Freefall A Writing Method

In January,​ 2005,​ six months before Kensington bought Passion,​ I took a​ writing course. a​ friend introduced me to​ a​ writing technique called Freefall.

Rather than my trying to​ explain what she told me,​ I will quote directly from the​ Freefall website:

FREEFALL is​ the​ technique of​ writing from the​ larger Self,​ beyond reach of​ the​ ego and its censors. . . .FREEFALL invokes the​ courage to​ fall without a​ parachute,​ into the​ words as​ they come,​ into the​ thoughts before they have fully formed in​ the​ mind,​ into the​ unplanned structures that take shape,​ without prompting,​ to​ contain them. . . . the​ moment when someone shifts into that deeper level is​ unmistakable. Everyone can hear it. as​ a​ result,​ in​ Coleridge’s phrase,​ “the wheels catch fire from their own motion.”

At the​ time,​ I had the​ push to​ do more than I had before,​ but I didn’t know what. I bought the​ domain name in​ November,​ 2004,​ without a​ clue about what I would do with it. Being the​ trusting,​ and intuitive,​ soul that I am,​ I pay attention to​ these nudges as​ they come. the​ nudge to​ do Freefall actually felt more like a​ knock upside the​ head.

Group participation has never been my favorite thing. in​ fact,​ I avoid it​ whenever possible. I’m a​ loner,​ always have been. My imagination is​ much better company than I’ve found most people to​ be. the​ Freefall workshop required I spend three days in​ a​ very big,​ very old house with about a​ dozen other people (I don’t remember the​ exact head count!). I balked. But between the​ persistence of​ my friend,​ who happened to​ be one of​ the​ workshop sponsors,​ and my own inner head knocking from the​ universe at​ large,​ I caved. I said I would do it.

As luck,​ and the​ ever present synchronicity in​ my life,​ would have it,​ on​ January 22nd,​ 2005,​ New York had a​ blizzard. When the​ storm hit,​ we​ were already at​ the​ house. Effectively,​ the​ universe conspired to​ keep me there all weekend. we​ were snowed in! It’s probably a​ good thing. Otherwise,​ I may well have jumped ship.

The schedule seemed simple enough,​ get up,​ get dressed,​ have breakfast and write. we​ were not supposed to​ talk during that time. Staying silent sustained an​ inward focus,​ which facilitated the​ Freefall writing process. When we​ wrote,​ we​ were not to​ correct errors or​ go back and reread what we’d done. we​ were supposed to​ Freefall and not look back.

We wrote for several hours before breaking for lunch. Part of​ Freefall is​ the​ group dynamic critiquing the​ work. Our teacher and workshop leader,​ Barbara Turner-Vesselago,​ read selected pieces aloud during the​ afternoon. She never revealed who wrote each story. Then the​ group would comment on​ the​ work.

The point of​ the​ Freefall process is​ to​ break through internal barriers to​ get to​ what is​ hidden beyond the​ conscious mind. For me,​ this meant facing inhibitions about putting myself out there I didn’t know I had. the​ protective walls are torn down. If,​ in​ fact,​ the​ point of​ the​ exercise required I reveal who I am,​ then I had my work cut out for me.

Now,​ what happens when someone says,​ “Don’t think about a​ blue cow?” the​ first thing that pops into your head is​ a​ blue cow,​ right? Well,​ when we​ were instructed to​ step aside and let the​ inner voice speak,​ my blue cow popped into my head. I had hidden my intuition and psychic experiences from everyone except my closest friends. as​ I sat with my laptop in​ a​ house full of​ strangers,​ what started to​ come up and out were those experiences.

I panicked! There is​ no question that had we​ not been snowed in,​ I would have taken the​ first train home. But I couldn’t get to​ the​ train station. we​ were hip deep in​ snow! I took a​ deep breath and tried to​ calm down. I literally had to​ talk myself off of​ a​ psychological ledge. What’s the​ worst thing that could happen? They could think I’m crazy,​ or​ even worse,​ laugh at​ me!

Somewhere,​ from a​ place so deep I can’t define what it​ is,​ I started to​ type. I told my story. I wrote things no one except my husband knew. I typed until I had to​ stop.

When Barbara read my piece,​ I waited for the​ inevitable judgment from the​ group. Much to​ my utter astonishment,​ no one laughed,​ no one thought me crazy and no one ridiculed me. the​ comments were positive,​ and even complimentary. I couldn’t believe it! I had just revealed my deepest hidden secret to​ a​ group of​ strangers,​ and nothing bad had happened. in​ that moment,​ my fear burst like a​ soap bubble.

I don’t think I’ve ever spent a​ more utterly miserable weekend in​ my life! I know I’ve never spent a​ more important one! at​ the​ time,​ I had no way of​ knowing that six months later,​ I would sell my first book.

I frequently use the​ Freefall technique I learned that weekend in​ my writing. Allowing what’s hidden underneath to​ bubble to​ the​ surface has proven invaluable to​ me. I expect that’s how I will finish Take Me There. I will Freefall the​ end of​ the​ book.

The fear I broke through on​ that snowbound weekend has had deeper implications in​ my life. I am less fearful overall. I certainly wouldn’t be doing this blog if​ not for Freefall. I would be too inhibited and afraid to​ talk about myself this openly. Freefall isn’t for everybody,​ but it​ sure worked for me.

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