Automatic writing is the process of allowing your thoughts and feelings to flow out onto the page with as little conscious thought, and maybe most importantly, as little judgement, as possible. It’s a really useful process for discovering deeper thoughts and feelings, and trying to answer some of the big questions in life, like what’s my purpose? why do I care so much about what others think? what’s truly important to me?
A while ago I talked about morning pages, where you write three pages first thing in the morning every day to try to clear your mind before the day starts. Recently I’ve been experimenting with different times of day, locations and ways to write truly automatically. It’s not always easy when your thinking, logical mind is desperate to take over!
I thought I’d share some ideas of methods that might make automatic writing easier, though of course the process is different for everyone, and I guess sometimes it might just be writing more frequently whenever and wherever that finally helps to reach deeper emotions.
1. Time of day
I’ve found that, for me, writing in the evening seems to be more effective than writing first thing in the morning. From the moment I wake up I already find myself thinking pretty logically, so I can much more easily get to my emotions in the evenings.
2. Sleep on it
Reading or writing something you want to think/write automatically about just before you go to sleep can give your subconscious time to think it over in your sleep. This can be combined with then writing morning pages, though I sometimes think of things in the night and scribble them down in a notebook on my bedside table.
3. The great outdoors
Writing outdoors, in open space, maybe out in the countryside, sometimes helps me.
4. All the time in the world
Writing with hours of free time ahead of you can help to free your mind from thinking about time constraints to writing.
5. Provoke your emotions
I find that writing in answer to provocative prompts helps me to get to deeper feeling and emotions. Pose yourself controversial, biased or critical questions to bring your true feelings out.
6. Make use of existing emotions
I only recently realised how freely and automatically I can write when at work -I think the boredom and frustration leads to letting other thoughts and emotions out.
I’ve also tried writing with music on, it probably depends on what you’re listening to, but music can bring up strong feelings.
Give automatic writing a try – just keep writing, whatever rubbish you feel you’re scribbling on the page, write fast and with as little thought as possible. You can extract the deeper meaning and logic from your ramblings later.
Remember, it’s not about judgement, it’s about getting to your truth, not what you think sounds right or normal or good, but what’s real for you. I think it’s working for me.