(This page was developed with some adaptation from the handout titled “Brainstorming”, posted on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Writing Center Website)

Freewriting can help ideas to come out of the subconscious, as the focus is on writing ideas down as they come. Whether bullet points, sentence fragments or phrases, it doesn’t matter. Punctuation is not an issue as you are simply getting ideas out of your mind and onto paper. Usually, a set amount of time is designated in order to help your thoughts move quickly, about ten to fifteen minutes at most.

Freewriting can be open or focused.  If you really do not have any idea what to write about, just begin to write down your impressions and thoughts in an “open” freewrite.  Filling the page with words may coax something from your mind.  Once you have done this, choose an idea or two from your open freewrite to explore in a more “focused” freewrite. Writing down your thoughts about a more specific idea that came up in your open freewrite will narrow down your topic even more, and hopefully will lead to the idea that will be the basis for your paper.[i]

Open Free Writing Example


Focused Free Writing Example


If you feel that you have reached a point where you can’t think of anything else to write down, try thinking of things that are distantly related to the actual topic. This may lead to more ideas that are usable, and prevents you from interrupting your thought process.


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