- Academic Research and Writing Tips / Tutorial

Focused Free Writing and Its Benefits

Often students struggle in deciding what topic to write or what specific areas of a topic they want to write on. They often struggle with choosing the right topic or they are not sure what specific area of topic to choose. Focused free writing is a method related to brainstorming that is often used in helping students decide what topics to choose. It is simple and easy to do. It is a pre-writing exercise that helps the student in writing essays and term papers.

Focused Free Writing

Think about a question that might be worth researching. Begin to write without stopping for five or ten minutes. Put down everything that comes to mind on the issue or question. Do not stop to think about spelling, grammar, or punctuation. Simply, write everything possible on the topic freely without stopping. Do not stop at this stage to evaluate the results or worry about sentence structure. The goal is to pour out as many ideas as possible in a steady stream of writing.

After this free writing exercise, it is time to look at what has been created. Highlight any significant ideas and underline any key words that might be used to develop a term paper or essay. Use these to further research the topic. Key words are especially beneficial in researching the topic.

Here is an example of focused free writing on dogs:

Dogs can be small or large. There are many different types of breeds. My favorite is Maltese. They are white and small. They enjoy playing and romping with their owners. They eat very little but often they are demanding on what they want to eat. They are protective of their owners. Another type of dog is a pit bull. Pit bulls are known as dangerous because they can kill a child or a small dog with one bite. Often the public wants to eliminate all pit bulls because they can hurt people. Neither Maltese nor pit bulls are recommended for children. The best dogs for children are collies and Keeshonds.

This essay could be used as a comparison essay or it could be used to argue that pit bulls are dangerous and strict laws should be created to prevent people from being harmed. Another essay from this free writing could be about Maltese and give information about their special characteristics.

The purpose of free writing is to take a topic and obtain ideas that can be used to research the topic. Getting key terms from free writing is beneficial in research because these terms can be used during research. For instance, Maltese could be entered into the key term on EBSCO and articles would be listed with information that has been written on the topic of Maltese. On the other hand, putting the key term of pit bulls on the Internet would list many articles or sources on pit bulls. Other ideas listed in the free writing could be used to research information such as small breeds of dogs, larger breeds, pets that are good with children or pets that are not good with children. An essay could be written on the topic of collies of Keeshonds.

Free writing is a useful tool in prewriting and choosing topics for different essays. It is simple to do. The student simply writes everything they know about a topic for five to ten minutes without stopping. Once the free writing is completed the student can decide what is important in the free writing and eliminate other ideas. The student can choose important ideas, key words, or topics. The student can even decide to keep what has been written and to expand the ideas found in the free writing. The student may decide to free write again with ideas used in the free writing that was done. Free writing is a great tool for getting ideas for custom-written essays, term papers, and research papers.