A free write is a piece of writing that you construct with freedom. You write whatever comes to mind about that given topic without limiting yourself to any specific focus or organization. You are not writing an essay yet, but rather just collecting everything and anything you have to say about this general topic. You are free to keep your mind open and discover many directions. The free write is a chance to explore what you think and essentially write it all out, so you can read it afterward to see what you said. The best approach is to write without thinking too much; deep thinking is for later.
Free write directions
- Place the newest version of your thesis at the top of your page; the thesis will be your general focus for the free write.Feel free to change your original thesis if you have changed your mind or want to refine it, but make sure it still meets the expectations on the rubric. If you have a good thesis, are still interested in the argument and received a high score on the rubric, stick with it. However, if you are not satisfied with your thesis don’t use it; instead do not put anything at the top of your page and use this free write as an opportunity to explore.
- Set your timer for 20 minutes. Start typing everything you want to say about the thesis or the subject matter. Do not stop writing when you get stuck. Keep writing until the time is up. If you are really blocked, maybe you should stop and try again later. This activity should produce a full typed, single spaced page of writing.
- When it is complete. Save it and leave it. Return to read it no sooner than 30 minutes later. At that time, read it to see what you said. Read to yourself or a friend. Hopefully you have some good ideas hiding in there. Use those ideas and any other methods (research, reviewing of your reading from They Say I Say, reviewing notes from the debate, having a conversation or referring to our class discussion) to plan out the first draft of your essay.
- This plan should include coming up with your key ideas or main points,then turning those key ideas into clear topic sentences.
Before you attempt the free write.
Before you engage in the free write activity, take some time to collect all of the information you have about higher education: look at your annotated bibliographies, your class discussions, and notes from your readings then submerge yourself in the information, reading and reviewing and discussing with others. Once your mind is full and you are ready to spill the information onto the page begin the free write. Wait until you are ready, full of stuff you need to say; do not sit in front of the computer trying to recall information you have forgotten about. The free write will be easy and it will write itself with little effort if you make sure you are prepared. If you need to do further research, reread an essay, listen to a talk or call your argumentative friend do so first and then leave time to write. Use one important starting sentence to get you going. It can be a sentence, a question or your thesis. If you want to make sure you stay somewhat focused during the free write, use your thesis as the starting sentence. If you’d rather allow an open door to the free write, turn your thesis into a question and use that question as the start of the free write. Whatever works to get you going. Use a deliberate and strong sentence to start the free write and make sure it is connected to the thesis you think you will use for the essay.