When I am working on a project, I accumulate a lot of yarn scraps. If they are longer than 3", I save them to make a "magic ball" by randomly tieing them all together. I like to use the the Russian join for this. You don't have to use the Russian join, but it gives you a neat finish and keeps the tails from getting in your way as you work. A magic ball is a great way to kick start your creativity when beginning a freeform crochet project.
When I am teaching freeform, I have the students make a magic ball at home, and then we draw stitch types from a basket and roll dice to see how many to make. Then, we write it out like a pattern to follow. The only thing the student has to decide, is where to put the stitches. Most of the time they put the "pattern" aside after they see the piece developing (which I encourage), creativity takes over and a unique piece is made. This freeform game gives them the confidence to be more free with their crochet. Students that are more comfortable with a pattern can still create a freeform piece as well, by continuing with our written "pattern". It is an activity that works for all types of students and it is very exciting to see their freeform style emerge.
These photos are of a cuff that I made using a magic ball while playing the freeform game. I was so pleased with how it turned out, that I embellished it with sequins and beads. I didn't know I was making a cuff when I started, that is just what it became!