Pomegranate Words

 Index   ::   Lessons   ::   Critiques   ::   For Teens   ::   Book Recommendations

This page is sponsored by EssayJolt. EssayJolt strives to help each student make the most of the college admissions essay. Visit the site for information about one-on-one consultations with essay coaches and essay workshops. The site also features a free advice section and a free "Ask EssayJolt" column.
Learn how your website can sponsor a page.


Freewriting is a very common brainstorming technique. Many writers use some form of freewriting as a cornerstone of their creative method. It's a simple process: follow your thoughts and see where they go. Don't worry about being rational, or writing beautifully or grammatically. Don't stop to reread what you've written and don't edit your work—that can come later, another day. Write quickly, keeping your pen to the page and pushing forward. Decide in advance what you'll do if your mind goes blank: you may choose to return to the first line you wrote or keep writing a phrase like "my mind is blank" until you hit upon something else. The goal of all this is to write something unexpected, to open yourself up to possibility and to surprise yourself. When you're freewriting, don't be afraid to go after a topic that's emotional or irrational—this is where your best material will come from.

To reassure yourself that this kind of writing is supposed to be nutty, look at the following sample:

She took off her house, peeled it off like a sweater on a hot day. There are many onion-selves. Oh how they flower out, their skirts are delicious. Can we move from one thing to another? Take them one by one. Sleep them down. Give them a sweet sweep. The flowers arrive in leaps, not bushels. Each one she leaves behind will mean one more day. Each one will sprout through her button holes. She has given this shirt away, but it comes back, keeps reappearing in her closet. Let's try and actually go there. She left the backdoor of her heart open, but the wind banged it shut.

Freewriting will be boring or ordinary some days. Don't worry if this happens. There are good days and bad days—just keep writing. Sometimes, what you thought was boring while you were first writing can seem more interesting later.

Today began with my alarm going off at 8:30. My alarm broke so when it goes off all there is is this really annoying screeching sound. So I get up lace up my shoes and head out the door. I ran in high school for 4 years and loved it. Let's face it, I was pretty good. I try and continue to run up here at school. Running helps me clear my head and revitalizes my body. What felt like 5 miles turned out to be only a 24 min 3 mile run. This disappointed me I feel like it is hard to go for a long run when I am unfamiliar with the streets and while campus seems large, when I run I run out of real estate pretty fast.

To get a freewriting session started, you can just dive in or write in response to an exercise. Sometimes a writer will pull an interesting or random line from a book to use as a jumping-off point. Set a goal to determine how much or how long you'll write—you can set a timer or decide on a page limit. However, if you reach that limit while you're in the middle of mining some interesting material, don't stop just because time is up. Inspiration is often impossible to get back.

Here are a few prompts you can use to start a freewriting journal. Try at least three of them, and then put them aside without looking at them. Come back to your writing a week later, and pick a passage that interests you. Try to see if you can turn it into a poem or story.

Choose an object and describe it thoroughly.

Write about someone whom you've known for a long time.

Write about something that makes you angry. Try to explain your anger to someone who doesn't get it.

Write about an imaginary figure you would like for a boyfriend or girlfriend (a mermaid, Smurfette, He-Man, etc...). What would a typical date be like?

Imagine you have an evil twin. Describe him or her.

Find an interesting picture in a magazine and describe what will happen next.

Write about a favorite meal. What made it so memorable?

Once you complete this exercise, you can get a critique from a writing teacher.

Privacy | Contact
Copyright 2003-2008 Pomegranate Words