Freewriting has been around for some time.
Freewriting involves writing without stopping, and there are a variety of other techniques that can be woven into the practice.
One of the central values behind freewriting is that of letting go of judgment, which by default leaves you in a more original state of mind. Your focus is on the present moment. You are not being critical when you freewrite. You save the critical impulse for later if you want to revisit or revise what you have written freely. When you freewrite, you are in the creative mode, not the critical. That entails not being harsh on yourself, not going back and looking at what you have written, but staying in the flow, in the present moment. This moment is the one that sees the creative force manifest. It is the most interesting place to be. Freewriting is about abiding in this creative state.
So, put simply, freewriting embraces the creative, and therefore automatically is positioned against much of what we have been taught to do. Freewriting is a break from our conditioning around writing. Our conditioning is mainly about writing correctly — using proper grammar, sounding good, and nonsense like that. Our conditioning is deadening. It does not encourage us to communicate naturally, as we are, with a sense of vitality, spontaneity, and directness. Only when we are in the creative mode do we write with a sense of vitality. Our conditioning gets us to write as someone else has told us we should — it is not authentic.
Depth freewriting is a term that I have given to the spirit of freewriting where you fully embrace the flow of ideas. The mystery. The chaos. Even the self-sabotage, because unless things like self-sabotage get brought into a conscious light, they remain lurking in the background and they limit us from accessing the wells of creativity that are there for us. These obstacles prevent us from spreading fully, uniquely, as we really are, and claiming our birthright in the imagination.
Depth freewriting encourages the writer to take a standpoint that is outside of the everyday thinking mind. This might sound mysterious, but the implementation can be simple. It is about making the process as streamlined as possible, and flowing with what is there. Many of the best and most blissful experiences in life happen when there is an absence of thinking. The chattering mind goes silent when riding a rollercoaster or making love or hang-gliding or learning to ride a horse or paint a landscape.
Depth freewriting is like focused freewriting. When you freewrite, you are open to whatever happens to be there, yet you are also unmistakably focused toward something. A topic, a purpose, a feeling. Addressing a question. Exploring a given subject or character or scene. Freewriting is not aimless unless you abandon your position as the driver of the car of your own writing. You do not need to listen to the ongoing chatter of the mind to drive a car.
In essence, it involves these facets:
- Writing without stopping
- Focusing where you want to go
- Abiding in the creative
Each of these facets is rich and can be explored through many tricks and techniques. For example, abiding in the creative involves many things that you do not do: do not indulge being critical on yourself. Don’t go back and read what you have written. Don’t stop to think, because there is no reason to expect that you cannot continue to write even when you don’t know what you will say next. Ideas do not come faster to the person who insists that they arrive in a prescribed way. Ideas land more easily when you are already engaging the flow of language. This seems like a paradox to the person who insists on thinking — they think that the freewriting is bound to be messy, full of half-thoughts and false starts and diversions from the central subject. Nothing says it needs to happen that way. Even if it does, it is only a matter of coming back in later and reordering what has been written. The whole process will take less time than if you insist on stopping and thinking rather than simply continuing to write. And the more you engage the process, the better it can work for you.
It is called depth freewriting because it gets the writer to go deep with themselves. For the writer, what is important is how to be a writer, not only what gets written. It feels rich to be a writer going around the world in search of material. To be a writer who is writing in the present moment. It is not only about the past, about what has been written, as if the writer doesn’t matter and all that matters is the external product. Writing is a product, a thing that is made from your ideas and thinking, yet it can also be something that carries your signature, something which you have truly created, not merely something you have assembled by looking outside yourself and following a formula correctly.
The writing which is truly authentic is that which comes most directly from the writer.