ecide whether you write faster when writing on paper or typing on the computer.

Reading: Brainstorming Ideas

Below you will find explanations of three specific methods for brainstorming* ideas—freewriting, looping, and clustering.


When you freewrite, you acknowledge that there is a wide range of thesis statements that you might settle on. Give yourself some space to think through your topic.

Freewriting is a technique that every writer should have in his or her toolkit as he or she plans to write. The process lets you just begin writing without feeling like the writing you do at that moment needs to be effective, meaningful, or even good. Even though you’re not creating finished writing, freewriting allows you to do the important work of exploring your topic and your interests without worrying about creating a polished product. It’s simply a way to get thoughts down on paper.

As you freewrite, you choose a topic, set a time limit, and see where the topic leads you. The most important part of freewriting is to make sure that you turn your editorial mind off. Spelling and grammar don’t matter, and you don’t have to worry about writing a coherent piece with an introduction and a conclusion.

After you’re done freewriting, you’ll read over your writing again and find the parts that can be expanded upon or that hold your interest the most.

Remember that a freewrite is not a draft—it is part of the prewriting stage. In most cases, you won’t use a single phrase from your freewrite in any writing that you turn in. Writing that you turn in should be polished and focused; freewrites work best when they aren’t!

Instructions for Freewriting

  1. Decide whether you write faster when writing on paper or typing on the computer. If you use the textbox on the assignment page, your freewrite will be recorded in your notebook.
  2. Decide on a topic before you start. The topic can be general (“driver’s education”) or it might be more specific. An example of a more specific topic might be either of these two topics: “how driver’s education improves driving” or “why states should pay for driver’s education for all drivers, regardless of age or citizenship status.”
  3. Click the begin timer link.
  4. Start writing and don’t stop. Write anything that comes to mind about the topic. Let your ideas run free without worrying about where the ideas are going or whether they are “right” or “wrong.” There are no “bad” ideas at this stage. Don’t correct for grammar or sentence structure; this is not the time for your internal editor to take over! Write down bullet points if you want. Then stop when your time is up (feel free to finish a sentence or two if you’re in the middle of a thought). Be sure to hit save if you’re using the provided textbox.
  5. Finally, read over your writing. This is the most important part! Look over your writing and ask yourself these questions to see if you can find some idea that is worthy of more in-depth thought or research.

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