When I was writing Caught in the Act, I decided to try “freewriting.” Just typing whatever came into my head, without censoring it. It was interesting to see where this took me. Here’s an excerpt from the book:
In this early-morning experiment I am not writing for a particular purpose, except perhaps to explore. Once thoughts have leaked out of my unconscious and found their way into words on the page, they are no longer using up energy by being locked inside me. Is this the actualization that Jung speaks of? Uniting the inner and outer consciousness makes for a free flow in whatever direction the mind moves. After I had been trying freewriting for a few weeks, I began to wonder whether, if I was able to go into every situation in the spirit of exploration, that might shift my attitude.
I have this sensation of scouring my mind, looking for any wisps or strands of thoughts that have been lingering in the background. Bringing them into the light of day enables me to examine and evaluate them, and choose to put them to good use, or simply let them go. It is not that I am running around looking for them. I am just sitting here quietly, waiting. There is always some movement going on in the mind, so it is unlikely that nothing fresh will surface. All the stuff I have accumulated in this lifetime is roiling around inside, rising and falling with the tide.
It is somewhat like what happens on most mornings, either in the bath or shower, or when I am preparing to meditate. Odd things waft by, and I can either latch onto them or not. Once one of these thoughts has surfaced, it will hover in memory for an hour or so, revisiting me from time to time to make sure that I haven’t forgotten it. I find that these reminders occur in a very timely fashion, rather like little alarm clocks, and I am very grateful for them.
When I write, the situation is slightly different, in that I am deliberately creating a space for the thoughts to surface, rather than being surprised by them. I become aware of what is idling on the periphery of my vision. It is like looking around a room and estimating whether it needs cleaning and, if so, in what way. It is an active process and, as such, is probably less organic than acknowledging and welcoming thoughts that turn up when I am not summoning them from dark crevices.