Writers are often inspired by some ghost—a lingering feeling or charge, whether attributed to one’s own inner psychological state or an honest-to-god spirit. I think of William Butler Yeats, for instance, who relied heavily on the automatic writing of his spouse, Georgie Hyde-Lees, or Gisèle Prassinos, discovered by and published alongside the surrealists at age 14. To say nothing of Fernando Pessoa who composed through the multiple discrete personalities (what he called heteronyms), Quian Xi, Lucille Clifton, Leonora Carrington, or even the artificial intelligence model designed to write like a human, GPT3.
No matter where they come from, automatic techniques provide a great way to capture the idiosyncratic energy of an idea. The method is loose, live, and generous. It can help overcome the inevitable stuck feeling that comes when drafting new work and reveal unexpected juxtapositions.