This is main title of book Diane Lunsford. Bunch of Diane Lunsford Books

Stream of Consciousness Writing

What is it?  (My)simple definition:  interior monologue dumps; (my) expanded interpretation:  the necessity to take one’s pen and paper, sit quietly and expunge all  that incessant chatter that vies to consume one’s mind and circumvent creative processdon’t worry about flow, punctuation, grammar, etc. and write the thoughts with a pen in your hand and a paper on the table. DO NOT type!  The connection of hand to pen; pen to paper is vital to this exercise.

In the early 90’s a friend suggested I read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within. I was attempting my first novel. There were some days when the writing felt fluid, but far too many others when I felt as though I was phumphering and limping along writing chapter upon chapter of nonsense—no stream or flow to the story. My moment of enlightenment did not come until many years later when I realized I had written an entire novel which had nothing to do with writing for an audience and everything to do with writing an emotional outpouring for me. In fairness, there were some humorous anecdotes and teary moments, but none of what I had written resonated for others quite as much as it had for me. It was only after I dug into the depths of Ms. Goldberg’s book that I was able to learn how to listen to what I was writing.

Moving along to the mid-late 90’s I began a fresh project. I had grown some as a writer, yet there was still plenty of mountain to climb in front of me. Another friend suggested I read Natalie Goldberg’s latest book:  Wild Mind, Living the Writer’s Life. After reading Writing Down the Bones, I had become an instant fan of Ms. Goldberg’s work. I felt fairly confident toward the whole listening concept and truly endeavored to implement such a practice whenever I wrote. However, there was an annoying presence more often than not—a mental chatter that never quite dissipated… Once I started reading Wild Mind, I was convinced Ms. Goldberg had miraculously heard my pleas to quiet the ‘noise’… Not a coincidence I received the recommendation to read Wild Mind and that was my first exposure to stream of consciousness writing.

Less than two weeks ago, I purchased a copy of Julie Cameron’s, The Artist’s Way. You guessed it, yet another friend’s recommendation. Ms. Cameron’s work is captivating to say the least. The knowledge she imparts and the guidance she provides are absolute gifts. She is a spiritual conduit for many artistic endeavors and the premise is for the artist to start at his or her beginning with a committed, disciplined (and daily) practice of stream of consciousness writing. She refers to the pages as ‘morning pages’. While I am barely thirty pages into her book, it is abundantly clear to me Ms. Cameron is committed to guiding many creative souls to their eventual artistic Utopia—be it writing, sculpting, painting, etc. It all begins with those ‘morning pages’  of stream of consciousness writing…

-D.Lunsford

 

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