Free Writing: Stream of Consciousness Journal Writing
& Why We Should All Be Practicing It
What is Free Writing?
I actually had never heard about Free Writing until I took a College course during my sophomore year (a Poetry class) where we were made to Free Write almost every morning.
I have to admit, I was confused about its purpose at first - But the more I did it and the more I continued practicing Free Writing for the next several years, I began to notice the huge importance of Free Writing and why we should all be learning about it sooner in our lives.
Free Writing is a writing technique also known as Stream of Consciousness: It is when you write without forethought and filter. You write the first thing that comes to mind and you keep going and going until you have a slew of mumbo jumbo, words, and ideas thrown onto a page. You write all your thoughts and feelings down in brutal honesty, and without the time to look back and cringe.
In Free Writing, you simply write your heart out for the sole purpose of writing.
After taking that Poetry class, I went and bought journal after journal so that I could solely dedicate myself to Free Writing in them - And the more I practiced, the more I grew to love it all the more.
However, Free Writing also began changing the course of my life in more ways than I could have expected. I was doing it because I loved it, but I soon realized that there were more benefits to the practice than what I could have ever expected..
That is why, I wante to share with others my own experience with Free Writing (Stream of Consciousness Writing) and how it drastically changed my life for the better.
I hope you enjoy!
** Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links: This means at no extra cost to you, I may get a small commission if you decide to purchase something from a link I provide you. It is how I am able to make some income to run this blog, though even you just being here, reading my blog, is enough and I truly appreciate each and every one of my readers no matter what!
5 Reasons To Start Free Writing Now
1. To Better Understand Yourself
You'd be surprised if you set aside just a little bit of time each day to simply think and write without distraction, what sort of writing will come out of it.
Think about life, the little joys each day, what you want for the future. Free Writing is, in itself, very similar to meditating I find.
While practicing Free Writing, you will see the bareness (and even the unsightliness) of your thoughts and feelings on paper, and you will learn to accept it, and gradually learn to love it for everything that is part of yourself.
And isn't this a basic, simple need every human being should learn to hone throughout their lifetime, at the very least?
2. To Get Better At Writing in General
I was an atrocious writer before I started Free Writing, but the change I saw afterwards was a complete 360!
Some of you may be wondering how one can get better at writing when all they write are run-on ideas and scatter-brained thoughts on paper that have no sense nor meaning half the time.
I wondered the same... but from personal experience, I believe that in order to get better at writing, it doesn't necessarily entail that one must write perfection - and only perfection.
Like all forms of art, 90% of what we create isn't going to be "very good" at the beginning. And Free Writing is just the same.
However: Writing isn't all about what is on paper.
Writing, from the very beginning starts from what is in your mind. And practicing the mind to write in such a fashion is going to be what makes your writing better: The finished result is simply the leftover remnants of what your mind has gone through to get there.
3. To Find Your Unique Writing Voice/Style
This point is very much related to getting better at writing, but I decided to make this a separate point to be geared more towards specifically writers.
I have to admit, when I learned writing in grade school, I was taught the very backbone to writing: To write in complete sentences all the time, to have structure in paragraphs, write the main idea then the details, never make grammar mistakes, and to plan plan plan.
You know, the writing that gets you through school.
However, I later came to realize that I wasn't learning the right way of writing for me; And thus, I was writing at a level much worse than everyone else (And I was so embarrassed about that for the longest time). And I had no confidence in writing for much of my life.
However, when you Free Write, you throw all of those Rules of Writing out the window.
The way of thinking I adopted while I was Free Writing eventually began to make it's way into all forms of my writing: And I started to write even my papers as if I was Free Writing (With revisions afterwards of-course). I didn't know at first if this sort of writing would be acceptable for college courses, but I was astounded by the feedback I received from professors.
They loved my writing: They saw my writing as easy to read and almost conversational in regards, but it held so much depth, as if a simple paper became prose itself.
Free Writing has given me the confidence to write simply as how I am.
I don't need to look up long, complicated words in the Thesaurus anymore to make up for my lack of vocabulary. I don't need to explain myself all the time - Because sometimes, you just got to let the audience think for themselves, eh? ;).
I can be comfortable writing in my own voice and stop chasing the sort of "perfection" that many people think writing should be.
4. Write For Your Mental Health
As I mentioned before, Free Writing can be a lot like meditating.
For 10 years of my life, I suffered from Social Anxiety Disorder. From my standpoint, keeping a journal and Free Writing helped me better understand my own Mental Illness and give myself goals and a safe place where I could analyze my thoughts and address them accordingly.
Having harmful thoughts written down (versus just floating around in your head) is going to give more of a sense of urgency: So that you can physically see on paper how plainly your mindset is endangering yourself... so that you could finally identify the issue and address it, instead of ignoring it as the days go by.
And letting the problem just fades into normalcy.
5. Find Inspiration
If you are a creator by nature, Free Writing is an amazing way to get inspiration.
I self-published my own Poetry book called "Between Our Eyes That Fall" (Available on Amazon) and there are several poems in there that were actually inspired from my Free Writing entries. If I had never sat down to write those entries (Or never even started Free Writing to begin with) I would never have written those poems.
If you are a writer or creator of any sorts, and are looking for those little bits of inspiration, look back on all your Free Writing sessions that you will have done and will find treasures in your ideas.
** Plus, Free Writing help you get past any issues with Creative or Writer's Block more quickly. As soon as you start moving the rocks blocking the stream, it all just comes flowing out.
Quick Tips for When You Start Free Writing
- When you first start, it's okay to sit down and just write: "I don't know what to write about... I still am not sure what to write about.." I think most of us Free Writers have done that several times before! It's completely normal.
- Don't look back when you write: Write to write your thoughts and feelings to completion (Until you cannot get any more out of you in that sitting)
- Here are some quick ideas to get you started:
- Write about anything (big or small) that happened that day
- What it is like outdoors
- About the things you hold most important in your life
- Don't worry about how elementary or meaningless your writing may be: That is not what is important!
- The act of writing & actively thinking without caution and filter is what is most important!
- Free Write when you feel like it: Keep your journal with you everywhere you go, and when inspiration hits you, Free Write your heart out.
- Don't be too concerned about having a neat journal that is organized: It may constrain your writing if you do.
- I write on lined paper, but that's just about as "organized" as it gets. I don't mind if I go completely off the line or into margin space. I write all over the page - freely - and the words literally run from edge to edge on every sheet of paper. It looks a little crazy.
Free Writing is a beautiful experience: And the more you learn to overcome the initial "weirdness" of Free Writing, the more you will grow to love it so that one day, it will simply just become another part of your lifestyle.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, and I'm sorry if it got confusing at times: The act of Free Writing is simple, but when it got down to writing about it, it just became so complicated to explain with words.
I hope you were able to understand some of what I was trying to relay, and I hope this inspires you to try out some Free Writing yourself!
Thank you as always for coming by my lovely readers,
Feel free to comment down below or share this blog post if you found it helpful!
Until next time then! xx