I’m delighted to welcome my guest today, successful self-publisher, creativity coach and actor, Bryan Cohen, who is tapping the unconscious in the House of Dreams.
The unconscious mind has ways of making you stop. You have a deadline and only a certain number of hours to write a certain number of words. And yet, despite all that pressure, the cursor or blank page is staring at you with all its emptiness. It’s writer’s block, that all encompassing, vague term describing why you can’t get the thoughts you know are in your head onto the page. Writer’s block can strike, even when you’re in a seemingly perfect writing situation. You can have writer’s block even when you have a comfortable chair, a mahogany writing desk and a closed door to keep out all the distractions. The problem of writer’s block seems to exist in the unconscious mind.
In writing and self-publishing 32 books to Amazon, I’ve found one of the tricks to unearthing this unconscious problem. The trick to stopping your unconscious hurdles to writing is to go into your unconscious to determine how to knock them down.
People use freewriting or stream-of-consciousness writing for all sorts of purposes. Freewriting can be an emotional release or it can be a way to capture your thoughts at a particular moment. This activity can also be used to answer a question. If you’re experiencing writer’s block at a subconscious level, you can use freewriting to ask yourself how to defeat the problem.
Setup your freewriting session by sitting in a quiet place with as few distractions as possible. Turn off your phone and switch off the internet on your laptop. Set a timer for 15 minutes (though you can always write longer if desired). Start with a simple question or a “prompt” if you will. For instance, you can ask something along the lines of, “Why do I have issues writing in the afternoon?” Write the first thing that comes into your mind over and continue to write down the thoughts that naturally follow the first thought. Don’t edit yourself, even to correct spelling errors. Let one thought flow into the other. Even if you get off the topic of writers block, let yourself take the trip to keep yourself in stream-of-consciousness mode. If you find yourself looking at the timer or otherwise not writing, get yourself back in the game as quickly as possible. Don’t stop. Push yourself. Even if what you’re writing doesn’t make any sense, keep going at least until the timer goes off.
Here’s what I find happens in nearly all my free writing sessions that begin with a question. I take at least 3 tangents. I also retread a lot of what I’ve said out loud on that particular subject. But in all of that, I find at least one actionable step I can take to solve the problem. It’s a banner day when I come up with three or four possible solutions, but even one method for solving my issue is good enough. Besides, it’s easier to put just one idea into practice anyway.
When I put one of these steam-of-consciousness-generated solutions into practice, it almost always makes an immediate impact. In my opinion, this proves that most unconscious issues have an unconscious solution lying around in your brain alongside it. You just need to do a little digging.
Try starting a free writing session with a question that’s been nagging at you. It could be about writer’s block, weight loss, your relationships, your bank statement or anything at all. As long as you trust yourself to write without censorship during your session, you’re bound to find at least one solution to your unconscious issue.
Try a session on for size and discuss what you come up with in the comments!
About the Author
Bryan Cohen is an author, a creativity coach and an actor. His new book, 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is now available on Amazon in digital and paperback format. His other books include 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, The Post-College Guide to Happiness, and Ted Saves the World. He has published over 30 books, which have sold more than 20,000 copies in total. Connect with him on his website, Build Creative Writing Ideas, on Facebook or on Twitter.
In honor of his new book, Bryan is hosting the “1,000 Prompts, 1,000 Dollars” Writing Contest on his website. Click the link to find out how to enter! Click the next link to check out the rest of Cohen’s blog tour!
2 thoughts on “Using Freewriting to Take Down Writers Block, by Bryan Cohen”
Thanks, Jenny for letting me stop by the blog today!
It’s my pleasure, Bryan – I hope the book will be very successful for you.