Most people are impatient for freewriting to work like they are watching a bag of popcorn pop. It may not look like it's working right at first, but give it a minute or two. You can see the power is on, and the hear the microwave going. You may start to think the appliance is broken. Then—pop. Pop. OK, there's only one kernel in the whole bag. Then another two or three. Next poppoppop. Then they're popping faster than you can count. After that, it slows back down, and then there are the last few left. Then you cut the power off, so the popcorn doesn't burn.
The next time you freewrite, remember the bag of popcorn. Just start writing like you turn on the microwave. You believe it will work. It may not look like it's working at first, but give it a couple of minutes. Ignore the doubting voice that wonders if you're broken. Then—pop. An idea. OK, you might think there's just one idea there, but keep going. Next, another idea or three will pop. And then ideas are flowing so fast you can hardly write them down fast enough. After a bit, the ideas will pop slower and taper off. After that, you can stop.
Creatively generate the ideas first, then go back and evaluate the best ones. Also, you don't have to throw ideas or writing away (ever) just because it doesn't help with the current assignment. You're welcome to keep them in a good ideas folder.
Gregory Hanks has taught community college for upwards of 17 years. He's helped thousands of students achieve more of their potential, write better, and earn their degrees. In 2017, he left a traditional teaching role to help more people like you get better results, faster.
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