How to Expand Time During Your Freewrite

When I freewrite, I “engage the flow.”

I am willing to accept what comes. I am receptive, I let things go.

I am present to the moment. I engage a sense of intentionality to write for a given purpose and images and words just happen spontaneously.

I write what’s there in the moment.

When I do this for long enough, my sense for time itself shifts somewhat. Freewriting for more than 20 minutes really opens things up perceptually. It becomes a different kind of freewriting.

Depth Freewriting

Depth freewriting grounds my attention in the present moment. The present moment no longer seems limited to the immediate second, and I question my assumptions that the present moment is a small slice of time. My sense of the present moment grows as my focus deepens.

Rather than describing it that my attention span grows longer, I would say that it gets deeper.

I may still flit around a bit percepually, but there is often the sense of greater depth. The immediate moment resonates with a wider peripheral sense.

This may sound vague, but if you have had a similar experience, maybe you can relate to what I am describing.

Photo by Pawel Kalisinski

It’s interesting to try and put these subtle shifts of perception into words.

My experience with depth freewriting is that when my focus deepens, I’m not entirely sure whether the breadth of attention span widens so that I am able to retain more than 5 seconds, 10 seconds, a minute in my short-term memory. Maybe it is.

As I see it, whether a writer has a masterful attention span or not, they can still notice this shift.

You can freewrite even if your attention span isn't great. Click To Tweet

The process deepens my focus so that I feel more into the resonances between different images, characters, ideas, and subplots. I become more able to weave a more intricate net.

If we regard the flow consciousness as a stream, then I would say that the experience of depth freewriting has shown me how not only do we have surface streams, but there are also underground flows and other pathways that consciousness takes.

If I were to only write according to what my pre-planned conscious mind knows then I am not availing myself of all the rich subterranean pathways, the seldom-seen flows.

Man lives in only one small room of the enormous house of his consciousness.

William James

(Interesting essay by William James on consciousness as a stream: https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/tt2.html)

In my experience, ordinary life does not automatically connect people with their depths. However, it is not so difficult to access them. Even a twenty minute freewriting session can begin to unearth some truly rich and fertile creative spaces.

A writer with very little experience can masterfully navigate complex thoughts and intricate ideas by getting in touch with their deep inner knowing.

When you write, what do you identify as?

Do you identify as the series of conscious thoughts in your project? Or do you identify as the flow?

When I shift my sense of self towards that flow state itself, it widens my focus. More becomes possible.

The real magic can happen.

What about you? What have you noticed about your sense of self as you freewrite?

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