[dropcap]O[/dropcap]nce you have drafted a strong and effective thesis statement, written an outline, found and read your sources, you are ready to write. What should you do once you are in front of the screen and wondering where to begin? One task that can help you is free writing. During free writing, you write informally about your topic without worrying about formatting, grammar, spelling, or other formalities. It helps you to get ideas written down and can serve as a launching point for your formal writing. Free writing can be done at any point during the writing process. Even before you have written a thesis statement or an outline, you may find free writing to be beneficial.
To do free writing, simply set a time limit for yourself and write. Try starting with 5 minutes and write without stopping. Simply focus on your topic and write what comes to mind. The end result of what you write may not be used at all in your paper, but the process will help you begin to get words down. Free writing may feel like a waste of time, but at the start of a writing session, it can help by simply getting the ideas flowing. You may even find that 5 minutes is not enough. If that is the case, give yourself 10 minutes for your next session.
Free writing may also be very useful if you are feeling writer’s block. Set aside what you are working on and simply write what is on your mind. If it is unrelated to your topic, that is ok. Writing out your frustrations with the writing process may even help you to move forward. When feeling blocked while writing, try doing a free writing exercise with pen and paper if you have been writing on the computer. Changing the tools may help to free ideas in your mind.
When your predetermined amount of time is up, stop writing. Read through what you have written and highlight the parts that you feel are beneficial to your paper. You will use these sentences or ideas as the starting point for your writing session. Take the sentences that you have highlighted and edit them for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Now you may continue to elaborate on these ideas for your paper.
There are no set rules to free writing. The idea is to write without stopping for a set period of time, to write without concern of proper grammar or spelling, and to write whatever comes to your mind even if it is not related to your topic. You simply want to get some of your ideas out of your head and onto paper or the screen. Once you have completed your free writing session, read through the material you have written and see what you can use in your formal writing.
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