spaghetti o's left in the cupboard for your dinner, and how you were going to cram a semester's worth of notes into your brain for the the final coming up in two days. I'm now almost thirty two years old and I really think there's something to be said for that old cliche.
I've lived life. It hasn't been filled with tragedy, nor has it been terrible. I am thankful, in fact, for every experience I've been through-good or bad. That's why I enjoy a style of writing that I like to think of as "footloose and fancy free." Many of you know of it as free writing.
The thing that's so neat about free writing is that there are absolutely no hard and fast rules. This is a time that you do not pay attention to spelling, grammar, or even punctuation. That would detract from the exercise. The idea is to get down as much on paper as you possibly can, and if you are monkeying around with details, it distracts you from your thoughts, and it's your very thoughts that make this such a useful exercise.
Sit down down with your keyboard or pen and paper and simply begin to write. It's an opportunity for you to sit down and write about anything and everything that happens to pop into your head. If it makes sense, that's great! If it doesn't, that's great too, but it's a excellent activity to begin your daily writing habits with, or if you are suffering from a bout of writer's block.
This is also a very useful exercise if you are writing on something specific. If you free write everything you can possibly think about pertaining to that topic you will find that it will help you narrow down what your thoughts and opinions are on that subject and may even help you to put a better focus on your paper.
Of course, you do not have to write about a specific topic. Remember, there are no rules. If you haven't any ideas, just write whatever is popping into your head. We are never void of thoughts. Something will come to you, I guarantee it!
Try it! You may be amazed of how many ideas may come to mind for your next big article when you are footloose and fancy free writing!