[Um, warning: language!
[This is lifted unvarnished from an email to a friend. I then realized you too would appreciate this technique.
Someone referenced the book Accidental Genius
by Mark Levy — and I kindled it. It’s blowing open my writing.
The author details a process he calls free writing. Some call it automatic writing, or speed writing, or stream-of-consciousness writing.
I’ve started using this for strategizing, ideas on life, getting started on a project, breaking through a barrier — and most significantly, in blowing past a wall I encountered near the end of my Bohemia in Suburbia book.
Here are the basics:
1. Write fast and easy
Just let it flow on whatever subject you are addressing
2. Write continuously
As in, don’t stop writing, even if you have to spout gibberish for a bit
3. Fuck grammar/syntax
(my words, not the author’s)
Don’t worry about a thing, just get it down, typos, run-ons, silliness, genius, all of it
4. For a short, defined time
Set a timer for 10 to 15 minutes (important!)
This has been nothing short of a breakthrough for me. Today I wrote 697 words in those 15 minutes, and then spent the next 45 minutes augmenting and editing that text. That was the best I’ve done in the 15-minute period, but it’s not uncommon to hit 300 to 500 words.
To put it into perspective, 250 words is the commonly-used marker for one page of a book.
Of course there’s crap in there, but when you edit and augment I often find that I have more text. Because I’m filling out certain passages I breezed through. So the augmentations seem to balance out the deletions.
The author happens to be a writer who also does high-level consulting work with corporations. He finds this free writing process draws out the best in everyone, regardless of application.
I’ve been breaking through the wall big time in the book since I implemented this —
I believe it could help you in your own endeavors —
PS: It’s wickedly fun and freeing, cuz there are no rules but to keep going for the 10 to 15 minutes . . . You know what it does? It side steps your mental editor. It also seems to drill deep down into some well you’ve got hidden there. You know how you hear about when they tap an oil deposit the oil gushes out. The principle is the same here.
Part of the What creators do series.
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