Monday, November 19, 2007

Writing for Style - Focused Freewriting

Freewriting is writing without rules. Start by jotting down the first thoughts that come to mind, no matter how trivial or disconnected they may appear.

You may eventually delete it or toss it away. But if you first read it over carefully, you might find a key word or phrase or maybe even a sentence or two that can be developed into a longer piece of writing. Freewriting may not always give you specific material for a future essay, but it will help you get into the right frame of mind for writing.

Focused Freewriting follows the same process but begins with a topic:

  1. Put a topic of your choice, or even the topic of your next paper, at the top of a blank page. Set a time limit and begin Freewriting.
  2. This time, write down things that seem to be related to the topic. Do not worry about order of ideas or grammatical correctness.
  3. Don't worry if the ideas seem to be digressions.
  4. When time is up, look over what you have written. Pull out ideas and phrases you can use later.
  5. Practice putting the Freewriting into outline form. If you were to use the writing to begin a paper, which points would you make first? Second?

Most people need to practice freewriting several times before they are able to make it work for them effectively. So be patient.

Try freewriting as a regular exercise, perhaps three or four times a week, until you find that you can write without rules comfortably and productively.

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