Freewriting, also known as “automatic writing,” is a technique that can help get a lot of material out of your head and onto the page—quickly.

To freewrite, choose a period of time—between five and fifteen minutes if you’re just getting started with freewriting—and set a timer. Then choose a writing prompt—a sentence with a word missing, for example. The moment you set the timer, start writing. Use pen and paper if you can; if you can’t, try dictation. Fill in the missing word in your sentence and keep going as fast as you can. Ignore grammar. Ignore spelling. Ignore style. Just keep the narrative going, as if you’re trying to keep a balloon in the air. Don’t cross out anything, and don’t stop to edit. Don’t even think. Just keep going until time’s up.

Please keep in mind that freewriting isn’t merely an exercise; it’s a solid, professional way to generate a first draft—quickly.


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