I don’t know who first coined the phrase free-writing. I do know that author Natalie Goldberg talks about it in her chapter, FIRST THOUGHTS, in her book WRITING DOWN THE BONES. And I also know that author Julia Cameron discourses on it in her famed book, THE ARTIST’S WAY. She calls this type of writing MORNING PAGES. Julia advocates for thirty minutes or three pages daily as I recall. Believe me, it goes quickly.
Basically, it is a way to clear the writing channels to make yourself available to what wants to be said. There are times I want to write and yet I feel blocked by something. I can’t name it, but it’s in the way of my writing. Free-writing is a sort of “brain-dump” on the page. The hand keeps on moving, there is no particular goal or thought process behind it. It is an emptying out. No editing–yay! No judging–double yay! No crafting or having to go anywhere in particular with it. Consider it a verbal cleanse.
It is also a way to access some juicy material. You never know what is going to come through you and what might become a future writing prompt for you. It is, for me, a way of daily journaling.
Below is an example of my MORNING PAGES.
Over the past two days, I’ve had two construction men working on my tiny cottage. There were glitches, several, along the way. Lifting the threadbare carpet, they exposed a dry rot floor in the back room. I was having a sliding glass door installed back there. They had ordered and delivered the wrong-sized sliding glass door (it took six weeks to get this door). Then a portion of the door was mismatched…they had the correct match at the nearby shop. Rain on the second day of installation and they weren’t going to work…it was a light rain. I lied, saying I had company coming in the hopes that they’d take down the plywood they’d used to seal up the back room overnight. Please put the door in today, I nearly pleaded. Otherwise, because of their overbooked schedule they wouldn’t return for another week! I had already spent one night away from home as I couldn’t cope with the chaos they left behind.
They installed the sliding glass door in a light rain. Phew…that made it more tolerable until they could get to the next leg of this unsteady journey. Home is the center for me, internal and external. It is of great importance to me to have this home functional and orderly and fully occupied by me. To have some flow and beauty. I am disoriented by their large presences and for me, discordant energies. I am so grateful that they worked yesterday in the light drizzle and at least got to this level though not complete.
So far, things that I’ve learned from this process.
- Perhaps it isn’t good to begin something with Mercury in retrograde.
- When I order something, write down what I want and keep a copy for myself and hand them a copy to attach to their copy of the order. Repeat what I want, have them repeat it back to me. Have them explain the order form and the meaning of the numbers that they’ve scribbled down on the order.
- Realize how I’m affected when I have someone working in my house.
Anyway, that’s a sample of my morning pages. A bit of a rant and no need for continuity. That out of my system, I’ve cleared the way for what I want to do next whether it is writing or some other task.
Give the free-writing a try. Follow Natalie Goldberg’s or Julia Cameron’s suggestions. Or just begin–write for however long without a pause and without judgment. Notice how you feel afterwards. Reread what you wrote. Is there anything in there that might be a juicy topic for you to explore more deeply?
Have a lovely day.