FAQ
(frequently asked questions)
Shouldn't I try to always write properly with correct punctuation etc?
It's important to know the difference between writing that is for you and writing that is for other people. This is preparation writing, thus it is not for anyone else - it is to help you generate ideas that you will then shape into a finished piece that will be for someone else. It is that piece which has to be proofread.

What if my mind goes completely blank?
Don't stop writing! Write "blank, blank, blank" if necessary. If you just keep writing you will be able to get the flow going again.

I don't know how to start!
Start with the topic you have been given, or simply start by writing "I don't know how to start" and then writing about that.

What if I can't think of anything to write after a while?
Just keep writing! Don't stop! Write about ANYTHING if necessary or hook onto a word and repeat from there. It really is like fishing - and if you can keep the line in the water, eventually something will come... have faith... keep going... worrying about it will only stop you, not help you.

How much should I write?
Write until you've found enough ideas. Keep going until you understand them and what you want to say about/through them.

What if my ideas are completely off the topic?
Unless you have a time limit (eg you are in an exam situation) just write EVERYTHING down. Sometimes unrelated ideas really are related,and other times it's just that you have stuff you have to get out of your head before you can peel away enough layers to get to the topic. If you are angry or hungry, for example, you have to write that down and peel it away before you'll be able to concentrate on the topic itself.

What happens if the ideas start coming too quickly?
Switch to brainstorming. Switch back if you get stuck again.

What do I do with it once it is written?
Look through it and see what actual ideas there are, circle them, write a list even... see if you have a theme lurking in there. Choose from what you've written what you'd now like to develop. See the end of this section or go to Mapping or Structure and planning.