I have a folder called 'Free-Writing' that I created almost a year ago with the intention of developing a daily free-writing habit (a technique where you attempt to write non-stop until you reach a certain number of words, writing about whatever comes to your head; it's a form of thought-streaming). The folder currently contains about 17,000 words of writing, but that only represents 32 days in the past 10 months that I've actually sat down to write something in there.
Suffice to say, I haven't formed a daily free-writing habit.
I was adding to the folder again today, jotting down a few thoughts I've had recently on how the lack of silence and solitude in our lives is likely having a negative impact on our personal development, when I became curious about what I had written as my first entry in this free-writing folder (the writing distractions never end). I'm including that first entry below. Ironically enough, I'm writing this entry from the same Starbucks mentioned in the entry below.
I'm sharing this free-writing passage with you because I'd like to hear what you think about me sharing more stuff like this. From my perspective, this free-writing often borders on gibberish-- it's usually just me emptying my head and remarking on things while I go off on different tangents. But it feels wrong to assume what you would think about it.
I've learned that what seems obvious and worthless to us can often be valuable and insight for others. Maybe my gibberish is your gold.
If you find something valuable in the entry below, please let me know and I will start sharing more bits from my free-writing. Perhaps sharing my free-writing will even help with developing a daily free-writing habit.
It's snowing outside and I'm here sitting in Starbucks drinking a large latte as it snows outside. Every glance out the window I'm reminded how alien and different the world seems, so white, wet, cold, beautiful. It's as if something is erasing the landscape, slathering on a fresh coat of paint.
Perhaps I'm staring a little too much, waiting for something to happen, delaying my writing, using the snow as an excuse not to write. How silly that sounds. But is it really so silly? How many excuses do we come up with on an almost daily basis? Excuses not to exercise, not to wake up early in the morning, not to start that next project or begin working on that idea that's been bugging us for the past few weeks or months.
There I go, I was doing it again, staring out the window contemplating nothing. That would normally be fine on any other occasion, but this time I'm committed to writing at least 500 words here, thought-streaming even if it means emptying gibberish from my head. That's an interesting thought: emptying gibberish from my head. If that's what is there, then emptying it should be a good thing. It will give the good stuff room to breathe, room to grow.
I have the urge to check how many words I've written so far because I want to stop. I feel the pressure to "do something productive" and that's pulling me away from this thing I've committed to. I really should commit to doing this more often, to taking my thoughts and simply emptying them to words, pouring them out through my fingers.
I have no doubt that regular emptying of my thoughts will result in a better flow for the thoughts I want to share with others. Anything worth doing requires practice to perfect. If I want to get better at expressing and sharing my thoughts, then I need to practice expressing and sharing my thoughts.
If I want to improve my ability to express and share my thoughts, then the mechanism of turning thoughts into words needs to be practiced. I need to get used to turning thought into word, into taking ideas and concepts in their thought-form and shaping them into ideas and concepts in word-form.
It's almost silly to think that one's ability to express ideas and concepts in word form will somehow magically improve over time, that simply having the desire to improve will make us improve.
Practice will help us improve, not the passage of time. We need to be practicing the art of expressing thoughts and concepts if we wish to improve that skill.
If I want to improve my writing, I need to write. Regularly. Daily if possible. (Of course it's possible.)
If I want to improve my speaking, I need to speak. Regularly. I need to practice conveying concepts by speech, of turning ideas and messages in their thought-form and converting them to ideas and messages in their speech form.
If I want to improve my physical body, the ability for it to stretch and grow and function properly, then I need to exercise my body daily. I need to stretch daily. Simply doing it once in awhile isn't enough. It needs to be regular practice.
Without regular practice, how can we expect to improve? The absence of regular practice creates a plateau where progress stalls. To ensure forward-movement, we must create a habit of regular practice.