I published this post first in October 2015 but it might be useful in the current situation too:
Good morning writers and other mindful ones!
How is your writing going? How are you minding your meditation time? How do you deal with the subconscious workings of your mind?
Stream of Consciousness Writing
It looks to me like there are two types of Stream Consciousness writing: There is Stream of Consciousness as a literary device for example used by James Joyce where the flow of thoughts of his characters is written down as they occur in real life. But there is also a writing exercise of Stream of Consciousness where you just write down what comes to mind without editing it.
Caught out by unexpected behaviours
Have you ever been caught yourself doing something that is totally out of your usual behaviour and you have no idea where it comes from? I have. Many times and quite often it got me into trouble.
If we believe Siegmund Freud then we know there is a part in ourselves that we are not aware of. He called it the “subconscious” where memories, hurts but also happiness is stored that we are not conscious of anymore. After all, we can’t keep everything in our minds. It would explode with all the information and we do not want that, do we?
Can you reach the subconscious?
The question is: Can you reach the subconscious and figure out what is going on in there?
Some people believe you can.
Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages
Julia Cameron is one of those who believe that writing a journal every day strictly in longhand and Stream of Consciousness (in this case meaning unedited you just write what comes to your mind) will eventually give you a clue to where your creativity and ultimately where your life wants to go.
I have been doing her so-called “Morning Pages” on and off for many years and yes my experience is that her idea is true. If you let yourself write down what is deep in you without concentrating on punctuation or spelling, then it will bring things to your consciousness. You won’t find it written down in those pages but slowly certain thoughts and ideas make themselves visible in your daily thoughts that eventually lead you to different choices in your life.
The Courage to Heal and Stream of Consciousness Saturday
The first time I encountered Stream of Consciousness Writing was when I read “The Courage to Heal” by Laura Davis and Ellen Bass. It is a self-help book for adult survivors of sexual abuse but experiences are contradictory as to its usefulness. For me, it was a great help to get an idea of how surviving works and how healing happens in stages. One tool they use is to sit down and write about your past without editing it. They believe this will bring back memories of what happened to you if you have subdued any memories of the abuse experienced. It didn’t bring back many memories for me but that is another story. However, it was the first time I started to just write what is there without editing while writing. I mainly concentrated on my inner workings instead of how it comes across.
If you are a long-time reader of this blog then you know that I love to take part in Linda G. Hills Stream of Consciousness Saturday meme in which she offers a prompt and then you write down what is prompted in you. Again without concentrating on spelling or punctuation. Her prompts do not follow a certain topic at all. You can say they are pretty random but in my experience, they always bring something to the front of your mind which is important or needs working on.
Making your characters more interesting
I believe it makes your characters more interesting if you either use the “Stream of Consciousness Writing Style” to mark their inner dialogue or if you allow them to do something out of the ordinary of their behaviour and then let them wonder why on earth this has happened.
Making your life more conscious
Any of the Stream of Consciousness writing exercises on the other hand can help to find out more about yourself. That in turn helps you to figure out more what really makes you happy. However, I also believe it is a good “Mindfulness” exercise as it allows you to be right in the moment of your thoughts and feelings.
If you are stuck use some Stream of Consciousness Writing
So if you are stuck either with your character or your life: Try to apply some Stream of Consciousness Writing and see where it leads you. I am sure there is an adventure waiting for you 🙂
In this sense: have a wonderful Stream of Consciousness day!