Re: Freewriting

Kenneth Robert Wright (kright@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU)
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 08:30:17 -0700

On Mon, 22 Jul 1996, RUTH E. FISCHER wrote:

> chapters. So what would we call what I had done before? (BTW has
> anyone bothered to try and define/describe what we mean by the term
> 'freewriting'?)
> The chapters have both taken major new directions. The writing not
> only went deeper but I felt as if my voice were emerging from the
> text. A weird experience but one I am sure you all have experienced
> at some point in your writing lives--
Sorry if this is old news. I admist to not following this thread very
closely. It's too hot in Oregon right now for thinking much.

I think Ruth brings up some interesting points in asking both what
freewriting is, and what she was doing when first writing those
dissertation chapters she changed so much in their "second" versions. I
have always thought that free writing was when one wrote whatever came
to mind on a topic for a specific amount of time without stopping. It
is a way to generate ideas, an invention technique, which is more to get
the jucies flowing on a topic than it is to actually generate language
that will be used in a draft.

I think, Ruth, that you were writing first drafts when you wrote the
those two dissertation chapters. The free writing, if you did it at all,
came before those drafts. I only use free writing when I'm stuck for
ideas on a topic, and I've noticed my students tend to do the same. Most
of the time I compose, no matter how rough, a first draft. What makes
it a first draft rather than free writing is that I am more or less
focused on a topic, that I often stop to think of the next
word/phrase/sentence, and that I stop to read other texts for information.

Kenneth R. Wright

Happiness is based on a just discrimination of what is necessary,
what is neither necessary nor destructive,
and what is destructive.
--Ursula K. Le Guin