Freeform or freestyle writing is a great way to get started on journal writing & an easy way to release everything in a safe, creative and healthy way!
Benefits of freeform writing with pen & paper:
► Scientific research shows some wonderful benefits of writing in pen-paper Vs. typing – Read this article. I have always found that I am able to connect deeper into my thoughts and words when I need to physically write them out using the old-school way. There are many other benefits to using pen-paper.
► Releasing with no expectations. Sometimes, we know exactly what we want to let out – and then there are times when we start free-forming on the journal page and things just come up! Actively releasing any expectations of what it “should” look like or sound like can be a very liberating way to get down to what is really going on. Starting each freeform journal with no expectations of what comes out is a positive releasing tool, with no pressure or need to impress/perform for anyone else.
► A safe and private space to release pent-up emotions. Emotions = Energy-in-motion. This is an exploration tool to do when we are holding on to raw emotions and/or when we find our Self in a situation where we want to say something to someone with a lot of build-up emotions (like anger, hurt etc). If you are unsure where to start in expressing your thoughts, try this! Start and let it ALL go on the page and don’t stop until you feel it is done, with nothing more to say. This usually helps clear the initial blast before we find constructive ways to communicate or use the energy. As empaths and HSPs, this is especially important as we soak so much in – and hold on to so many things that might not even be our own.
► This sheds light and awareness on our patterns, cycles and habits that we want to change. When we see things in black-and-white and right in front of us, some things may make so much more sense because we can literally spot and circle them on paper. There have been moments in my life and with clients when freeform journal writing brought up some previously unnoticed repetitive unhealthy in different patterns areas that needed a change.
► Bringing awareness to our thoughts. Most times, we go through our day without thinking about what we are thinking of all the time. This form of writing is about connecting directly to our thoughts, getting comfortable with them and observing them at the same time.
► Getting to know how we communicate. How do we communicate to others? How do we communicate to our Self? How encouraging or critical are we to our Self? Do we express our Self fully or do we hold back? Often, we can see all of this in the way we write.
► Deep grounding from our headspace to our body. So many of us are in our headspace throughout the day. Freeform and freestyle writing takes the top-heavy energy from our head and upper Chakras – and brings that energy through our body and out. This can help balance out the flow of how we manage our energy and get grounded.
► Get as creative as you like! Who said it had to be just in black-and-white anyway?! Using different coloured pens, doodling and drawing can all be part of this! For example: Use different coloured pens for different areas of your life that you want to freeform write on.
How to start freeform writing as a journal exercise:
Choose to do this at a quiet time alone
This is YOUR time to unwind. Choose a time that feels right for you, where you can be alone and have no distractions.
Tip: This is a Self-healing tool that you can do at the end of the week or before bedtime, as a way to journal and track your experiences throughout the week/day.
Set the space for you
This is a place to relax in so you can fully release. What makes you feel relaxed? Maybe you could put on some music, clear the energy of your space by burning essential oils or sage, wear comfortable clothing etc.
Tip: Start your first entry with a new journal and each entry with a new page.
Set an intention
Like with most practices, setting an intention holds and opens up space. Start with a topic, emotion, area or situation in your life that you want to focus on. If you don’t have anything in mind, that is fine too! You could just focus on this moment and today.
Tip: In your journal, start by writing the area/topic/theme/situation/etc that you are planning to explore.
Set a timer
I find this to be helpful because it keeps us committed to our freeform writing until we hear the timer go off. It can also help set out time just for our Self, committing to holding space to relax and release fully. If you are new to this, start with just 3-5 minutes and work your way up with more practice. If you feel drawn to doing more time, go for it!
Tip: Write down how long your timer is set for – and if you did extra time.
Notice how you feel before and after each journal exercise
As a body awareness tool, start to notice how you are feeling before and after each entry. Notice where you are storing any stress or tension in your body, what emotions you are feeling, your breathing patterns and any shifts in stress levels.
Tip: Write down how you feel on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 is feeling the worst and 10 being the best) – Keep in mind your stress levels, your body and emotions. Do this before and after you write.
When it comes to writing the journal entry, just start!
Write down whatever is coming up in your mind, even if it is “I don’t know what I am writing but….“! Keep writing down exactly what you are thinking and let the flow begin and develop. Like many Self-exploration tools, it can be weird or even awkward at first, but then when you get over the first part (usually a minute into free-flowing), it should get easier! Don’t stop, just keep writing and let it out. Release the need for it to be perfect or to make sense – let it just be. See if you can keep up with your thoughts and slow down if needed in order to catch up. As you get advanced and familiar with doing this, you can also notice any changes in your body and breathing as you keep writing.
When the timer ends, continue if you feel drawn to do so
At first, it can be a struggle to fill out the time – But with practice, I notice that it becomes much easier to run away or lose track of time.
Tip: If you feel like you are still in the middle of a sentence, a thought, an idea etc., continue writing it out until it feels complete.
To end, write one thing you observed, learned and/or feel grateful for today
This usually rounds up the journal nicely. Don’t forget to mark down how you are feeling afterwards, as mentioned in a previous point!