Brief on a special technique that Image-Streaming's inventor believes to be its equal
by Win Wenger, Ph.D.

Freenoting provides a way to get far more out of
any text you read and any lecture you attend,
and is a major technique for solving problems

This writer gets pulled into a lot of conferences and symposia. Because of curiosity he often sits in on sessions on topics he knows nothing about — and knowing nothing about the presenter. As a result, the sessions he exposes himself to are of mixed quality.

In several of those sessions where the presenter and presentation left something to be desired, yours truly tuned out the presenter and in whimsy turned to writing "his own presentation" in the topic he "knew nothing about." Two results were most surprising:

  1. The faster I wrote and the less thinking about what I wrote while I was writing it, the better emerged a nice little dissertation on the topic I had thought I knew nothing about.

  2. After a few minutes of doing this, I would notice the presenter now saying something which I had just written down a minute earlier! As I continued, time and time again I would notice the presenter now saying things which I had previously written!
With a little checking, I learned that nearly everything I had written, after the first couple of pages, was accurate — including much about the topic or subject which the presenter never got around to saying, but maybe should have! By Freenoting, I had gotten far, far more from that presentation session than the presenter had presented!


Why it works
This phenomenon turned out not to be "psychic," however. Here is how I found that out. When I experimentally attended sessions presented in a language foreign to me, I'd still render a pretty decent dissertation on the previously "unknown" topic, but of nowhere near the quality as when in a session taught in English. The explanation, indeed, turned out to be pretty simple, and confirmed what we had already found to be the case also in other contexts: By ignoring the presenter, I had routed such information as he had to offer straight to the part of the unconscious which reflexively sorts out ALL our data, past and current, conscious and unconscious. By this rapid torrential profusion of writing, the insights, formed from this process and pulled into the focus of consciousness through this writingstream, reflected this sort-out and data-association. It also reflected, among these, the pattern predicting where it was the presenter was going with his lecture.

Most important, no matter how unknown a topic or subject was to me consciously, enough data and cues were floating around unconsciously to become embodied, through that sorter and through that writing, into a respectable and reasonably accurate short book or long paper. Even in the worst presentations, the presenter usually was presenting enough fresh data to enrich this outcome, accounting for why I was getting such better results in English-language sessions than in those conducted in a foreign language.

This worked even though I was ignoring that presenter so hard that whatever he presented was skipping my conscious mind altogether, enroute to that reflexive insight-sorter.


Characteristics of good Freenoting
With a little modest experimentation, the best Freenoting turns out to have these characteristics:
  1. Its "rules" are similar to those of brain-storming. Get that censorious editor out of your way, either by "suspending judgment" or simply by running faster than judgment can plod along with to keep up.....

  2. Write faster than you can think about what you should be saying and about whether you should say THAT!

  3. Without pause or hesitation.

  4. If it occurs to you in the context, go ahead and write it.

  5. Be willing to say the wrong and the ridiculous — that helps free you to say those items which make the real breakthroughs.

  6. The first entries are usually stock stuff or throwaways; your best entries are toward being the last ones for the episode.

  7. The faster and harder and more continuously, and for longer, that you drive the Freenoting process, the better are your results.

  8. The first few pages can usually be thrown away. Be willing to write a lot that you can throw away, because that brings you to those pages filled with true gems you definitely will NOT be throwing away!!!
Applied to learning, Freenoting is a powerful way to bring conscious the core of what you already know about every conceivable topic or subject. Once you've brought that core conscious, the rest of what needs to be learned in that context wraps itself conveniently, easily, quickly, and in some depth of insight, around that already-known core.

Freenoting can be done the usual way, hand-written on paper; or onto keyboard as in typewriter or computer; or into a tape recorder, though ease of retrieval becomes an issue there. Although a live human listener is by far the most preferred way to do most of our other Project Renaissance procedures, a live listener is not recommended for use in Freenoting, simply because the torrential monologue becomes a bit much for most listeners! Anyone who knows Gregg's Shorthand would be at an extreme advantage here because the speed of uninterrupted, torrential writing is so key to excellence of results.

If you decide to try out Freenoting in some class or at some lecture, take along a tape recorder the first time or so to allay your concern over "missing something." The lecturer will be flattered because s/he will think you are paying close attention to what s/he is saying. In a way, you are.


Best times to Freenote
  • At least once per day or so, on whatever occasion or topic
  • Once or several times during any substantial reading assignment, and at its conclusion
  • From time to time when reading any informative book or formal paper
  • As a major way to solve problems, especially unclear or confusing or muddled or ill-defined problems:  start Freenoting for a while somewhere in the problem context.
Freenoting sessions should last ten to twelve minutes, and longer if the content seems to be getting hot. Intensity and speed are even more important than duration for getting to some most remarkable results, but that duration also makes a great difference.


This procedure is excerpted from one of the many major methods to be found in the book, Beyond Teaching And Learning, which is reviewed and available in the Books section.

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Win Wenger

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