The Sunday Session…What Are Your Thoughts On…

Automatic writing.

Now, I know that everyone is different and we all have our own styles and processes when it comes to writing. Some people plan the entire story, spend days developing characters. Some write an entire synopsis before even beginning the actual story…..I could go on for weeks.

My thought for today came this morning. A few words popped into my head, I wrote them down and prepared myself for what I thought was a poem. That familiar sense of urgency was moments away – I was sure of it. However…..nada. Zip. Mind blank. 2 sentences and I was done.

A good 20 years ago, bang – the words spilled out, no stopping. I was an automatic poet. For me, it doesn’t feel right going back and reworking a poem. For me, poems are feelings, instances that I have captured using my words. Once its written, it’s written.

Can a poet be labelled ‘automatic’ like a writer? Rhyming poems require much thought and planning…..or do they? Are we filing this one under the ‘but everyone is different’ folder?

What’s your take on this?


About Virginia

Writer, reader, crossword puzzler and conspiracy theorist.

11 Responses to “The Sunday Session…What Are Your Thoughts On…”

  1. Great post, though I am intrigued by what an “automatic writer/poet” is.


    • It’s when you write without too much thought or planning. When I used to write poetry, it was instantaneous. No thought. I’d get a few words in my head and pick up my pen and write. I can do this with writing prose however I work a little better with boundaries 🙂 How about you?


      • Ooh. Never heard that before. Hmm… I would say then that I don’t do that. I’m a person that likes things planned. But when it comes to poetry, I write automatically. But with novels/stories, I’d have to have a plan! 🙂


  2. The way you describe your writing poetry is similar to how I take photographs. A snap, a feeling, capturing a moment in time and consciousness…


    • Yes, exactly that. It’s similar to photoshop and photo editing – you’re changing the moment, that vision which made you feel inspired to take the photo in the first place.


  3. Sadly, I think the older we get the more we overthink and edit ourselves. I know I do. Great post!


  4. Automatic writing is very useful. Though I would argue that a focused editing process is also very useful. For me, automatic writing is what happens whenever I pull up a blank page in the word processor. I have an outline, sketch, idea, notion of what is supposed to happen. I then let my writing flow automatically, I don’t try to force anything or rigidly try to adhere to my notes. When done, I check to see if the overall goal was met and then start the editing process. Editing to me is fixing technical issues, ensuring plot consistency. The automatic process is terrific for getting words on the page and letting your characters / story take its own life, rather than one you try to shoehorn it into. As noted, a structured piece, such as a rhyming poem or a haiku requires a bit more thought than what automatic might allow for. That’s ok, you can still use the automatic writing process to develop an idea and then refine it later. To touch on the photo editing comparison, you can use a program to fix issues with a picture. Redeye, light balance etc.. But you can also enhance the picture with a different tone (Sepia, black and white, blue tones) add filters and so on. Look at Instagram for example. Automatic writing and editing I feel is similar. The artistic intent comes through no matter what you do post production (as it were.)


  5. When I
    write poetry the emotion flows freely and retouching usually doesn’t work. It’s the emotion that does the writing, I’m just guiding my pen


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