Instilling the right flow in your writing papers is very important at college and university level, after all a top-quality essay is what translates into the best grades for you. This takes us to the serious question:
How to find the right sense of ‘flow’ in your writing?
The answer is not as straightforward as one might imagine, instead it depends on your definition of flow.
Just like other metaphors, the term ‘flow’ is a comprehensive way of narrating an abstract idea, but it also leaves ample space for obscurity. Flow could indicate the structure of an argument presented, where one concept seamlessly transits to the next one, or simply, it could be your ideas pouring out of your brain to the paper. See that the ideas are significantly different: one focuses on the reader’s experience and the continuation of communication, while the second one is more about the writer/student’s experience and the effectiveness in writing.
A Hungarian-American Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly has a third meaning to offer, directing to a top-performing cognitive state experienced by writers, artists, musicians and other professionals during the creative thinking phase. This flow state is one of the chunks of the entire task in hand, especially to an extreme when the person becomes unaware of the surroundings and his own temptations such as hunger, sleep, tiredness or any kind of discomfort.
During this mode, the work is getting along while your conscious self is actively not taking any part, and often the quality of the output is beyond your imagination.
Coming back to the writing flow, first, students need to be clear what they are hunting for.
This is where freewriting comes into action, an exercise where you are allowed to write down everything in your mind without worrying about the relevancy, grammar and applicability with the topic. You will have ample time to sort and organize your research later. Among other perspectives, writing without thinking is also done to eliminate the element of apprehension and the need to become a perfectionist.
Agreeably, writing without thinking helps you remove your thinking barrier and fill pages in no time, but it also has its fair share of pitfalls:
• There will be some subtopics in your essay where writing with accuracy is the key, especially when writing about a fundamental assumption onto which the rest of your arguments and evidences rely.
• Some ideas and analogies are quite tricky to explain, hence, require some real thought and time investment before writing a strong statement.
• Writing without thinking in the initial phase of your essay creation tends to develop a habit of saving the hard part for later, as there are some concepts and ideas requiring some careful wording and structuring.
• The longer you write without thinking, the longer it will take you to fix content and grammatical issues during the first draft.
• Writing without thinking is impossible when you are writing in a second language, especially applicable for students majoring in foreign languages.
• You cannot elevate yourself to attain the pure writing wisdom through writing without thinking.
One can fairly ask that if these drawbacks are justified with the freewriting exercise, then how students are supposed to use their creative potential and achieve the right flow state.
Such contradictions surely occur, but only when the definitions and understandings are overgeneralized.