In a workshop on creativity (in which I was a participant) a few years ago, one of the exercises we had to perform was “Automatic Writing.” “Automatic Writing” can be defined in the creative context as writing that is spontaneous and lacks conscious intent. It was fun for the sheer freedom it gave all the participants to express without giving any thought to the coherence of the matter or the language for that matter.
Imagine if we are to write in a flow that reflects uninterrupted feelings and thoughts?
It was through his book, Principles of Psychology” (1890), that American philosopher and psychologist William James introduced the term “Stream of Consciousness.”
The “Stream of Consciousness” as a literary device is of course not the same as automatic-writing. Unlike the fun angle that “Automatic Writing” emphasizes, this technique encourages the writer to write with abandonment, while laying importance on grammar and the cognizance of the written matter. In other words, the writer conveys thoughts without inhibitions or restraint. There is also no concern given to the probability of being judged.
This style of writing can aid the writer at a personal level, with an eventual impact on the professional level too. It is a form of creative expression that is insightful and cathartic at the same time. To enable us to heal and grow, writing in this manner can help us to get into a state of physical, spiritual and emotional harmony.
The best part of this exercise is that we don’t have to consider ourselves to be a writer but merely the will to put our words on to paper. It is also an innovative attempt to convey to ourselves that we are in control of our life.
Writing creates a sense of healing combined with empowerment. Keeping a diary or a journal is one of the most expressive ways to convey our innermost thoughts.
In 1947, Annelies Marie “Anne” Frank’s diary was published two years after she passed away -a victim of the Holocaust.
Through her diary, Anne gave the world an exemplary example of the power of writing. She wrote her “book” through the innocent eyes of a teenager undergoing the horror of the Second World War.
It was on her 13th birthday that Anne received a diary as a gift from her parents. She began writing in it as a source of relief from the harshness of reality and keep up her spirits. Along with her family, Anne lived for two years in hiding to avoid persecution before they were all caught and taken to concentration camps. Her diary reflected the optimistic and courageous person that she was. She motivated readers because, despite all the hardships she experienced, she reiterated that we never give up hope.
Looking closely at her brief existence, we may wonder just how a young girl who lived two years of her life in hiding to escape persecution was able to inspire millions of people from all over the world to this day.
Anne’s book is inspiring primarily because readers can relate to it. In her book, she talks about subjects that teenagers would experience including her relationship with her parents, her prospects of the future and so on.
As a perspective of a besieged victim of Holocaust, Anne’s book conveyed an optimistic narration of life. She spoke of human goodness by reaffirming the importance of Love, Human Rights, Equality, Belief, and Hope. Being positive during a time when she and her family lived in dreaded fear would have been no easy task.
With discrimination and killing of innocent people, political unrest, and strife still rampant in many parts of the world, Anne’s writing sadly is of critical relevance today as it was during her time.
Her first-hand account of her existence went on to get published in more than 65 languages. Later on, her “book,” “The Diary of a Young Girl” went on to be adapted for the stage and grace the celluloid.
The greatest message that Anne gives us through her writing is that to improve our world, each of us can do so much more with a lot more thought.
In the words of the world-famous teenager diarist,
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”