What a Great article!
I may not agree entirely that there’s something slippery about meditation but I totally agree what you write about free writing. I think more often than not, meditation gets a bad rep because people do not position meditation within their lives in the spirit they should be. Mindfulness meditation or open awareness meditation as it is known, is not an isolated practice nor is it meant to be practiced in isolation. It sits within the eight-fold path of Buddhism and indeed it is the seventh and eighth precept. Taking it out of concept does it no good.
Having said that, I think your suggestion of free writing is a life giving idea. As you write, writing has to be truly free and within a fixed period of time pen down everything that comes to mind. The other thing, which I find quite useful is to use actually a pen and paper rather than textbox. Of course, as you say, a constraint of your own privacy and text box is wonderful, but you can simulate the same thing with a simple piece of paper (or a couple of pages in a notebook) and a simple pen. Same constraints. The added benefit is the joy of seeing your own thoughts and mind hand coordination literally “penning” down ideas.