Freewriting is an often misunderstood writing tool or process. I will take a few post over the next week or so to explore it some.
There is evidence that freewriting has existed as long as the written word, but in the 20th century, we can attribute freewriting to two primary sources: the automatic writing experimentations of Surrealist Andre Breton, and writing-theorist and scholar Peter Elbow. In particular, Ebow's classic, Writing Without Teachers, is still a must read forty years after its first publication. A more detailed history can be found is Vivian Wagner's aptly titled article from Psychology Today, The Magic of Freewriting.
To start, lets begin with Elbow's simple conception of freewriting.
"The idea is simply to write for ten minutes (later on, perhaps fifteen or twenty). Don't stop for anything. Go quickly without rushing. Never stop to look back, to cross something out, to wonder how to spell something, to wonder what word or thought to use, or to think about what you are doing. If you can't think of a word or a spelling, just use a squiggle or else write "I can't think what to say, I can't think what to say" as many times as you want; or repeat the last word you wrote over and over again; or anything else. The only requirement is that you never stop."
Perhaps try a freewriting session or two over the couple of days, before my next post.