Example of Freewriting (Comments in Red Explain How to Freewrite)

   The wall in front of me is blank, like this sheet of paper.  I never did put up any photos in my bedroom.  I don't know why.   It's as if, after I move into a place, I only have a couple of months to make the place be what it's going to be.  After that, all the rooms and arrangements of furniture and plants develop a look of permanence, as if that's the only possible way that wall could look, the futon could be placed, the plants could be arranged, the knick-knacks placed on empty surfaces.  Much like a first draft.  I still get attached to first drafts of things.  I consider myself a poet despite lack of publications, maybe because I can't revise.  I put words down on the page and they acquire a sense of permanence, as if I couldn't delete a word or add another or throw out a whole section or start all over using just a few of the phrases.  Phrases.  Musical phrases.   Voice lessons.  Acappella groups.  Moxie Fruvous (sp?) at the Hudson River Clearwater Revival.  Dar Williams.  Unconnected thoughts.  Where am I going?  End of sophomore year, no declared major, wanting to drop out, then dropping out.  Getting sick at the end of spring term, but that was my freshman year because Kathy took care, brought meals up from the caf for me.  Notice the sentence fragments, the jumping around of thoughts from one thing to another.   Freewriting is mostly a matter of getting words down on the page and not worrying about doing anything the "right" way.

Example of Focused Freewriting Leading to the Discovery of an Idea.   Subject:  Orientation.

    Orientation is such a strange concept, really.   If you have to be oriented, that suggests you're disoriented.  I guess that makes sense.  Orientation to a place, to a culture, to a new, what, way of behaving.   What can you be oriented to?  College, obviously.  What else?  A new country.  I remember living in Valencia, Spain, one summer, and I was completely disoriented for the first three weeks because I was living on one time and the sun was rising on another.  But that was very different from the cultural disorientation.   The time lag was a physical thing.  The language is very different.  It's about being able to communicate.  Or not being able to.  The thing is, when I was disoriented, every time there was the experience of making a real connection to someone through speaking Spanish, I was elated.  It's as if, during times of disorientation there is also the maximum opportunity for real growth, which might be the orientation.  Notice the jumping around of thoughts, as with freewriting, except this time it all focuses on the idea of orientation (or it's opposite).  I can feel that I've arrived somewhere in the last sentence or two.   I can imagine writing more about how disorientation allows for true growth.  I feel as if, after all my jumping around from one thing to another, my mind has discovered something interesting, a tentative idea I can work with.