How to Write Without Stopping | Jillian Sullivan

How to Write Without Stopping

Writing without stopping is a way of sidelining the critic in you that doubts you.

Imagine you’re trying to paint the sunset and a person comes and stands next to you and says: That’s no good, that doesn’t look real, I don’t know what that means, that colour doesn’t work, just as you’re trying to capture the colours. That person would put you off what you’re doing. If you could, you would move away, so once again you can face the blazing sky, and put it down on paper.

Later on you can look at it back home and examine the painting for what worked and what didn’t and what needs to be done. First and foremost the painting is there. What you needed was to be able to paint a sunset in the joyousness of the moment without some person telling you your work is wrong or ugly.

So with writing. In the moment of creating you don’t need that critic person standing there monitoring your words. Walk away from them and write the first draft as if words come through like sunset to paper. Writing without stopping achieves this. It leaves no gap for the critic to have a say. The speed and constant motion of the pen across the page, or fingers on the keyboard, is what keeps the colours streaming.

When you write without stopping and without your critic graunching the gears, then words flow out as if they’re coming out of your fingers and you’ve slightly lost control of the situation. This is good. When you are in control it’s when you operate from what you think you know. When you lose control and the words are coming anyway, that’s when you begin to write from what you do not know you know. You’ve dropped to that deeper level.

You’re not going to be there all day. You’ve gone down for ten minutes, like a diving expedition, ten to twenty minutes and you come back up with something. There’s the proof – pages covered in your writing.

Ten minutes is a safety guide that gives you the option to dive down, and once started, writing without stopping allows whatever’s there to come up: a handful of shells, an anchor, a bright orange cray.
How to write without stopping

About Jillian

Jillian is an award-winning author for children, young adults, and adults. A mother of 5, a Grandma of 8, a teacher of the 'Hero's Journey', a cyclist and a builder of strawbale houses.

2 Responses to How to Write Without Stopping

  1. Rose Michel von Dreger November 20, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    This technique has been my lifeline as a poet. It has enabled me to get through some very clever and debilitating blocks. I love the way you’ve put that into words: “When you lose control and the words are coming anyway, that’s when you begin to write from what you do not know you know.” I am finding that more and more as I let go more and more into the creative process, in writing as well as in life.

    “Authentic power [is] that which enables truth to rise” – Sarah Varcas

  2. Jillian December 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Thanks for your comments Rose. Good point about letting go in life as well as writing! And thanks for the quote from Sarah Varcas.

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