THE SCIENCE OF FREEWRITING
A calm morning. Steam from a cup of coffee wisps towards the window, where light breaks through on the pages of a notebook. Someone sits at the desk, in a wooden chair, holding a pen that’s left ink on the inside of their hand. The full range of thoughts they can be aware of form as invisible symbols in their mind, translated quickly to paper, as the morning dew, under night’s shroud, was translated to the grass.
At one spot, at one point in time, they write. They write those things that would never exist if not written. In this way, they do more than write: they create. The anti-matter of thought is made real, is made physical, by the writer. What no one knew is only known by what is exposed to the world. What is freewriting? It is the essential tool of the creative world to show everyone something they didn’t see before.
Google estimates that as of August 2010, there were 129,864,880 books in existence. One can only guess how many writers turned out to write them. It shows no shortage of creativity to yield this many books that have been deemed worthy of publishing, or rather, worthy of reading (by the taste of those that make such decisions). In 2010, more than 300,000 books were published in the United States alone. This takes creativity, time, and confidence. The confidence that ideas are powerful and, simply put, worth it.
Most writers feel a self-conscious betrayal of themselves when they write. The muse that visits most can be stymied by a fear of failure, anxiety, or self-criticism. To get past this, the blocks in the mind must be shut off. Freewriting allows writers to write without the worry of external stimuli. A visual artist might sketch for weeks before formulating a final concept onto canvas, or sculpting an idea into something real. In the same way, freewriting is the practice for writers to develop consistency and ideas without their own backlash.
William James, an American psychologist and philosopher, was the first man to offer a psychology course in the United States. He wanted to explain the phenomenon of a stream of thoughts without introspection:
“The attempt at introspective analysis in these cases is in fact like seizing a spinning top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks.”
In this way, freewriting is a powerful tool. It allows us to capture those things that we never would. Most of us know the feeling of an idea that comes to us at a bad time. You might be driving or at the dinner table. You look for a pen to write it down and when you find one, it’s too late. Losing an idea is harsh when you believed it was something good. If you can flush the mind of ideas every morning, you may capture those thoughts earlier than expected. Freewriting is the net, the thoughts are prize fish. If you drop the net every day, without adhering to criticism, those fish are bound to show up. Even the fisherman who throws his net in the wrong location day after day will eventually catch a fish.
The phrase “stream of consciousness” is credited to early Buddhist scripture where it was developed into theory. Hammalawa Saddhatissa Maha Thera, a prominent Buddhist monk during the 20th century, stated:
“There is no ‘self’ that stands at the mentality to which characteristics and events accrue and from which they fall away, leaving it intact at death. The stream of consciousness, flowing through many lives, is as changing as a stream of water.”
When a writer releases the gatekeeper in their head to bring forth uninhibited thought, they freewrite. The full range of thoughts they can be aware of form as invisible symbols in their mind. At its core, freewriting is the flowing of thoughts, a stream of consciousness, collected by the writer without concern, then evaluated later for value. At its core, for the unique and progressive story, freewriting is essential to discovery. But what is essential to freewriting, is the passion to not care about what you write so that you’ll write something worth your passion.
Yes, a lot of freewriting is probably worthless. But the act itself is far from it. Like a man throwing stones into a pool, it may seem worthless, but years later, the man has built a dam (and a strong throwing arm). Freewriting isn’t searching for results. Freewriting is searching for what’s already there. Often, it just takes time to find it.
I began to place my own freewriting on here, but realized that this shouldn’t be the case. Even if I convince myself that I am writing with no limits, the stream of consciousness knows that what is written will be posted for all to see. This is a hard counter to the basis of freewriting. As such, my freewrites will no longer be posted. However, I will keep good content coming forward in the form of articles and photographs of interest to the public, along with participating in private freewriting daily. I encourage everyone to do the same, no matter your career or ambitions. I’m certain a good businessman can focus better with a purge of the mind every morning.
Thank you everyone for the likes and follows!
Hope everyone is off to a wonderful beginning of the year. I will close with one of my favorite quotes by Sidney Sheldon:
“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”