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ENG 101: Composition I  

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Freewriting is a prewriting technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. While there is no set strategy for freewriting, basic steps include:

  1. Give yourself a time limit. Write for one or ten or twenty minutes, and then stop.

  2. Keep your hand moving until the time is up. Do not pause to stare into space or to read what you've written. Write quickly but not in a hurry.

  3. Pay no attention to grammar, spelling, punctuation, neatness, or style. Nobody else needs to read what you produce here. The correctness and quality of what you write do not matter; the act of writing does.

  4. If you get off the topic or run out of ideas, keep writing anyway. If necessary, write nonsense or whatever comes into your head, or simply scribble: anything to keep the hand moving.

  5. If you feel bored or uncomfortable as you're writing, ask yourself what's bothering you and write about that. Sometimes your creative energy is like water in a kinked hose, and before thoughts can flow on the topic at hand, you have to straighten the hose by attending to whatever is preoccupying you.

  6. When the time is up, look over what you've written, and mark passages that contain ideas or phrases that might be worth keeping or elaborating on in a subsequent free-writing session.

From Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within" (2005).


Avoiding Wikipedia

Mobile Note Taking Tools


Sources to Help you Pick a Topic

Find lists of possible topics in the following databases:

  • CQ Researcher - Click Browse Topics to view the topics covered by the database which might make good research topics and select one you’re interested in.

If you are off-campus you will need to use your 14 digit Library Card number, which can be found on your ID Card or in SOLAR.

You can also:

  • Browse news headlines on the internet to get ideas.
  • Write about your own interests or hobbies.
  • Choose a topic related to your job or career.

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is a visual way to organize your topic, or take a broad topic and narrow it down to a segment that will fit the scope of your assignment. It's a graphic way to brainstorm content and structure.


Using Notecards

Research notecards can be useful in keeping track of information that you want to use in your essay. They can be helpful in organizing your paper as well.

There are many different notecard formats, so if your instructor requires you to use notecards, be sure to check and see what information he or she is asking you to provide.

Below are two examples of how a research notecard can be formatted. Unless your instructor has specific requirements, research notecards can be adjusted to best suit your learning style.



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