Automatic Writing or the Genius Named Jack

Twice within 24 hours this week, I was told, “Like automatic writing.” The first time someone said that was how I wrote, I considered it, but didn’t act to learn more about it. I assumed it was another term for those who wrote without using an outline, a writer who could let the creative juices flow and write that story quickly.

When someone else, unrelated to the first conversation said it, I had to look into it further. I’d never heard of automatic writing. Was it something new? Or something old but had recently made the headlines?

But let’s rewind a bit. My discussion previous to this comment was on writing a story and not knowing where that story was going. While I joked about the genius in the wall named Jack, who hung over my shoulder and told the story for me to record it, it’s actually what happens most days. For a few years, I’ve been saying that I’m not actually creating the story; I’m recording events that have already happened in another time and realm. At least that’s how it feels when I write my Castle Keepers epic fantasy series.

In this discussion, I brought up the fact I’d never heard anyone speak of writing like this. That is until a few weeks ago. I had watched a documentary discussing J. R. R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings, and the presenter revealed: “He had this strong experience that it (the story) was given to him. That he was recording something that was happening. Therefore, the story was all important.”

When I elaborated on the genius in the wall, I spoke about always knowing I wasn’t alone when I wrote, that discussions were had with ‘someone’ to decide on the final version. I didn’t know it was a genius until a few years ago when I watched author of Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk, Your Elusive Creative Genius. This conversation revealed Jack’s identity to me. I had already known his purpose.

Being in the zone and allowing Jack to tell the story made me write quickly, and many times in the past ten years, when I later read what I’d written, I didn’t remember writing it.

This, my writing friends told me, is referred to as automatic writing.

Googling automatic writing, I found it could be done while in a trance, possibly while channeling a spirit to write the material for the person. Some attribute it to a supernatural occurrence. In some cases, the writer closed their eyes and wrote with a pen on paper. While I can type with my eyes closed, my handwriting using this method would be very messy.

After looking into this more, I’m unsure if I’d call what I do automatic writing. Perhaps it is to some but I’m not sold on the idea. Personally, I feel it’s more like a collaboration most days; it’s not with a spirit, of sorts, but something different, of which I cannot describe. I prefer my genius living in my walls, being part of me in some way, being only mine and not shared with anyone else. Perhaps because I spend time daily with my genius, he is loyal to me, so is there whenever I feel the urge to write.

Either way, I hope he sticks around forever. It’s a friendship I value and never want to be without.

What about you? Have you heard about the genius who may live in your wall if you are inclined to be creative? Have you heard about automatic writing? Do you experience either?

4 thoughts on “Automatic Writing or the Genius Named Jack

  1. I have heard of automatic writing before and also the equvalent when composers claim to have been visited by the spirit of Beethoven etc. I don’t feel like anyone is helping me but who knows – we could be writing from a parallel universe. When I read something I wrote ages ago the characters are real, not like I made them up!

    • Yes! The parallel universe. I believe that it is a possibility. I’ve heard of musicians and their ‘inspirations’. I think it’s cool. It connects us to the past (or somewhere) like nothing else does. I like that: stories you wrote ages ago feel real, not made up. Interesting. Thanks for visiting.

  2. Very interesting – I’ve never heard of this before. I’d consider myself a pantser, but I feel like I come up with it myself. I just know who the characters are and ask, “What would this person do next?”

    • There are a few stories I can say I undoubtedly wrote myself. However, I really enjoy the ‘just writing’ and discussions with the genius. The automatic writing is something different. I don’t think I’ll even try that. Thanks for visiting. Enjoy your Friday night.

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