I teach college composition at a local community college and I have the class I teach do a freewrite early in the semester. Students generally dislike the exercise. Yet, in my opinion, it seems to be the one thing that helps their writing more than any other exercise I give them all semester. It really helps students at that level find their voice, and helps them get past that whiney “I don’t know what to write,” stage. I usually have them read an essay by Peter Elbow, who invented freewriting, before the exercise. I would suggest anyone who’s never attempted a freewrite to try it out once or twice.