Freewriting consists of focused but informal writing about the topic at hand.
There are four important rules to this activity:
- Write for a short, specified time (5, 10, 15 minutes).
- Keep your hand moving. Don't stop writing until the time is up. If you're
having trouble finding the right word, draw a line and keep going, or use a
less than perfect word in its stead: you can always go back and fix it
later. If you can't think of anything to say, just keep writing you last
word, or your name, or "I'm stuck" over and over again: the words
- Turn off the internal editor, the one who tells you to go back and dot
that "i" and cross that "t," tells you that this or
that idea is stupid, or tells you that you've just written a run-on sentence or
- When the specified time is up, go back over the text and circle the
surprises and draw arrows connecting ideas or themes: identify those
passages/ideas/phrases that should carry over into your text.
Follow the writing; find out what you have to say by just
saying it (on paper). Feel free to change topics or areas of focus, but try to
follow the writing where it wants to go. Trust yourself and your writing.
- Pros: Freewriting is a terrific memory stimulator. This activity reminds
you of what we already know and helps you to make connections you might not
otherwise make. It helps you to get past the sterile, static, surface
responses so that you can burn through to the insightful and fresh
"meat" of what you really want to say.
- Cons: Freewriting is a time-consuming activity and does not guarantee
brilliant results. It is possible to achieve only a clear idea of what you
don't want to write.
Axelrod, Rise B., and Charles R. Cooper. The Concise Guide to
St. Martin's, 1993.
Meyer, Emily, and Louise Z. Smith. The Practical Tutor. NY: Oxford UP, 1987.