My university recommends Freewriting to all its postgraduate students as a daily exercises to help overcome writer's block.

I tend to make terrible typos, possibly related to my disgraphia. missing keys, all keys offset by one position, just plain being bad at spelling etc.

Normally when writing I will fix a lot of these instinctively -- without even thinking about it I will hit back space a few times and fix it.

  • Should I be doing that when freewriting?
  • Should I just leave a space and write on?
  • Should I fully disable the backspace, delete and arrow keys to force myself out of the habit?

6 Answers 6


Personally I can't concentrate if I leave bad spelling behind me. the solution to that for freewriting is to either go back and fix it (which isn't according to the 'rules' of freewriting) or write about the fact that you can't go back and fix what you've written until something else comes to mind.

The concept of freewriting is to limber your mind up, if having bad spelling produces a mental block for you, and you can quickly correct them, then it would be more productive for you to go back and fix what bothers you.

Basically, do what works for you! There's no point blindly following other people's ideas of how you should write. Do what works for you, write what you want to write...


Consider changing the medium! If you put pen to paper, literally, you eliminate the physical problems keyboarding presents and you should be free to freewrite to your heart's content. As an occupational therapist with an interest in this area, I would be most interested to learn how this approach works for you! (I'm also theorizing on the response if you had to turn your paper-based "homework" in! What was the last decade in which a grad student turned in a paper paper?)

  • You forgot to read the link to disgraphia in the question. I am physically incapable of handwriting, and it causes me physical pain. As an OT with an interest in the area, you might want to look into disgraphia. :-) Would be a good idea for anyone who doesn't have disgraphia though. Welcome to Stack Exchange BTW Jul 13, 2015 at 10:24
  • I think this is a good approach, but speaking personally, my hand writing is so bad that when I attempt to write creatively by hand I spend so much time thinking about physically how to write, I forget most of what I'm trying to say. Whereas a keyboard can mostly keep up with what goes on in my head.
    – Michael B
    Jul 13, 2015 at 10:26
  • @LyndonWhite As an alternative to pen to paper, you could simply dictate your "writing" into a recorder of some sort - a mobile phone, or a computer, for example. Apr 7, 2019 at 12:06

You could make an audio recording instead of writing it down. If you have a smart phone you could use that.

Alternatively, plug a microphone into your computer and use speech recognition software. Once you are sure it is working turn off the screen or put a piece of paper in front on it so that you can't be distracted by what you have already done.


Well, I think the idea of "freewriting" is that you ignore typos and just keep throwing words at the screen. So the textbook answer is probably to ignore your typos.

But in the long run, the question is surely, "What works for you?"

When someone with more experience gives me advice about how to do a job, I generally try their advice at least once -- whether that job is writing, auto mechanics, cooking, etc. Even if it doesn't sound like a good idea, maybe if I try it, I will see why, in fact, it IS a good idea. But once I've gained some experience myself, I usually find that there are many times when the textbook approach is a waste of time and I can take short cuts. Sometimes things that work for other people don't work for me. Etc.

So I'd say: Try the textbook approach, that is, don't fix your typos, just push ahead. When you feel like you've given this technique a fair try, then decide for yourself whether fixing your typos as you go is productive or not.

Personally, I wouldn't say that I use "freewriting" per se, but I do routinely just type in every idea that comes into my head, throwing text at the screen as fast as I can, and then later go back and clean it up and re-arrange it into a more logical sequence and delete stuff that I now realize is superfluous, etc. If I notice a spelling or grammar error, I'll back up and fix it. But I don't look for such errors. I think if I really got a row off on the keyboard or some such so that everything I was typing was gibberish, I'd back up and fix it immediately, while I still remembered what it was I was trying to type.


Test both approaches!

Try with and without correcting and use the one that keeps you least writers blocked (I'm assuming your over all goal is to not be writers blocked?)

If you find not correcting gets you going most, and that you waste time going back and correcting, yes, disable your keys or better yet, find writing software that doesn't let you edit.

If you find you're still blocked, maybe you need another approach to unblock.


The rule of thumb I would use here: if the typos are going to prevent you from understanding what you wrote, then it makes sense to fix them. Having a page full of illegible text may be cathartic but not helpful if you're trying to produce some usable material.

The general logic is that you want to stay in the creative mode while you freewrite. That means that you avoid criticism, judgment, and worrying about typos and grammar.

Another option, if you notice that the words aren't being recorded how you want (because of incorrect keys), you could write it again. Repeat yourself. Don't go back and correct anything, just repeat the stuff that looks illegible.

Interesting things can come about through doing that. Maybe you use it as an opportunity to refine your thinking as you freewrite, since reiterating something can have a reinforcing effect on comprehension and memory retention.

Something to experiment with!

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.