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How to do the Word Vomit Technique for Writing Ideas

Updated on January 2, 2013
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What is the Word Vomit Technique?

The word vomit technique is something that can occur in writing and when talking. When it comes to word vomit in conversation, it usually happens when you spout out a fact that was not supposed to be told, often at the worst times and without really realizing what you are doing until it is too late. Don't deny it, you've been there.

Have no fear, the writing version of word vomiting does not require any admission of facts that are better kept secret and it's something that you want to push yourself to do rather than hold back. It's probably the easiest writing technique out there and it can be very rewarding.

Every aspiring writer turns to the pros for advice on how to bring their work to the next level. What's the one piece of advice you always hear? Write. Anyone, whether it's a fiction author or an English professor will always tell you that writing and then writing some more will improve your talents with practice, practice, practice.

The word vomit technique is a great way to heed their advice or just turn up some new ideas for that next project you're working on. All you need is a writing utensil, something to write on, and the time and patience to do it.

Enlightenment Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Guided Journals Series)
Enlightenment Journal (Notebook, Diary) (Guided Journals Series)

Contains a great quote to inspire you: "Do you wish to be great? Then begin by being. Do you desire to construct a vast and lofty fabric? Think first about the foundations of humanity. The higher your structure is to be, the deeper must be its foundation." (St. Augustine)


Have you ever tried this technique?

Have you ever tried word vomiting?

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Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal
Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal

This journal is ideal for those of you who may need that little boost to get yourself started with your word vomit sessions.


How to Word Vomit for Writing Ideas

Word vomiting, also known as free-writing, is the easiest thing to do once you get started. For some people, it's ridiculously easy from the get-go and they just can't see why anyone can possibly have any difficulty with it. For anyone out there like me on the other side of the spectrum, it may take some time and a few sessions of just sitting there doing nothing but watching the clock until you really get the hang of it. The key to success is just continuing to give yourself that time to try to do it. Eventually, you will be pro and ideas and words will be flowing. Always keep in mind that it will be worth it for the sake of your writing.

The first time I used this technique was actually in a high school class. The teacher gave us all a half an hour to sit down and stare blankly at our composition books with the occasional furtive glance at our neighbors, tapping our pencils and waiting for her to tell us our time was up. No, this is not what she intended for us to actually do but, unfortunately, that's pretty much how things happened. Little did we realize that once our time was up we were going to actually have to share what we wrote. A couple of people actually had some great things to share, while others hunched down and tried to hide in their little desks.

Only time and practice really got me to the point where I could sit down and write my heart out. This teacher had us practice this exercise every day that semester. The first few times, I just didn't get it. I wanted to yell "just tell me what to write about!" I didn't understand why some people were able to just write non stop until the time was up. All I managed to do was sit there with nothing to inspire me and full of frustration as I wrote down a couple of words and incomplete sentences.

Then it hit me. I could write about this frustration I felt and let out all those thoughts I couldn't yell across the room on paper. Starting there, the writing never stopped. No, it wasn't all about my anger. It actually quickly turned into stories I either made up or remembered and ideas for that next essay or about a book I was reading.

The beauty about word vomit is that it can be anything. You can draw pictures, misspell, use horrible grammar, or just write random words across a page. The best part is that it can be a great way to just let out whatever emotion you're going through or break through writer's block.

I think what most people struggle with when trying to word vomit is that they look too far into it. It's really just as simple as it sounds. Have fun and don't worry about how ridiculous it may appear or what kind of nonsense comes out. I suggest a writing utensil and paper rather than a computer because I think doing it by hand makes it more personal and open to your own individuality, especially when you keep it in a journal or notebook.

All you need to do to use the word vomit technique is set aside time everyday to sit down and write. Keeping all of your work in one place like a notebook is ideal because you can look back on it later and get inspired. At first, it may seem tedious and you may have to force yourself, much like my teacher did to me and my fellow students, but, eventually, it will become easier and you may just look forward to that part of your day.

© 2012 Lisa


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    • profile image

      Anonymous 4 years ago

      You're absolutely right about using a pen and paper instead. It helps me relax more when I write. : ) Thanks for the tip!

    • parrster profile image

      Richard Parr 4 years ago from Australia

      I perform a version of this every time I'm on the phone; doodling. I can fill up an entire pad with aimless words, ditties and pictures of nothing. :)

      I will have to try the Word-Vomit version.

    • Dan Barfield profile image

      Dan Barfield 5 years ago from Gloucestershire, England, UK

      Voted up - this is a great technique. Not too far from some of the ways of finding inspiration I have employed in the past. Great stuff! :)

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Funny... most of my writings start out as word vomit and then develop into an informative article.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Great technique. Many times when i write, I end up with an entirely different direction of story than the one I was originally going for. I guess this would be a version of word vomit.

      If it is, it certainly works. And it has some surprisingly awesome outcomes at times.

    • girishpuri profile image

      Girish puri 5 years ago from NCR , INDIA

      Great concept and indeed an addition to my writing skills, thank you so much.

    • theraggededge profile image

      Bev G 5 years ago from Wales, UK

      Free writing is great. I must do it more often. It certainly does lead to spontaneous ideas spouting forth!

    • bulama2 profile image

      Vivianne Kanawi 5 years ago

      certainly a very helpful hub. I have started doing that. didn't know it has a name. thanks.

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

      lol, I don't think I want to vomit either but the concept is a great one. Thanks for the tip!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I think I prefer the term "free-writing" to "word vomit", but having that word in your title certainly got my attention! Then I started to read and went through the article.

      I have actually done this before, only I called it "forcing myself to write...write ANYTHING!"

      I enjoyed your hub (though I worried about my overactive gag reflex a few times)....Ha.

      Voted Up+++