Whether you’re working on a book or just beginning to find your voice as a writer, a regular freewriting practice — particularly in a supportive group — can help you open the creative channels and access deeper, more soulful expression. Freewriting is never about critique or evaluation — rather, it is a practice: We do timed writings that begin with evocative prompts, and alternate these with reading our work aloud (even if we are writing alone, it is a good idea to read aloud to ourselves). We aren’t trying to produce finished pieces, but rather, to create fertile ground for seeding further work, and in Writing from the Soul Circles, we also aim to connect deeply and support each other as evolving souls who happen to use writing as our practice.
In our writing practice, we follow these seven principles for freewriting. They are useful whenever you want to generate work, which is always the first step:
1- Don’t think. Just write. Keep the pen or keyboard moving.
2- Be sloppy and break all of the rules you learned in high school English class.
3- Don’t listen to your inner editor and critic.
4- At any time in the timed writing, you can change the prompt to: “What I really want to write about is….”
5- When you’re done writing, read it aloud. Go slow and listen closely to yourself.
6- As you listen (to yourself or another), notice where the energy is, what moves you, what phrases or images stay with you.
7- Avoid evaluative comments — positive or negative — whether to another or to yourself. (It can be powerful to notice just how often your first thought about writing is a judgment. This is how we are conditioned.)
Why no positive feedback? If someone says, “That was amazing! I loved it!” It might feel good in the moment, but it’s a drug. If no one says that about your next piece, you’ll start to wonder why. To create the conditions for our deeper self to expose itself in our writing, we need to cultivate an extreme indifference to praise and blame, and to do that we have to first give up the habit of relying on praise for validation. Being in an atmosphere of non-evaluation can be such a relief — it’s easier to relax and open.
The more you trust the process, the less your conscious mind will interfere and you will begin to access work from another region of your mind and heart. It is not unusual for people to be completely surprised by what they have written, for a story to pop out of nowhere, or a poem, or the answer to a dilemma. You might even get the first sentence of your memoir in the middle of the fourth paragraph of a timed writing on a totally different subject.
There are many ways to use these writings, but the most important use of all is to let go of control, open the channels and let come whatever wants to come so you can see how endless a supply of material you have, and how the gems can be mixed in with the junk. (You’ll know the gems when you see them — you can pluck them out later.) Writing doesn’t have to be so precious and protected and laborious once you learn to dip into this well and trust what comes out. Then the whole writing process is transformed into deep play — as well as great practice in quieting the judgmental mind.
NEED SUPPORT TO GET YOU STARTED?
Start your own freewriting circle —
even with just one other person. It’s easy with the free Writing from the Soul Facilitator’s Kit.