Freewriting as exploration

I loved it from the first time that I did it. It was during an English Comp class at University of Maryland. It opened my mind and really helped me with writer’s block.

The instructor, Mrs. Hanahoe-Dosch, told us to start writing upon her mark and not lift the pen off the paper until she said to stop. So, I dutifully took out a blank sheet of paper and started to write.

She said to forget about grammatical rules, spelling and punctuation. We were on a scavenger hunt for ideas. We were looking for hidden treasure concerning whatever topic or question was interesting to us.

She did not tell us to stop until 20 minutes later. Maybe it was only ten, but it felt like 20. It was difficult because I kept thinking that I was going to just go over her time limit. I was afraid of the bell. I really did not want to get into it and then have to stop.

Now I like to use it. I just start writing and don’t stop writing until I have three handwritten pages. Sometimes, I can’t get to the originally planned question and I end up ruminating about the fact that I have to do the laundry. Other times, I have the topic firmly in hand.

Freewriting example

As you can see in this example where I freewrite about cats, I just express curiosity and list a couple of facts about cats.

In several places, I repeat words, fail to capitalize letters and make grammatical errors. But, I made sure that I did not stop until I had written for the time set up for the assignment.

After the session, I read over the document and take some notes which will guide my research. I can list questions or sentences that I would like to develop into paragraphs.

I love this technique of exploring. It works.

Thanks for reading.

1 thought on “Freewriting as exploration

  1. I too love free writing. In fact, it’s how I draft entire articles sometimes. It suits my writing process, because I tend to overthink if not. Thanks for sharing, Helen!

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