Week 9: Free writing
To be taken as needed with a generous dose of curiosity!
This experiment encouraged us to spend 10 minutes each morning writing whatever comes into our mind. I liked the idea of encouraging this freedom of thought and expression. I have journaled on and off since being a teenager, but often I lost a lot of self-honesty as I structured my feelings into neat paragraphs, often writing down what I had thought about obsessively. In these cases, writing became a way of reiterating to myself the feelings and frustrations of which I was already aware. They didn't help move me on, rather they kept me stuck!
Therefore, for this experiment I focused on the 'free' aspect. For the first two days of the experiment I wrote late afternoon. Often my writing was fragmented, staccato in style as I noted what came into my head and wrote it down. There was something meditation-like in this. I didn't angst or try to second guess what was coming into my mind: I just noted it down. This was fun. I felt very 'present' and curious to see what I had written. It felt intuitive which I enjoyed. The second afternoon was an hour after returning from work and this was a particularly useful exercise. My head was buzzing. A teacher, I had had very little time to review what had happened during the day. As a teacher of English my head was literally full of words, experiences, images. Often I find the transition from work to home tricky and stressful. This really did help de-stress. By getting these thoughts down I felt calmer and more able to enjoy the present - being at home, checking with family, planning the evening. Whereas the first piece I produced had been creative curiosity, this was more cathartic.
For the next two days I wrote early in the morning. On the first morning my head was full of an anxiety dream that I remembered vividly, so it was useful to note down feelings and review reasons for it. I didn't linger on it - it was down, reflected on, I moved forward. The next morning allowed me to think through the day ahead and put my thoughts into order. I also used it as a way to set my intentions for the day. I realised that this was less of a free writing exercise and more of a plan!
Would I do this every day? No. I have an intuitive feeling my thoughts would get somewhat repetitive. I have realised though, that it is a useful tool for de-stressing, reflecting on present experiences, making sense of thoughts. As such, I would 'prescribe' it for myself as needed. I may even experiment with picking a subject and then letting my mind wander, noting down the paths it follows. I definitely think this may help in the more creative aspects of my life and encourage ways out of any creative 'rut'. Anything that taps into creativity is always a hit for me! This is one of many tools, many of which have come to light through the Wake-Up! experiments. Therefore, we pick and choose what we feel is most useful at the time and pick from the tool-box accordingly.