The Ultimate Guide To “Stream Of Consciousness Writing”

Stream Of Consciousness Writing

Table of Contents

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Hey all,

Fri 22 Jan

So I was looking around to try and understand what type of writing style I deploy when I produce my content.

And as you can see from the title…I found it :p

In this blog then, I’d like to walk through my insights and guidance on how to effectively employ this style of writing to become a writing powerhouse…which I’m hoping one day to be considered by others (the true sign of volume based writing accomplishments haha).

I, myself, as with anyone committed to a path of some discipline don’t really think about that.

It’s more the case the finally, over the last trying two years – I’ve found a way to wrap that which I love (the creative process) within my world of work (my agency life).

Or at the very least, I’m financially stable enough to pursue such an endeavour (which we’ll come to in a later blog about building your freelancing career as a writer).

My Writing Routine (and what you can learn from it)

Writing Routine

So, we’ll dig into some of the practical aspects of my writing routine which I’ll walk you through now.

First of all – you can, of course, see what the time is above. That’s something I do for myself mainly just because I like to see the time at which I start, and the time at which I finish (sometimes I paste that in but not always).

Time

It serves as a KIND OF historical record to correlate the day and time upon which I wrote something.

Although in some respects I should perhaps also consider the year as well (I’ll worry about this later).

As you can hopefully tell, you’ll find me (via the brackets) often having conversations with myself – none of which escapes Google Docs (I’d love to say the paper but alas…lol)

You’ll also note from the time – that I like to get my writing done at the start of my day.

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Fri 22 Jan

I’ve actually just come back from my running coach session I’ve had – it takes around 45 minutes each way and then the session itself is an hour.

So here I am back again.

I also write based on impulse and strategy.

What I mean by this – is that I wake up every morning having no clue what I intend to write about that morning.

Simply – what I’ll do is wake up – and try and figure out what my ‘impulses’ are telling me.

Today, my impulse leads me to beginning this blog post.

On other days I’ll wish to write about a few things and then quickly do some initial planning around it.

‘Planning My Stream Of Consciousness Writing’

Consciousness Writing

This might seem like a juxtaposition because by very nature – I guess one would contend that ‘there can be no planning with writing stream of consciousness’.

I don’t think that’s quite true, however.

I think that planning can be thematic.

For example – in the instance of this blog I wished (as I said) to discuss my style of writing –

And to ‘back it up’ if you will – I wondered – ‘does it have a name?’ – ‘it MUST have a name’.

As I googled – I found it.

But then I went one step further – I also wanted to see if it’s something that people search for and are interested in as a concept in general – turns out that globally (as according to Ahrefs – the keyword research tool that I use) –

That 3,500 people search for ‘stream of consciousness’ writing per month:

Overview

Amazing!

What that means is that I’m not alone in being interested in this subject – and therefore interesting in writing about this subject.

It’s a little ‘meta’ of course but my ‘stream of consciousness’ had led me to write about ‘streams of consciousness’ as a writing style.

You’ll also notice on the image above that there’s a ‘keyword difficulty’ barometer of 12.

Excellent!

You yourself will know that my day job is running an SEO agency – keyword research is something that’s a big part of our work.

So if it’s got a keyword difficulty of 12 – that means that ranking on page 1 is not crazily difficult.

Amazing –

Consciousness In Combination With Happy Hormones

Happy Hormones

So knowing there is a relatively strong chance my team will be able to rank this on page 1 of Google is exciting.

This releases a cocktail of serotonin, dopamine and all of the ‘relevant’ happy hormones into my body.

The release of these hormones is CRITICAL to the success of this style of writing because you’re writing almost totally based upon impulse.

But of course – in my instance (and I think it’s the same for many writers) – it’s not 100% based upon impulse.

I pepper this with SOME strategy by identifying a general area of interest – identifying an ‘angle’ that’s led by research.

And then I combine this with seeing what others have written about this subject:

What can I ADD to the narrative that’s different from what’s already been said.

So I’ll open up several of these websites and quickly scan through the subjects they speak about.

WHEN I do this is critically important here.

Deciding What Exactly I’ll Write About

Decide Writing

Much of it depends upon what I have to say/what I know about the subject.

Well typically – my impulses are led by subjects I know a decent amount about experientially – and not theoretically.

If it’s just theoretical alone – well that doesn’t sound much like me.

I.e I talk of my own personal experiences and wrap them into a narrative.

What was fascinating for me to learn from Stephen’s King’s memoir called ‘On Writing’ – which serves as a kind of guide on how to write effective prose – is that for him (and I assume most/many writers) – this process isn’t so so different.

That is – the most effective prose is drawn from personal experiences that the writer has had that are then transformed into something new.

I guess that’s how ALL of the best writing is done?

I’m not sure really…

But anyway, interestingly enough – I guess THIS, i.e this part of what I’m writing is what I am adding that is new to the subject.

That’s why you need to be very careful with any level of topic research (it’s different when you know nothing about a space experientially – than all you have to rely upon is research).

You don’t want original thought to be clouded by research – you want it to be only enhanced.

Part of me is now wondering ‘mate – is this REALLY stream of consciousness writing?’.

Lol I’m no longer sure….

But anyway – we plough forward to see what some of the ‘others’ have said – that I find to add value to this post:

So apparently it’s a style of writing where the reader can track the ‘fluid mental state’ of the writer.

