A lot of graduate students writing their dissertation or professors writing articles have trouble with free writing. This is the kind of writing you should be doing to “find out what you’re thinking,” to jump start yourself when you are blocked, or to think more creatively.
I’ve found a fantastic, inexpensive software (which you can try for free for 15 “entries”) that encourages free writing. It’s called LifeJournal. Here are some of the reasons I like it:
- You can make daily entries and bookmark them according to categories you specify; e.g. “chapter one,” or “experiment 2.”
- You can then search for any writing you did that mentioned those categories. Therefore your free writing won’t fall into a black hole.
- You can search by date.
- You can track 10 categories in your life (which you define) by rating them daily and ranking them. This could include “amount written today,” “productivity,” “creativity,” “mood,” “energy” or “health,” to choose a few.
- You can then graph the categories and look for trends.
- There is a timeline that you can use to track your life so far, or to plan your dissertation or publication schedule.
I’ve already increased my own writing and task-doing productivity by using this software. It has many more features and benefits. I suggest you download it and try it out!