At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Free writing is a writing method some people use as a prewriting technique. It is often useful for brainstorming or writer's block. During a free writing exercise, a person writes anything that comes to her mind for a certain amount of time. While she is writing, she should not stop or pay attention to anything that she has written. Afterward, any good coherent ideas can be highlighted or rewritten.
This type of writing is also sometimes referred to as automatic writing or stream-of-conscious writing. To begin free writing, a person should set a specific time limit. This can be anywhere from a couple of minutes to 20 minutes. An alarm or timer can be set to mark the end of this time.
Before a free writing session, a topic should be chosen. This topic can be written at the top of a fresh page. If a person is writing an essay about music, for example, she would write the word "music" at the top of a blank page.
Free writing can be done using a pen and a piece of paper, or it can be done using a word processor on a computer. Some people believe that a pen and piece of paper is usually best, since it is harder to delete any words that have been written. On the other hand, some word processors have features that make users unable to delete anything that they have written.
Once a person begins free writing, she should write quickly about anything that pops into her mind. She should also not stop writing during the process. Her hands should keep moving the entire time, even if she is just writing gibberish. It is also considered perfectly acceptable to write random words or phrases such as “I'm not sure what to write” during this time.
During the free writing process, the writer should also not read anything that she has written. She should also disregard any mistakes. This includes spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes. If she wants to reword a phrase, instead of scratching it out or deleting it, she should simply rewrite it on another line.
Only after the specified amount of time has passed should a free writer stop writing. At this point, she can then read what she has written. Any new or good ideas can be rewritten on another piece of paper, or highlighted or marked in some other way. Sometimes, a writer may notice that she has gone in a completely different direction than she originally planned while she was free writing.