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.

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 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.

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.

February 22, 2012

When Your Writing Won’t Behave, Part Two: The Primal Urge

Posted in Flow, flow in writing, organizing your writing tagged , , , , at 6:54 pm by Rebecca Hein

Behind most writing projects, both fiction and nonfiction, lies the primal urge, “I need to tell you this.” It’s irresistible, and probably makes our job easier in the long run because it motivates us. Yet problems of flow and organization arise from multiple urges, like the aftershocks of an earthquake: “I need to tell you this…and this, and this, and this.” Soon your whole narrative is in a tangle, and you can’t see what to leave in and what to take out.

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