Good news is then – that THIS post definitely qualifies as that.

Examples Of Authors Who Were Best Known For Using The Stream Of Consciousness Writing Technique

Examples of Authors

Furthermore, I’m really pleased to discover that there’s a ton of successful writers who have employed this technique such as Edgar Allan Poe, Leo Tolstoy and Ambrose Bierce.

And there’s even more than that – James Joyce, William Faulkner, Jack Kerouac – and probably a ton more if I carried on sufficiently googling.

Ha!

Which Is The Best Example Of The Stream Of Consciousness Writing Technique?

Consciousness Writing Technique

I did Google a little bit more and as it ironically turns out – Stephen King and Salmon Rushdie (who stand amongst some of my favourite authors) – also deploy this style of writing.

I find it prevalent also in rap music I like to listen to.

Anything that can give insight into someone’s state of mind, and the nature of their thinking.

Of the ‘little’ reading I’ve done in this space (when compared to the vast nature of authors who excelled in this space) – as mentioned above – my favourite and one I’d recommend as a really powerful example are looking at Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’.

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I think it makes the most sense for a reader of this blog because I’m very confident you’re reading this as a fan of the genre and as a writer to some degree yourself.

Take a look at this book or Audible and listen to Stephen King talk through his own streams of consciousness and how it feeds into much of his fictional works.

The Wikipedia Definition

Wikipedia

Wikipedia gives a bloody excellent definition of this style of writing:

“Stream of consciousness is a narrative device that attempts to give the written equivalent of the character’s thought processes, either in a loose interior monologue (see below), or in connection to his or her actions. Stream-of-consciousness writing is usually regarded as a special form of interior monologue and is characterized by associative leaps in thought and lack some or all punctuation.”

In my case – Lydia my head of internal growth will give my monologue punctuation lol.

But outside of this – I feel this is pretty on the nail when it comes to describing my actions in the writing of this post.

Stream Of Consciousness Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts

If this is something you’re wishing to learn and deploy into your own style of writing I’d recommend some of these prompts as a means to get yourself started and turn this into something of a writing exercise:

‘Today I’d like to talk about’

‘I was thinking earlier this week’

‘This thought inspired me to sit down and write to you’

‘I’m thinking’

‘I often catch myself’

These are all solid opening lines – that you may well already be using in your journal. To this degree it’s really not that different from journaling – it just gives the journaling that LITTLE bit more structure than you otherwise would if it was kept private.

But at its core – as I put words to paper – it’s the same damn thing 🙂

So if this truly is a journey you wish to go upon – you can use these prompts as the beginning of a stream of consciousness writing exercise style that you can rely upon as a cornerstone of word production.

The Benefits Of Stream Of Consciousness Writing

Benefits of Consciousness Writing

In case you’re in any doubt as to the benefits of this style – let me run through how I find that it helps me:

It unlocks my creative mind

It’s amazing to see what ideas come when you give yourself room to just run away with your thoughts and really investigate them – as you so naturally can with this style of writing.

So if you’re a creative person – this will help open up new spaces in your brain

It facilitates the planning of my day

Pragmatically – you’ll often wish to write about things that will happen, have happened and therefore with how your day will end up panning out

It’s very meditative

Each morning I sit, put on white noise and now (at 7.34am) I’ve got no-one but myself and my words to worry or think about.

I’ve got white noise on and playing in my ears – and it’s just me, these words and the world.

It’s so peaceful and fiery all mixed together

It’s healing

I wrote a blog post recently about my thoughts on death because of a conversation I had with my friend Luc. I wrote another blog post on how to run effective meetings because of a conversation I had with Kye and Tom about meetings in general.

I find this style of writing allows me to ‘resolve’ things internally before they even occur externally

I’ve accelerated my content production 10x

Well – this piece of content is now – let me check:

Count of words

Close to 2,000 words it’ll definitely cross it by the time I’m done. It hasn’t been challenging at all. I’ve actually thoroughly enjoyed the process and am producing a larger volume of content than I’ve ever historically produced on a consistent basis.

I think I’ve written over 75,000 words since Jan 1st.

My quality of content is consistently high

Well.

I’d like to think so haha – but there’s a quality to streams of consciousness because you’re drawing from an experiential reserve that’s higher than anything you have researched but ultimately have abstract knowledge of.

That cannot be ‘inspired’ – which stream of consciousness writing totally is.

It combines journaling with the actual delivery of value

To steal a note from James Clear’s Atomic Habits – I’m habit and value stacking altogether here.

The habits I’m combining here are:

  • Journaling
  • Blogging
  • Keyword Research Led for both

This is a very effective way (for me at least) to get things done.

Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Nothing new.

More an encouragement of you my dear reader – to get on this journey.

What I find deeply moving about producing this style of writing is that ultimately – if less than 10 people ended up ‘finding’ this blog – it won’t matter to me.

I’m writing – as Stephen King says ‘with the door closed’.

I’m writing for me. For myself, and then through the production process of this becoming a blog post and adjustments coming in from my editor – Lydia, and my SEO team – I’ll then begin to ‘edit’ (if I do this at all) – with the ‘door open’ – for the wider world.

Please try this style of writing.

I totally appreciate it’s too early for me to definitively say anything (as it’s only been 40 days).

But what I can say – is that very infrequently (i.e less than 10 times) in my 34 years – have I done something so consistently as I’m doing now.

Writing.

The final score:

Word count