Everybody in the world has the same conviction of inner importance, fire, of the god within. The tragedy is that either they stifle their fire by not believing in it and using it; or they try to prove to the world and themselves that they have it, not inwardly and greatly, but externally and egotistically, by some second-rate thing like money or power or more publicity.
Therefore all should work. First because it is impossible that you have no creative gift. Second: the only way to make it live and increase is to use it. Third: you cannot be sure that it is not a great gift.Brenda Ueland
It really makes no difference whether you consider yourself a writer or not. The regular practice of freewriting brings about a kind of self-knowledge — just delivers it right to your awareness — in a more direct way than many other practices.
Through direct experience, freewriting stokes the fire of knowing. Because of how it is both flowing and challenging, it affords a sense of confidence to the quest for self-knowledge. Freewriting is not about assessing writing to be good or bad. It’s about continually adjusting your attention so that you write in a way that stems from your experience.
The more you value writing that is directly related to your experience, the more you discover pathways towards being in touch with your depths. Anyone who aspires towards a life of integrity and authenticity needs to have pathways available for them to access their depths. They can’t rely on secondhand knowledge or some one else’s opinion or the approval of others. Majority opinion does not hold sway over a person’s inner wisdom.
What I’m calling the “fire of knowing” can be understood simply as a sense of warmth felt regardless of what is happening on the outside.
In this way, a regular writing practice can help engender a sense of being anchored in oneself in a very durable way.
Nonknowing is a kind of skill
Freewriting requires the writer to abide in silent nonknowing. Depending on how artfully you navigate the more chaotic moments of a longer freewriting session, it helps to cultivate the skill of receptivity. Almost as if the writer has their ear pressed up against something they hope is inspiration, and they are carefully listening to see what they can pick up. It can be frustrating, terrifying, and many other things.
Uncertainty is really a pathway to discovery. A place where possibilities are born.
If we go around in life merely following patterns decided by other people, we lose the opportunity to discover the depths and wonders that await us because we simply are who we are.
Maybe you don’t believe you are really that special or different. It’s fairly common for nonwriters especially to have the belief that writers are a strange self-important breed, that they have to be all puffed up to take it upon themselves to ostentatiously presume that others are interested in the things they make up. Maybe there’s truth to this and maybe not.
The thing that I believe matters is that each person has a chance in this life to become more of who they really are. I don’t know anymore whether to think about that as a “life purpose” or whether there is a more simple way of understanding it. Perhaps it is more centrally about each person actually caring about their own inner wisdom. Not writing, seeing the world, or living in a way that is really just conditioning and other people’s rules. But in a way that actually stems from inner knowing. A way of seeing that is effortlessly you.
To go there can take a great deal of commitment and effort, and one of the main pain points here to get underneath is how we deal with potentially massive levels of uncertainty. Because maybe your life as you are living it now is so far from your inner truth’s core yearning that it would mean making a very dramatic course correction. The choice boils down to whether you follow truth or not.
Mastering the workhorse aspect of writing
Anyone who wants to be prolific needs to be writing regularly if not daily. It’s definitely possible to write in chunks, irregularly, based on maybe a big project or whether you don’t necessarily have a way of making time every single day. Temperament is more often the culprit or limiting factor to regularity. Getting in touch with that inner “why” can fuel a writer’s workhorse ability so that they can write daily, and by doing this stay in close relationship with their voice. Incremental changes can become profound over time, and daily habits are the most surefire ways of making this happen.
Regularity engenders a kind of magic
Perhaps you have noticed that as we learn new thing, they quickly become automatic. We no longer have to think about them. Complex tasks such as navigating a long drive to work through traffic can be done without even thinking about it. The same is true for a regular writing practice. You write without stopping and it becomes an automatic way of working. You simply sit down to write and find that you have the habit to enter the flow state.
Language use affords a kind of mental clarity
Here I do not limit the scope to a familiarity with dictionary definitions. Certainly it is beneficial to have a wide, broad, adaptable vocabulary, because it is an aid in the formation and navigation of meaning. A certain kind of precision can come about this way that can be hard to reach without having linguistic skill.
Part of it has to do with a central role that language has, which is to share knowledge with others, to build bridges of understanding and form relationships. Let’s say that two people have had the same experience, and they talk to each other about it afterward. Maybe they saw the same beautiful sunset and they are both enchanted by it and they want to spend time together talking about what arose in them to have such an experience. When one person is able to communicate their experience to another, it is simultaneously an opportunity for that person to see how that person put the same experience into words. So there is the subjectivity of the experience to notice and also the matter of language use that plays a part. When someone is able to put things into words, what effect does that have on the way they experience something? Assuming that the whole matter of describing doesn’t get in the way of them experiencing something directly, I have found that language can add something to the whole affair.
Realistically, we always have lenses over our experience. So the idea is to try to clarify that lens so that it adds dimension to the experience and does not muddy the waters.