Non-stop writing, stream of consciousness, free writing . . . it doesn’t matter what you call it – it can change your brain, change your day, change your relationships, change your life.
I’m not being overly dramatic as there is a body of research which shows that simply putting pen to paper changes your brain.
Easy Peasy Writing How-to
Write on! by Peggy
Choose a focus – a situation, feeling, thought and create a “topic Sentence” If you can’t think of a specific begin with “Right this moment I am thinking . . . ” or “I am feeling . . .” or ” “I can’t think of anything . . . “
It can be anything in the past, the present or the future.
- Use a pen that writes smoothly and comfortable to your hand. Don’t use a keyboard since the act of writing with your hand is important. Your small muscle movement is expressive (much like artistic expression, your handwriting is unique to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s legible or beautiful as the movement registers with your brain in ways that tapping out letters on a keyboard do not).
- Set a timer for approximately 20 minutes. It takes that long for your unconscious brain to push through your logical thinking processes.
- Use a journal, a piece of paper, a brown bag – it doesn’t matter.
- Start with your “topic sentence”, thought, feeling . . . just start.
- Write continuously for 20 minutes, never letting the pen stop. If your mind goes blank simply makes loop-d-loops with the pen until you have words to put down. Write quickly, spontaneously, intuitively. It doesn’t matter what you write just put down on paper where your mind takes you.
- Do not be concerned about spelling, punctuation or grammar.
- Do not be concerned if it doesn’t make sense.
Read research How Writing About Past Failures May Help You Succeed In The Present, click here
You may know it as stream-of-consciousness, non-stop writing, free writing – all the same names for what amounts to writing with no thought to spelling punctuation, whether it makes sense or not. Just write. I call it brain-dump.
It’s a writing technique used for warm-up, breaking into writer’s block or uncovering unconscious process. In the journal class today we were given the prompt “We do not write in order to be understood, we write in order to understand” (C.Day Lewis).
I typed out my journal page (I hope you appreciate the lengths I go to for you my readers!) to show you an unedited glimpse into what a sample of free-writing looks like.
But first!!! here’s the ditty that came out of my free-write:
My tiny trains of thought
Hopefully if I run out of steam
I will stay on track
I think I can I think I can I think I can.
Actual journal page. (The flower is from the napkin I had for cookie refreshments)
“Who on earth really understands us we are understood by others only in reference to how the other perceives their own world thru their own lens which always clouded just like the mist that clouds the sky this morning I’m obscured obscured and I obscure how I see what I see through a clouded lens of my feelings and perceiving the cloud it’s hard to know what is real and what not obscured vision filter it thru a mist as if I see with the brightness I don’t know my reference my experience no one can ever know They think they know I think I know yet my senses are bound up in my brain scattering thoughts confused thinking between the past and present in the obscurity of the future I meant to write obscurity of the present, interesting slip of the pen in the scattering of thinking on paper no one knows what this means I don’t know what this means how am I suppose to know how am I suppose to understand what can’t be understood it’s safe to say no matter what I write no one will understand NOT EVEN ME how can we pretend to know much less pretend to understand always curious wanting to understand wanting to know it’s as if a long train pulled by a locomotive is coming can’t see the end if I’m at the beginning can’t see the beginning if I’m at the end and in the middle of it all are cars filled with the unknown going up a hill like the Little Engine that Could try to reach the top of the knowing to see other to the other side where it’s just a glide, just a downhill run where the brakes need to be applied not the foot on the throttle if a train has a throttle I think I can I think I can I think I can”.
I’m never sure if I just have trouble following “rules”, have attention deficit disorder, or get easily bored. I’ve decided it’s all three . . . and I’m not joking.
I decided to embrace “my tendencies” for the journal writing class. Instead of just journal WRITING I’m combining it with doodling, collage, free writing (aka stream of consciousness) and what ever else might amuse me.
- I do not like starting on blank white pages so I smeared paint on the pages.
- I do not like doing anything in sequence. I am just writing, doodling, collaging at random throughout the journal
Cover of old journal I’m using – already covered with acrylic paint
A free-write with one-line doodles
In class – randomly pick a word cut out from newspaper. Free associate a list of words (The last word written might have significance). I free associated all over the page and lost track of the last word (which, as you know, is rare for me as I like to get in the last word).
Maybe it unconsciously prompted this next collage?
I might use this collage as a writing prompt to see what my unconscious is saying . . . or not
It’s suggested to journal 3 pages every day. Instead of 3 pages I did 3 sections: Free writing, things-to-do-list and one-line bird doodles
P.S. Since this is my PRIVATE journal don’t tell anyone else.