Stream of consciousness: how to get ideas for writing
When you are a writer, sometimes you have to dig pretty deep into the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Sometimes, when you reach way down deep into the bottom of the barrel, your hand comes back out with nothing. These are the times when we reach out for help to unclog our weary writer minds and get the ball rolling again. Writer’s block is one of those things you will try anything to remedy. One valuable way for breaking through a block or getting ideas for writing is the stream of consciousness method, or free writing. Stream of consciousness helps you to get your mind rolling and your pen moving, and the best part is, it doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. In fact, it is better if your stream of consciousness writing is not used for anything but the clearing of cobwebs and if you do find a few useable ideas inside, great!
To start a stream of consciousness exercise, sit quietly in a room with nothing but a pen and paper. Put your pen to the page and start writing whatever comes to your mind. Now it doesn’t matter if it makes sense, if you write in complete sentences, if you use correct grammar, complete a thought or just make noises! Just keep writing, no matter what it is that comes to your mind. If your mind becomes totally blank, just write something like, ‘my mind is blank, my mind is blank’, just keep writing that until something else pops into your head. This is a good way to clear junk out of your head, you know, the day to day minutia that clouds our thinking from time to time. Do this exercise for at least thirty minutes and save your writings in a journal. You can go back and look through your stream of consciousness exercise to glean writing ideas from them later on.
If you are having a lot of trouble with this exercise you may need to focus in on something to help you out. Pick a topic to stream on, for example, fishing, and write everything you can think of on this subject whether it be a trip with your dad when you were young or a commercial about a singing bass that hangs on your wall. Fill a page with things about fishing. Focused stream of consciousness writing can be a great help when you are working on a project that requires more exploration of a subject. If you are so blocked that you can’t even think of a topic to stream on, just turn on the television and write about the first subject you see.
Focused stream of consciousness writing can be saved in another journal and when you are working on projects that involve any of your themes, you can look to them for a little insight. The best way to open your stream of consciousness is to just start writing and write about anything, don’t worry about how good or bad it is because no one is going to read it except for you. This is your one chance to just hang loose with yourself and not worry if you have all of your I’s dotted and T’s crossed, have fun with it!