Getting from Notes to Your Draft


Freewriting is writing to think. Like brainstorming, freewriting taps into your inner resources to find your individual perspective, knowledge, memory, and intuition.

To begin freewriting, choose a set time for the activity, such as 20 or 30 minutes. Have plenty of paper available or start with a blank screen on your computer. If you get blocked when you write, try writing with your computer monitor turned off. Select a sentence or idea suggested by your brainstorming session and write that sentence at the top of the page. Begin writing and don’t stop. Don’t evaluate what you are writing as you write, and don’t worry about the mechanics of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Just write. Your goal is to think in writing about your topic.

Your writing may be more productive if you use some kind of framework for this process. One such framework might be to ask yourself questions about your topic and answer them. For example, you can start with the question What interests me about this topic? When you exhaust that question, ask What do I already know about this topic? Is my knowledge from experience, previous research, or another course? Go on to answer the question Where can I get more information on this topic?

When you are finished freewriting, you can evaluate what you have written for its usefulness. Circle ideas and directions that interest you. If you are using your computer, you can highlight the text you want to keep, block it and move it to another page, or delete what you don’t want. You can also use the material you’ve written as a starting point for an outline.

  • Freewriting allows writers to generate many sentences and paragraphs quickly by continuously writing, without any editing or revising, for a set time, such as 20 minutes.

  • Sometimes it helps to start by listing all the things you intend to accomplish in the paper.

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