I’m a freewriting evangelist. I love writing marathons.
I have found that the notion of writing without stopping spooks some people.
They’re worried that if they do that, they might tap into something. Awaken something profound (and profoundly suppressed) within them. Like… I guess something like the puzzle box in Hellraiser.
Freewriting has a lot of different applications. Most simply, it can mean knowing what you want to write and then writing continuously.
Freewriting is about becoming more than who you think you are
Or you can freewrite and be totally aimless. I can understand when some people feel like aimless freewriting wouldn’t be worth their time. But still sometimes I find that people are actually spooked by what might happen if they held themselves to this simple task.
Something to ponder.
Being open to the moment, you might be inspired by all sorts of things. Who is to say what might happen? Maybe it will only make sense to you several years down the road.
To confront your anxiety around self-discovery, challenge yourself…
Try writing pure nonsense for the rest of the day
Just the thought of doing this sounds delicious and hilarious. If you’re afraid of writing something bad, do your best to write something really bad and then continue writing badly for the rest of the day.
As a challenge to yourself and a way to perhaps stir things up within you.
I really wonder whether you’re willing to try it.
“What if nothing I write is any good?”
“What if I waste my time?”
I don’t know about you, but I have definitely spent hours of my own time doing far less fruitful things than challenging myself to a sustained freewrite.
The same person who criticizes an aimless writing marathon may very well spend hours each night watching TV reruns.
I imagine them racing through yellow lights, cutting people off in traffic. Guarding heroically against any minute lost. And then they come home and proceed to waste the rest of their evening in front of the television or on social media.
Ah, well, after all that stress from traffic, how could they possibly write anything good? So really, you see, the decision is already made for them.
The end result of doing practices like this is more of an integrated life.
Not scattered in different directions.
Having a singular focus that applies in a myriad of ways.
Challenge yourself to find out firsthand: What happens when you write without stopping?
Try writing nonsense all day long.
Sounds silly maybe.
And it is a little scary. Doing something for that long– is that going to mess me up? Like how parents tell their children not to make strange faces or else they might stick that way.
Doing something like this wholeheartedly will get you into a bit of an altered state for sure.
It’ll exercise and stretch your inner critic.
Harmless. Except for the inner critic that stops us from becoming more of who we are.
It just takes a bit of commitment.
Let’s say you want to write a book.
You also want to make art of your life.
Words are can be a way you transform yourself.
By not attaching to the product of the words, but by engaging the craft and letting it go.
Freewriting for self discovery
You simply flow and let go.
You’re not seeking to make something that you look back into and make something of.
You’rep plowing the field, moving energy, and letting things go.
Just write it, feel what you write, and let it go.
You can revisit it. For longer ones, it can be really good to revisit what you write, highlight the parts that stand out.
Maybe carry them into a new document.
But this is better: take a leap of faith. It’s not about mining material. It can be about letting it all be there, just identifying it, and writing again.
The stuff that is there with you is there with you. Don’t abandon what you really lit up by.
But also don’t grasp it.
What’s more important – a single clever phrase or an abiding trust that you have what it takes?
Confidence is more valuable than a few good ideas.
To be in the flow is better than being on the lookout for good and bad.
To be flowing forward, continually refining, and practicing the discipline of centering on your topic. Flowing and centering.
Flowing and recentering.