Today’s post is by author and consultant Robert D. Smith. I love the idea of “free writing” as Robert describes it. I believe it’s a unique way to boost creativity and build one’s overall personal effectiveness. Enjoy!
By: Guest Blogger Robert D. Smith
For over 30 years, I have managed a New York Times best-selling author and in-demand speaker while serving as a consultant to countless others. Every time I have run into a problem I had no solution for, I found the answer in one simple exercise—free writing.
If you look up the technical definition of free writing you’ll find something like this:
Free writing is a type of unfiltered, fast-paced writing that allows you to access ideas from your subconscious that are normally just out of reach.
I describe it more simply: free writing is a brain dump. You’re taking all the ideas hidden behind that wall of fear that says they won’t work and simply dumping them onto a page.
When you free write correctly, something clicks; your conscious self-editor (fear) takes a back seat to the free flow of creativity. Ideas start to surface that you either never imagined you had, or buried deep down inside.
The best part is you absolutely do not need to even consider yourself a writer to do this exercise. Don’t even let the phrase “I’m not a writer” enter your mind. Just focus on doing these four things to get started:
1. Get into a peak state. Stand up. Walk around. JUMP up and down! Turn on a playlist of songs that make you happy and want to dance. Turn the volume up. More. Take some deep breaths. Stimulate your physiology. These activities are like shots of espresso for your brain.
2. Clear off your workspace. Give yourself a distraction-free environment. Cut out the clutter. A clean, neat desk will help you think clearly.
3. Write down a question you’d like to explore. It’s your starting point. It can be about a goal, a problem you need to solve, etc. And if your first response is anything resembling the phrase, “I don’t know,” then ask yourself this question: “I don’t know what to do, but if I did know…what would I do?” I promise you will bat 99% when phrasing the question that way.
4. Set a timer and write, write, write. Start with at least 15-minute sessions. Don’t let your pen stop moving or your fingers stop tapping. Even if you get off-topic just keep going. If you run out of answers, ask another question.
It still amazes me what I end up with, often without even the slightest notion of the outcome I was looking for.
Using these very steps, I have had multiple ideas pop up that turned into entire products, events, and business opportunities—many of them lucrative.
My experience has convinced me that you are never lacking in resources–time, money, people, talent–to find success. Rather, you’re just lacking one great idea, a golden opportunity.
The idea is always there. You just have to be willing to mine for it.
About the author:
Robert D. Smith is the author of 20,000 Days and Counting, a crash course in living each and every day with maximum purpose and intensity. He blogs about personal growth, entrepreneurship, and more at TheRobertD.com.