Find Your Focus

Write it, Release it

Stream of conscious writing is a creative break I like to employ daily, but especially anytime I am frustrated or feeling blocked. It is much easier to find your focused groove once you purge the things that are distracting you. It only takes ten minutes, you need very little supplies and you discover things that you haven’t had the chance to process yet. Similar to the ‘Don’t Look Doodle‘, once you are able to freely express, you’ve made room for other ideas, innovations and creations to come out.

What You Need

  • Lined paper (5 or more pieces)
  • A pen that feels really great to write with. Notice I didn’t say ‘pencil’ (no erasing!)
  • A timer (optional)
  • A spot where you wont be interrupted

The Rules:

  1. No sharing it with others. It is for your eyes only. I let my family members know which notebook I am journaling in and I ask that they respect my privacy and keep their mitts off of it. In so many words.
  2. No judgement is allowed. Though you may need a filter for your mouth or writing under other circumstances, this is when you are allowed to let out your crazy for a walk around your paper. Off leash. And you don’t have to pick up after it, either.

Playdate

Set the timer for 10 minutes. Put your pen on the paper and write whatever pops into your head. No erasing, no editing. You are tapping into your inner dialogue. You are free-writing.

That’s it.

No stopping to think- just let it flow. If you get stuck you can always write the same word over and over. Try not to judge anything that is being put on the paper. Like brainstorming, there is no critiquing. Visualize opening a channel from your mind and heart to your paper, with your hand and the pen being the ‘printer’.

When your time is up, lift up your pen and stop. Once you’ve let it all out, take a moment to honor what you’ve just done, no matter what emerged onto the paper.

I like to leave it for a day or two and let my ink soak into the paper. In other words, I try not to look at it again for awhile so that I don’t re-live what I just blurped up on my paper. You may like to take a peek at what you’ve written for entertainment after some time has passed, but don’t forget about the ‘no judging’ rule.

The point is not to make anything coherent or accurate- it is to give your inner blab a voice and access the deep parts of yourself that you may be inadvertently ignoring by working at other tasks. For instance, one of my sessions may go a little something like this:

‘So spontaneous, where is that? And when? The tickle marches on and I keep it here. And kick to the drum, got what we wanted and now its time for adding the space back in. I haven’t even scared anyone in a long time. What time is my dentist appointment today? Gotta get that figured out…’

And so on.

It is important to get it all out there. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron makes writing like this a daily ritual each morning. For 12 weeks, or even longer.

Another Take

If you are still apprehensive about or challenged by free writing, another approach it is to write about a certain topic. It is much easier to tap into your own inner dialogue when you don’t pick a topic, but sometimes a topic helps you get started. Here are a list of topics to choose from:

  • Your Grandpa
  • The Twin Towers
  • Your first date
  • Your favorite food
  • Donald Trump

Noticed these topics are fairly emotionally-charged. We want that!

Find Your Focus

The Recap

  1. Don’t skimp on the 10 minutes– give yourself time for this one.
  2. No matter how weird or lame, honor what emerges in this process. You don’t get worked up about the strange things you throw out in your trash, do you? This purging is comparable.
  3. If you have a hard time getting started, pick an emotionally-charged topic and run with it.

The Shoppe