How to Write Automatically

Lately I have been creatively typing more off the top of my head. It is a process known as automatic writing. The idea is that you write as fast as you can with as little intervening thought as possible. The goal is to not stop writing. The excellence here is in the ability to continue to push onward past the initial inertia towards making something. I challenge any writers out there to give it a go, right now even.

Take a blank, full screen word document (for minimal distraction), 15 minutes, and let go onto the page. One can use this method to mind dump (just releasing the contents from the top of the brain), to practice writing in general, or to flesh out a creative mood. Automatic writing, painting, speech, language, dance; all are possible. These practices can alter one’s relationship to the art or skill involved. They flirt with a phenomenon known as the flow state

By detaching a rational limiter to your output, you allow something else to take control and push the content into being. This “something” else is most likely your intuition or creative subconscious. Call it whatever you like, it truly works. I often feel as if I am engaging with a rapid, autonomous stream of data within my brain when I do this. It is as if my keystrokes were guided by swift, directional nudges from the more conscious elements in my mind.

Did I mention automatic writing can do wonders for writer’s block? It can be perfect for getting unstuck. Usually it can take many days to wait for a creative muse to visit. In my experience, once one delves into the process of just writing, many of the perceived barriers toward the enterprise begin to fall away. The only thing stopping you from writing at all are your mental constructs about writing. This includes what to write, how to write, how long to write, etc. There is little to no substance behind many of these ideas and vague thought forms kicking around in your head. The true test now is to bind them onto the page. Drop the chains of mental infrastructure and release that dammed river of art inside of you!

Image Credit: Chitra Ganesh, brooklynmuseum.org

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