FREEWRITING involves letting your thoughts float freely as you write down whatever comes, not worrying about conventions or keeping your focus.  It’s like rambling on paper, and can help generate new ideas to write about, or help a writer get past “stuck” places in a story.

  1. Choose a topic, or just start with the first thing that comes to mind.
  2. Write for five to ten minutes, keeping pencil to paper.  Don’t stop to re-think, reread,  or correct.
  3. If you get stuck, just write “I don’t know what to write next” or some similar phrase until a new idea comes.

Though freewriting generates a lot of “garbage” you can often find a few buried gems as well.  And it can help overly self-conscious writers to loosen up a bit.  A worthwhile exercise following a freewrite is to read through it and circle specific promising ideas or phrases to introduce into current or future pieces of writing.

Two favorite freewriting “prompts” (from Wild Mind by Natalie Goldberg):

  1. Have a waking daydream.  Begin with “I am” and write in the present tense. Example:  I am walking down the beach.  The tide is rolling in and out.  Little waves lap at my bare feet, while sea gulls screech overhead…
  2. Start with the phrase “I want to write about” Example:  I want to write about my sister Becky and how we used to put on little plays for our parents and friends.  I want to write about the time I got  in trouble for breaking a lamp, only it wasn’t my fault.  I want to write about how beautiful the sky looks on a clear night when you’re away from the city and can see millions of stars shining bright….


From the Writing Curriculum Files of Children’s Author, Suzanne Williams