Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Saturday Soirée - Writing with the flow

Many writers will advise that when you sit to write, especially in your journal or when you feel stuck, you should relax and go with the flow. It is a process I continue to use when I feel a block coming on or procrastination calls. But it is not just a process for dealing with writing problems. You can use it as a way to warm up and jumpstart your writing, spice up a boring journaling session or to clear mental and emotional cobwebs.

Direct the flow and let it go.

One way to look at writing with the flow is to direct the flow of thought in a particular direction. Release control and let the writing happen naturally.

Let’s say for instance, that as you sit for your writing session, you decide to write about your day at work. Don’t feel you have to record every thought and action. That is too much control. Neither force yourself to begin with the moment you awake in the morning or the exact time you walked through the door of your office building. Write the first thought that enters your mind, whatever it is. It might even be the end of the day when you leave the office and get on the bus, in your car or on the train.

Once the give your mind its instructions, and if you leave it alone, the gates will open and the memories will rise to the surface. As the words come, let them flow unabated and uncensored.

You can also direct the flow with respect to deep emotional issues. Name the issue, the person, the feelings, the problems etc. Then wait with pen in had or fingers poised over the keyboard for the words to spill forth.

Follow the unexpected

Writing with the flow can also take you along the path of an unforeseen journey into emotions that you’d rather ignore or forget.

You sit to write and think you know exactly where you’re going only to realize that your mind is being manipulated and directed towards different thoughts, different and maybe even painful memories. Raw emotions flood your heart. You push them aside at first and think you’re winning but they won’t go away.

Surrender to them. It is your life. They are your experiences, your thoughts, your feelings and they are valid. They are worthy to be explored and understood. Writing about them can take you to a place of understanding and resolution.

You may not be confident or brave enough to write about them initially. Actually you may feel overwhelmed. Give yourself a few minutes, give your feelings a little space and eventually they will begin to bubble. And when they do, catch each bubble, wrap it in words and write it down.

Start with one word at a time if necessary. Eventually you will sense the flow coming and there will be no holding back.

Life is complex, and writing has proven to be therapeutic no matter what we might be battling. Whether you determine the direction or let your heart lead you, be prepared to follow and write with the flow.


Magnolia said...

I love this process and I'm just learning how to do this.

I have launched a new blog that I am practicing this with. I call it The Magnolia Monologues. It is my place to let it all hang out and not censor or monitor a thing.

It is liberating.

It's not so easy for me on my other two blogs as they have a target audience and I feel they are not really interested in my stream of consciousness. :)

But, this has become a great way for me to break through the cob webs!

Cheryl Wright said...

Hi there Magnolia,

I am so happy to hear that you have begun blogging again, even if for your own benefit. I enjoyed your posts at Magnolia Diaries and I have no doubt that I would also enjoy your outpourings at Magnolia Monologues, if you ever decide to publish it.

Meanwhile continue to savor the liberating feeling of writing in the flow and all the its benefits.

Love always

Magnolia said...

Thanks Cheryl,

Magnolia Diaries is running again. I've begun a series on perimenopause that will become a pillar series.

The Monologues is kind of my mental dumping ground.

Perhaps I will publish it one day, but for now I'm enjoying the "no pressure zone" that I've created for myself

It's incredibly personal and informal, and I realize that people may accidently stumble upon it sooner or later, but for now, I'm enjoying a level of anonymity.

But, I think the free writing excercises are excellent.

I've found them rather silly at times as my ADHD mind can run all over the place like a wild dog sometimes, but, I see the benefit of the practice.

Cheryl Wright said...

Yes freewriting can make you feel like an idiot writing jumbled crap. But if you open your heart and give the process time, it will certainly blossom into a very rewarding, therapeutic, enjoyable and liberating experience, as you are already discovering.

Just keep going with it Mags. Go with the flow and write your heart out.


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