April 25, 2012

Disappearing Cello, Disappearing Words

Posted in Creativity, Peak Experiences tagged , , at 4:28 pm by Rebecca Hein

If I can forget everything but the music I’m playing, including the technique needed to play it, I can get my writing to behave the same way. In music, when I play for fun, not trying to perform brilliantly and not trying to play difficult pieces, I’m most likely to create the magic I want.

Writing obeys the same rules. It’s not in struggling to elevate our ability that we relax and enjoy our words the most. Rather, the Muse sneaks up and anoints us in those simple, stress-free moments where we’re not trying to accomplish anything in particular.

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April 18, 2012

The Mysterious Disappearance of My Cello

Posted in Creativity, Flow, Peak Experiences tagged , , , , at 4:19 am by Rebecca Hein

Today I was halfway through an excellent cello practice session when I realized I was unconscious of my cello. Melting out of my hands, it had left just me and the music.

Such moments are sublime, and lately I can nearly count on them. Of course I want the same for my writing, and it’s reasonable to suppose that similar principles will lead me in the right direction.

April 11, 2012

Freewriting, Part Five: Don’t Underrate It

Posted in flow in writing, freewriting tagged at 4:16 am by Rebecca Hein

While your freewriting is producing nothing but near-gibberish, causing you to wonder why you’re doing it, consider this: how often do you get perfect flow in a writing session? Perfect flow in freewriting is like a perfect warmup in music.

Before you know it, you’re launched and have been drawn into your sound. Playing a few easy notes or simple pieces, you become absorbed in the sensations of playing, and though these easy notes and pieces will never be heard in performance, they relax you and help you play your best.

Freewriting is the same. Launch it and keep going, forgetting about whether or not it will be readable. Then you’ll find that next time you try to write a story, essay, or poem, it will be much easier.

April 4, 2012

Freewriting, Part Four: Long-Term Benefits

Posted in freewriting tagged at 5:15 pm by Rebecca Hein

Have you been freewriting for years and years? Sometimes writers give up on it because what they freewrite is dull and uninspired. Surely, they conclude, a real writing session would be more productive.

Maybe, maybe not. If we emerge from a real writing session with the first draft or revision of a story, chapter, or essay, this is obviously productive.

But what if we could get that same piece of writing in less than half the time and requiring fewer revisions? This is the long-term effect of freewriting. It makes us so proficient with words that matching those words with ideas becomes as natural as writing whatever comes into our heads.