Today I just needed to write something. It won’t be a long piece because I am half-brain dead, it seems, after nearly ten hours at college! But it feels like it has been too long since I blogged; I have been building up so much that I want to reflect upon, to react to, to explore. I suppose it is an occupational hazard of filling one’s brain all day with other people’s thoughts, but I need to start expressing some of it in order to make sense of it!
In fact, this is not the first writing I have done this week. I’ve engaged in a bit of what, I am authoritatively informed, is called freewriting. I got the idea from a book, of course. (Where else?!)
The aim of freewriting is to write.
No, really. That’s it! Simple or what? You write, in sentences, material which is never intended for someone else to read. Material which is initially a response to a question of your choice but which can metamorphose freely into anything you like.
It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? I know what you are thinking. Mostly because I thought the same thing.
How can writing drivel be remotely useful in any sense whatsoever?
But it is. Partly because it is cathartic after stuffing oneself full of other people’s thinking to write some of that out of one’s brain and on to the paper! But also, I think, because it establishes the writing flow which I described in a recent post. And when the flow is established, the subconscious (or something – one thing I am not is a scientist!) can express those ideas which are far below conscious thought, ideas which would never normally make it past the censoring, second-guessing-myself, cavilling (fun word! :)) mental faculty which calls itself the objective internal critic.
I’ve had some good results from freewriting this week as it happens. I’ve clarified some of my research thinking and I’ve also come up with some new thoughts.
Well, I thought they were new thoughts but, on reflection, they had probably been lurking around in my subconscious for a while, just waiting for an invitation to appear.
It does worry me a little to wonder whether those thoughts might ever have surfaced had they not been drawn upwards by the process of freewriting, of course. But at least I now know the power of writing drivel! And, crazy as it sounds, I invite you to join me. Who knows what you will discover?