Writing is considered to be one of the most difficult mental activities. But there are quite a few easy to learn techniques and some practical exercises can help you better writing skills. Have you ever tried the stream of consciousness technique?
The peculiarity of this writing method is that you do not need to make any mental efforts, thinking or concentrating on “what” and “how” you want to write. Just set your subconscious mind free.
Stream of consciousness technique is based on associations and images which come to mind when dwelling on certain topics. Let your thoughts flow. It is like an “inside monologue”.
The text you get after this exercise is quite raw, but it can then be used in creating further writing. This exercise is especially helpful for those writers, who feel depressed, constrained or experiencing writer’s block. A writer, who, like you, is searching for inspiration and new creative ideas, a writer working hard on improving vocabulary.
How do you apply a stream of consciousness technique in practice?
First of all, you need to relax. Don’t think intensively, just let it flow. Write everything down, anything that comes to your mind. Concentrate on your feelings: what you smell, taste, touch, hear, see.
Spend about an hour for handwriting activity in stream of consciousness technique.
Write without a stop for rereading and editing. Your piece of writing will and should be unstructured. Spelling and grammar can be disregarded. Even sticking to one or the same topic isn’t obligatory. This technique is not about rules, it is about how to break them.
Now look through what you have created and edit the content. Who knows, maybe you were born to become the new James Joyce, who, by the way, tended to use this writing technique extensively.
Not only did James Joyce get inspired this way, other writers did, too, such as Virginia Woolf and William Faulkner. Anton Chekhov also followed stream of consciousness writing style. Eager to see how this writing technique could look in real life? Here is an abstract taken from ‘Mrs. Dalloway’ by Virginia Woolf:
“What a lark! What a plunge! For so it had always seemed to her, when, with a little squeak of the hinges, which she could hear now, she had burst open the French windows and plunged at Bourton into the open air. How fresh, how calm, stiller than this of course, the air was in the early morning; like the flap of a wave; the kiss of a wave; chill and sharp and yet (for a girl of eighteen as she then was) solemn, feeling as she did, standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen; looking at the flowers, at the trees with the smoke winding off them and the rooks rising, falling; standing and looking until Peter Walsh said, “Musing among the vegetables?”— was that it? —“I prefer men to cauliflowers”— was that it? He must have said it at breakfast one morning when she had gone out on to the terrace — Peter Walsh.”
Here are some topics to help stir your imagination. Try out and practice this technique to improve writing:
- If children were free to choose their parents, who I would choose?
- Is it possible to become a genius or are you born a genius?
- What is the most suitable age for travelling abroad?
- In what way do my friends inspire me?
- Do I need to experience grief to understand what happiness is?
Even if you get the ideas out of your head, remember that the very same idea can be already claimed by someone else. That’s why conducting a proper research and scanning with a plagiarism checker is an important part of your writing.
Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Sue Cowley
This is a really good way of helping your children to examine their language and decide which words they really need to use, and which are superfluous. It can lead to some excellent descriptive writing or poetry.
1. Ask your children to write a 'stream of consciousness'. This means they should write for a set amount of time (perhaps 1 - 3 minutes). They must keep writing continuously, without stopping at all. If their brains seize up, tell them to keep writing the same word over and over until they think of something else. You could give them a specific topic to write on, or just ask them to write whatever comes into their heads.
2. When they have finished, tell them to put down their pens and count how many words they have written.
3. Now they must cut that number exactly in half. They should cut out any words that they feel are boring, not important, or repetitive, but they must end up with exactly 50% of the original number.
4. When they have done this, repeat the cutting again, so that they end up with 25% of the words they started with.
5. Now, using only these words, they should turn them into either a piece of poetry, or a piece of writing.
6. When they've finished, ask volunteers to read out their finished piece of writing.
7. Another idea is that they can 'barter' words, swopping their own words with others to get the words they need.