Free Form Writing, or letting it all hang out!


Has it really been two months since I have completed a blog post? Wow! How did that happen?

Today I want to talk about a tool which sometimes is used in Coaching. I believe I have spoken about it before. It’s called free form writing. Julia Cameron, who wrote the book The Artists Way calls them morning pages. One of my peers refers to it as vomiting on paper. The basic technique is just that, you close the door and start writing, allowing anything which comes forward to come forward with not judgment or expectations. You can set an intention or a focus, as I call it, but know that it may not go there and be okay with that, and what ever comes forward.

Now, Free form writing is a powerful tool which is actually part of a few religions. I have used it in the past to great effect, but know that, for me, I need to be careful as I have had it backfire on me or there have been outcomes which I hadn’t counted on.

So why am I bringing this up now? Things are starting to move for me. Which I am incredibly grateful for. But as things begin to move, I find that there is some resistance and I have a need for clarity about how I want them to develop. Free form writing is a great way to get that out. It is also a fantastic way to discover what may be holding me back.

Now, I have friends who are writers who really dislike this tool. Because of two aspects: they already write 8 hours a day, and I ask them to destroy their writing when it is complete. Think about that for a moment. Your livelihood is based on writing and I, your Coach, have asked you to write in a way which is emotional and revelatory and then burn it! WHAT?!?!?!

It’s actually not what it seems.

Free form writing is plotless, it is at best unguided and filled with emotion. The point is to get all out on paper and to simply, as my friend said, throw up all the toxic stuff which is holding us back. Or to express all those unexpressed hopes which need to be given voice in order to be born.

Remember no one is going to read this, not even you, so you can write anything!

How many times have you wanted to tell off your obnoxious fill-in-the-blank? How many times have you wanted to sort out the feelings which you have had around some issue that simply wasn’t making any sense. How about wanting to take a look at your dark side in a safe environment? We all have one and many times they contribute good things when in balance. And yet, many of us never acknowledge them. Free form writing is a tool which can be used to help to become friends with our dark side or any aspect of ourselves which we feel we would benefit from being addressed.

The thing which I many times bring forward from a free form writing session – which should last uninterrupted between 10 mins and no more than 2 hours – is a sense of peace and getting back in touch with a calmer, more centered me. This helps to facilitate better communication with others, better decision making, less stress and more fun! All good things!

So, if you could help shift anything via free form writing, what would you work on? And who would you be when you are done?

Things to think about. Until next time.

Nancie Kay Shuman

Leave a Reply