Freewriting is writing at the speed of thought. It's pure stream of consciousness, where you dump every single thing that pops into your mind onto the page. No stopping to think or edit or second guess. Pour it all out, even if it feels dumb, repetitive, or abhorrent. Doesn't matter if your words are useful or even true. Just keep writing.

Freewriting has been one of my steadiest practices for nearly a decade. For our purposes in The Forest, freewriting has a shocking amount of practical uses. It's like a swiss army knife for forest explorers. You can use it for...

  • Doing Targeted Inquiry sessions and other Personal Archaeology work
  • Open-ended journaling such as Morning Pages
  • Releasing stuck emotional states. If you're feeling anxious or angry or sad, a freewriting session where you lean into that emotion can leave you feeling lighter and freer.
  • Creating shitty first drafts, brainstorms, or outlines of a new piece of creative work
  • Thinking through knotty situations or problems, and seeing the full picture instead of fixating on one small piece of it.

Freewriting is powerful because it often bypasses the walls and filters put up by your inner critic, and allows all sorts of interesting stuff to surface from the depths of your subconscious. It allows us to know ourselves better, outside of the narrow confines of who we think we should be.

There are dozens of freewriting exercises scattered throughout The Forest, all designed to lead you ever closer to yourself, and towards a Joyful Business.

Some freewriting guidelines, and things to experiment with

  1. Find a writing method or tool you enjoy. Some folks are dogmatic about always writing by hand, but honestly it doesn't matter. Use whatever feels good to you, and that helps you stay organized. Pen and paper, tablet and stylus, google docs, networked note-taking app, distraction-free digital writing tool—they all work great. I personally use Obsidian, and sometimes a tool called Cold Turkey Writer when I'm particularly unfocused.
  2. lowercase magic: Writing in lowercase has done wonders for my freewriting practice. Capitalizing and punctuating not only slow down the process, but are also imbued with the energy and expectations of external authorities and institutions. When you write in lowercase, it feels legit rebellious, leading to more subversive ideas, along with parts of yourself that may have been otherwise repressed.
  3. Self-Interviewing: Use the freewriting process to stage an interview between different parts of yourself. Speak to your daimon, inner child, the perfectionist or Dictator Within. You can even have a chat with your future or past self. It's a fascinating way to explore your psyche, and make sense of tensions between competing desires, fears, or needs.