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August 16, 2006

Writing and Healing Idea #2: Freewriting

If you’ve ever read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones or if you’ve ever written morning pages in the style of The Artist’s Way, or if you’ve ever run across freewriting in one of its thousand other permutations, then you may already be quite familiar with the process of freewriting. If not, the gist of the matter is that when you choose freewriting you really do have a free ticket: you can write whatever you like. And you can write in whatever style you like.

Freewriting, at its essence, is about reclaiming permission—permission to write a lot of words and sentences that no one else ever needs to see, and then beginning to notice, gradually, that something is beginning to emerge. Meaning perhaps. Or insight. Surprising words. Surprising sentences. Small nuggets of value. Gold of a sort. Jewels.

You can choose a time when you know you will have fifteen or twenty minutes of uninterrupted time. The first thing in the morning?. The last thing in the evening? You can make a mug of tea, or coffee. You can find a comfortable chair. And then you can, simply, start writing. You can, for instance, write in response to the invitation to design a healing retreat. You can, if you'd like, write in response to this whole notion of writing and healing. What are some of your secret hopes for writing and healing? What are your secret fears? And what in the world is writing and healing anyway?

If you can, as you write, try to keep your pen moving as much as possible. Worry not about spelling or punctuation or grammar, or whether what you are writing makes any sense for that matter. All of this is a part of the permission that freewriting offers.

You can write that you have nothing to write about. That you have no clue where you’d go for a healing retreat. That you wish you’d bought a different pen. You can begin with your secret hopes for writing and healing, and then in the middle you can stop and switch directions and you can write about. . . what? The ants in your kitchen? Your aunts? The street you lived on as a child? The sky’s the limit here. And beyond that—stars, constellations, galaxies. You can make a list of all the constellations you know, and some you’ve never heard of but you wish they existed, and then you can if you like, come back to this notion of writing and healing and you can write about what in the world the stars might have to do with it. You really can’t do this wrong.


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Very beautiful and encouraging-cozy website! Do you have any sugestions for a place we should write online? I know there are lots of places, but a good one?

Hi Cecilia, Just saw this by email notification. I don't do a lot with comments anymore as the site has been a bit dormant but I did hear recently about a site I think has real potential.

Take a look and see what you think. A lot of possibilities

And thanks for your kind words!


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