You've heard of freewriting, certainly. At its most basic, it's about forcing your internal editor to stay away while you splash your most raw and unusual thoughts onto the page.
In Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insights, and Content (2nd edition, revised & updated), Mark Levy tells how he uses freewriting, not only to loosen up his writing muscles, but to solve business problems of all kinds.
Levy, author, writing teacher, and marketing strategist, shares a few "secrets" for making freewriting an indispensible tool:
5 Freewriting Tips
1. Try Easy. "Start scribbling, then remind yourself that you're simply looking to put some decent words and ideas down on the page: you're not trying to produce deathless prose and world-beating ideas in the course of a single night's writing." That recalls my own advice to "trivialize the task."
2. Work the Way You Think. "Use kitchen language. Coined by Ken Macrorie, it's a phrase that describes the language you use around the house when you're lounging in knock-around clothes. It's good strong language, but not the kind you'd normally use to get your point across in most settings."
3. Learn to Love Lying. Freewrite about fantastic scenarios and you may find your mind unclogged. "If an element in your situation is small, think of it as tiny or jumbo." For a fascinating example of this, see the giant puppet girl.
4. Getting a Hundred Ideas Is Easier Than Getting One. When you seek the one great idea, your perfectionism gets in the way of creativity. When you set out to amass lots of ideas, you won't stop at the first halfway decent one.
5. Build an Inventory of Thoughts. Make good use of your freewriting pages by grabbing and sorting keepable ideas into a set of files (or a writer's notebook).
Levy elaborates on each of those tips, and many more, using anecdotes from many realms. (I suggest you keep a batch of yellow stickies handy while you read.)
Copyright (c) 2010 by Susan K. Perry