How To F-R-E-E-Write Part 2: First Session
Seeking inspiration? Time for a F-R-E-E-Writing session. Go get yourself a pen, an A4 size (21 X 29.7cm) notebook – small notebooks can lead to small thoughts! – and a clock.
Read through the How To F-R-E-E-Write (Part One). Then sit, in stillness and quiet, with your pen and notebook before you. For one full minute, sit with this silence, letting your breathing become progressively slower and deeper. Let your thoughts rest, focussing only on your breathing, waiting to begin.
At the end of the minute, take up your pen and begin to write. Whatever form the words take, let them arrive without your direction. Do not reject or censor or affirm. No thought or image should be welcomed because it is optimistic, or encouraging or “positive” in any way and no thought or image should be rejected because it is “negative”, or points toward difficulties that may lie ahead.
Just let the words come, without judgement, and present themselves onto the page.
Please do not proceed until you have written three pages. Do not content yourself with thinking about what you would write or with telling yourself that you will do it later.
Do not read on until you have done three pages of F-R-E-E-Writing
That’s it. You’ve done your first FREE-Writing session. How did it feel? Were you surprised by anything that emerged? Did it feel strange?
Take a few moments to record your responses. Did you manage to burn through to first thoughts, to where the mind feels and sees, rather than thinks? Perhaps not. Often it takes a few sessions before we feel fully comfortable with the method and some of us (especially those who had ‘good’ English teachers in school) may find it difficult to let go on the page. We learned too well how to censor ourselves, how to tidy things up so they were nice and neat — and unoriginal.
Do not judge your writing as good or bad. In F-R-E-E-Writing terms, writing that is “good” is simply writing that is done.
Often we write what feels like garbage for days and, then, like a flower from compost, something that seems significant emerges. But we don’t work for that. We work only to do it.
Because when we read back, we often find that what we thought was significant was banal… while we sailed past what now seems like a true revelation.
In the end, we know that the regular practice (in the sense that Buddhists or yoga practitioners speak of practice) is the only thing that counts.
So if you are in any way unhappy with what you produced today, in your first F-R-E-E-Writing session, forget it. And if you are really happy with it, forget it too. It doesn’t matter.
What matters is that you did it.
And that you will F-R-E-E-Write again tomorrow.
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