November 28, 2012

No Artifice, Part Three

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, music and writing tagged , , at 3:14 pm by Rebecca Hein

As noted, simple work frees the brain so it doesn’t interfere with the spontaneity of a good idea. In music we play easy pieces. What’s the equivalent in writing?

How about telling your own story in the first person? Never mind whether or not you think it will interest others. The point is to give yourself a no-effort writing exercise to find out what happens when the words are flowing.

November 14, 2012

No Artifice, Part Two

Posted in flow in writing, music and writing tagged , at 2:42 pm by Rebecca Hein

Our best writing often emerges when we aren’t even trying. Ideas spin out of us with no effort, and our sentences disentangle themselves as they go.

How can we create these ideal conditions? In cello playing I’ve learned that an essential component is to play easy pieces. When I’m floating through a piece that I can play without thinking, my mind relaxes, and with this release of control, I enter that zone where my work travels on its own momentum and therefore goes best.

May 2, 2012

Total Absorption

Posted in Creativity, Flow, flow in writing, freewriting, Peak Experiences, writing techniques tagged , , , , at 2:01 pm by Rebecca Hein

When technique and tools disappear, leaving only our work in full flow, our consciousness is altered and we carry the wonder of that experience for days. The problem is that in wishing for a recurrence, we’ll skew it just by trying for it.

If instead we cultivate a state of attentive waiting, we’ll predispose ourselves to more such moments, yet without forcing. In music, attentive waiting can occur anytime you’re playing, and when you let go of everything except that alert, open state of mind.

In writing, especially freewriting, the same applies. Forget trying to write a story, scene, or essay. Forget not trying to write it. Start writing and see what happens, and don’t be surprised when you find that you’ve forgotten everything but the energy of the moment.

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.

March 21, 2012

Freewriting, Part Two: Unrestricted Words

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, freewriting, Practice Writing, Warm-Up, writing techniques tagged , , , , , , , , at 3:06 pm by Rebecca Hein

In journal-writing, where our only goal is to capture our thoughts and feelings, we still expect our observations to make some sense. Therefore, we try to steer our writing in a certain direction.

Freewriting is different. It steers us, and being propelled forward by the raw energy of undirected ideas is a good antidote to the strictures of self-expression, even the mild limits of a journal entry.

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