Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Freewriting is a way to get your writing started and keep it moving. When you freewrite, you don’t censor or second-guess your words. You just write what comes to mind, and keep writing, for a set amount of time.
Freewriting is the first step in the creative process. When we stop to edit our writing, we interrupt the creative flow. Peter Elbow proposes that “freewriting is the best way to learn—in practice, not in theory—to separate the producing process from the revising process” (14).
1. Use paper and pencil or pen. On paper, it’s easier to restrict the temptation to edit. With your fingers on the keyboard, it’s simply too easy to hit delete or click on a notification.
2. Get rid of distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode and hide from other people for a while.
3. Write a prompt at the top of the paper. The prompt should be a question you intend to answer, or a phrase about your topic: What experience leads me to law school? If you get stuck, rewrite the prompt, and continue.
4. Breathe for a minute. Take several deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. (Jane Brunette provides additional instructions on this.)
5. Write without stopping. Don’t erase or cross through anything; just keep writing, for ten minutes.
What you freewrite might surprise you. When you shut down your internal editor, you can get in touch with unconscious ideas and feelings. Through freewriting, as Jane Brunette remarks, you can “uncover hidden obstacles and unwind your judging mind into greater warmth, spaciousness, and acceptance of your writing and your experience.” Freewriting replaces repression with inspiration.
Save the editing for the end of the writing process! Better yet, send me your draft for a free estimate. I will take care of the editing.
Elbow, Peter. Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process. Oxford University Press, 1981.
Brunette, Jane. “How to Use Writing as a Meditation Practice.” HuffPost, 8 Oct. 2013,