Have you ever taken a pen to paper and turned off your inner gatekeeper, just to see what came out?
Stream-of-consciousness writing is a form of artistic expression that can also be beneficial in developing self-awareness. It involves writing with the closest connection possible between mind and pen. The idea is just to let the words ‘flow’ out of you uncensored, without any forethought to structure, grammar, style, or even subject.
The idea is somewhat strange – how can you possibly write without thinking about what you’re going to write? It may take some time to ‘ease in’ to a stream-of-consciousness exercise, but once you get flowing, it becomes easier and easier to put our thoughts to paper. After all, our thoughts take a stream-of-consciousness form, necessarily. Putting thoughts into words adds one extra step. It helps, of course, not to worry about messy writing, because the faster you can write, the more accurately you can get your thoughts out as they occur.
When you create a stream-of-consciousness writing piece, you can learn a lot of things about yourself. Because you don’t censor your writing, things may come out that you were unaware were a part of your thoughts. You can learn a great deal about thought processes that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Stream-of-consciousness writing can be a great way to alleviate frustration and anxiety, as well.
A great place to start with stream-of-consciousness writing is just describing your surroundings as you think about them. Alternatively, thinking of a specific image (for instance, a bright light or a rainstorm) and describing your thoughts about the image is a great jumping off point as well.
Try some stream-of-consciousness writing and share it with us! You can submit (anonymously, if you wish) a piece that we can put on our blog. Just email email@example.com to submit your piece. Happy/free writing!