Part of the inspiration for this 30 day challenge comes from the book Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content by Mark Levy. This is a book I’ve returned to many times as I work to flesh out new ideas or simply attempt to break out of a rut.
Discover the Power of Freewriting
At the core of Accidental Genius is the concept of freewriting. This is a technique where you simply sit down and begin to write your stream of thoughts as they happen. You don’t stop; you don’t look up; you don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, or even whether or not what you are writing makes sense.
The goal is to write as fast as you can, as long as you can, without paying attention to the words that are appearing on your screen. In fact, many times when I enter into a freewriting session I will close my eyes or turn off my monitor. It doesn’t matter what you are writing…just write!
When you are finished, you will have an amazing data dump in front of you. If you practice this correctly, you should have a document that looks like you plugged a usb cable into your brain and downloaded a stream of thoughts.
The Seeds of Genius
The genius component is when you begin to analyze your stream of thoughts. What connections do you see? What new concepts appear? What ideas look brilliant and what ideas look really dumb? You will see trends and threads of concepts that have not yet reached the surface of your conscious thinking. Sometimes, you will even see the seeds of genius.
What Can Freewriting Do For You?
In the introduction to his book, Levy provides some feedback from readers of the first edition of Accidental Genius. Here’s what freewriting can do for you:
- Clears logjams in the mind
- Brings clarity
- Provides perspective
- Helps you become articulate about yourself and your ideas
- Provides a path to the core of who you are and want to be
- Prompts you to think differently from peers
- Makes you powerful
- Accesses knowledge you’d forgotten
- Enables you to write with an honesty attractive to readers
- Creates empathy for others
- Cuts resistance to thinking and writing
- Pushes you creatively
- Causes a chain reaction of ideas
- Creates ideas no one but you could have had
- Puts you in touch with your freak side
- Gives you something to feel good about
- Gets you high
- Centers and grounds you
- Creates accountability in a way that’s easy and ongoing
What techniques have you used to break through writer’s block or to strengthen your writing habit?
This is Day 2 of my 30 Day Blogging Flush. The purpose of this series is to perform a “writing flush” on this blog, and write 30 posts in 30 days in an effort to break through writer’s block.
- Levy, Mark (2010–08–09). Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content (Kindle Locations 216–226). Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Kindle Edition. ↩