October 2, 2018

“Freewriting” for journaling: maintain concentration on the pen moving on the paper, try not to know what word is coming next, keep writing whatever words come out until the words exhaust themselves and there's no more energy or tension driving the pen forward.

Until a couple years ago, my journals were filled mostly with stream-of-conscious entries. My technique is to turn writing into a concentration exercise, and a physical act where I think as little as possible. I try to slow my thoughts down to the speed of the pen. Of course, thoughts are always running in the background, but I don't engage with them and I don't make any decisions about what thoughts will make it onto paper.

Concentration is an act of letting go. In freewriting, you let go everything but the word you're writing right now, and accept that the page becomes littered with half-baked thoughts and accept that some ideas don't make it from your brain to the pen in that session and are lost completely. If I experience pauses, where I stop to compose my next words, or breaks, where my thoughts are running but I'm not writing them down, then I know I've lost focus and I need to get back to it.

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