Automatic writing for me is to take the burden off of yourself. It is to release something that can fend better on a page. It is to expand. It is to sculpt a form from the formless. It’s one way to practice freedom in a world that requires consistant constraint. Sometimes your inner world needs to become the outer, sometimes it can help you to see life with more clarity as a whole. Inside + Out.
I’ve heard time and time again how we should do daily automatic writing, right? Do it when you wake up, do it before you go to sleep, just let your hand flow freely on paper! Just do it! But to me that never wired, it felt flaccid and had no potential pushing behind it to give it a meaningful spark. I would occasionally try and it could also occasionally give, but overall did not clear my psyche, and did not release any catharsis.
Sometimes though, when I’ve felt particularly alone, and had not one soul to reach out to for comfort, I had to learn how to comfort myself. This is not yet where I discovered automatic writing but rather a fruitful precursor. I started to film myself just rambling on, talking about how I felt, talking about nothing, simply saying words that gave my mouth some sort of pleasure. I found this to be extremely helpful, like some form of a friend who had no possibility to misunderstand me.
Eventually, I ran out of storage space on my phone, (Oh no!) and I started to want to be able to vent my feelings while in public spaces as well, without airing it all to the crowd. I was in quite an emotional time in my life, and having these powerful intentions behind my words really did help with the release of it all. I would sit down on my own by the canal and I would feel this uncomfortability come over me. I needed to get it out. I’d just let my mind stream onto the page (Notes app on my iphone).
I rarely even looked back at these words. I would just let them be, I would let them stay where they were born. Some days though, I would scroll back and pick a random one to read, not remembering why I chose to write at that moment and what feeling I had backing it. I realized these writings surprised me, they inspired me, they made me melt. These sentiments coming out of me were unlike things I could actively think to create, they were just pure flow. Oftentimes, the writing I make does not consciously resemble the things I am truly going through, but somehow in this abstract way, it lets them come out of me. It helps my emotions to gain a shape, it helps them to not continue spreading within me unchecked.
After I’m done with an automatic writing, I do not make edits. I rarely even reread them. The conscious mind has no place in this process, this is the arena of deconstructed thoughts that never got to have their time in the sunlight. They finally get a moment to exist uninhibited. Let them stay free. When you do go back and pick a random one to explore, it feels as though they always jump out at the perfect moment, meaning something so faultlessly new for every instance, and having the ideal impact every time.
One response to “How to Utilize Automatic Writing to Expand”
I like this! I’m new to poetry and came at it from an emotional angle – so started on the automatic. For me shaping and perfecting it can be annoying as I don’t know the forms and rules, but I see that small efforts from me to make what I’m writing fit even a loose shape seem to get recognition and praise on the content that then becomes accessible to other minds. I couldn’t imagine producing anything of merit if I sat and hoped to write a poem – the expectation feels too high. Perhaps just to connect to a small few who read what you’ve written is enough.