The writing process I’m now going to tell you about is one that I use myself.
I think it’s best to only share what I have learned and what has helped me. If I don’t, I risk being a charlatan, and the world has enough of those already. I need to write my truth.
Grab your pen or pencil and a piece of paper. Or grab your computer. Whatever you prefer will do just fine. And then find something you can use to time yourself. It can be a microwave timer. It can be an old-fashioned timer that your gym teacher used in gym class way back when. It just has to track time and let you know when time is up. That’s what timers do.
Next, find a comfortable spot where you’ll be able to sit for five minutes. You’re not going to be moving from that spot.
Get the timer ready and set it to run for five minutes. Get your materials ready. Get comfortable.
What you are going to do for the next five minutes is write as much as you possibly can.
If you’re using an old-fashioned writing implement, you’re not going to lift your implement from the page. If you’re typing, your fingers should never leave the keyboard.
Fix your mind on one general topic. It could be something that’s been troubling you, or it could be a part of your identity that you’re figuring out. It doesn’t matter what you pick, just that you pick something.
Start the timer, and begin to write. Keep this up for the full five minutes, writing whatever comes to mind. Don’t judge it. Don’t try to find the perfect words. Just write.
If you do this, you’ll tap into your subconscious, the part of your brain that you don’t use as much throughout the day, the part of your brain that doesn’t deal with all the mundane tasks that you always have to do.
Just write your heart out. Soon you’ll find that you’re leaping from one idea to the next.
I’ve started this process intending to write about one thing and then my brain took me somewhere else entirely. It took me to a place that I needed to go but didn’t realize at the outset. This will likely happen for you as well.
If you write without judgment, you’ll unearth ideas that you never knew you had and feelings that were hiding just out of view.
It’s a powerful process to discover the ideas that matter most to you. So much of life follows a prescriptive track. You do this, and then you do that. You go to work, and you do your job. You fulfill your family obligations, and then you go to sleep and do it all over again.
Writing for five minutes without stopping lets you tap into something you may have lost since you were a child. It’s something that comes naturally for a child, head down and drawing or writing for minutes straight, but it’s foreign to the grownup.
It’s time to relearn what you once know. Writing can be healing, or it can be educational. It can be both at once. Try it, and see for yourself.