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I spend a lot of my time writing. It is satisfying because it helps me clarify my ideas on a given topic, and sometimes it forces me think more clearly. But in terms of my sense of satisfaction and contentment, not all writing is equal.

We are all used to writing. We prepare lists, write emails, prepare reports… Writing this way is functional, to fulfil a specific purpose and, subject as we are to external pressures, often done to order, and to a deadline.

There is another sort of writing. Call it writing for pleasure, spontaneous writing or capturing a stream of consciousness. From this perspective writing is an act of the imagination and – and here’s the big bonus – it unlocks our ideas and creativity.

I don’t just mean creativity in the literary sense. When you write it helps clear a cluttered mind, germinate ideas, process our emotions, daydream, and imagine how things might be. When we allow the writing to guide our thoughts – rather than the other way round – it facilitates conceptual thinking, which is where new and often unexpected ideas come from.

Not so many people these days keep a diary or write a journal, and it’s not necessary to record your thoughts daily to benefit from this style of writing, but in my view it does require the basic discipline of regularity. It doesn’t have to be the same time every day (though many writers insist that it does), ‘regular’ can mean recurrent opportunities. The commute, for example, or coffee breaks.

Try it, you’ll see. To start with never mind what you write, the important thing is creating the space to do it, and don’t bother with doing anything worthwhile, smart or meaningful, just write. Writing unlocks the imagination, so just get on with it.

By the way, don’t wait for inspiration to strike. Writing creates inspiration, not the other way round. So write today, and every day.

5 Responses to “When In Doubt – Write.”

  1. What you write is true – I know this. I’ve been trying to take that very first step for years, and still have not achieved it…the hard part for me is the very first word. I wonder if I should start with just one word a day and work my way up? Does anyone have any suggestions of how to “just start”?

  2. I’m not sure anyone else will have that answer for you, your start is your start if you know what I mean. I am answering you and probably have the same issue. I always ‘talk’ about starting to write, everyone tells me I should write, I decided I would, in my retirement I would write short stories, and guess what, after reading Barry’s note today, today is when I start – this is my start. For years people procrastinate, I know, I am one of them, well today is when I change all of that…….. Good luck. Either get your fingers on the keyboard or my favourite – a pen in your hand, and just let the words flow. As Barry said, it doesn’t have to be a best seller. You have just helped me produce my first Title – ‘It’s a start’ – I’ve started.

  3. Maybe I should expand on this post. I’ve been there many times, and still have to remind myself to “just do it…”.
    More soon, when I can get round to writing it.

  4. Thank you Smiler…your words are inspiring me, even if it is only one word at a time. Good luck to you too in your endeavours…hopefully one day I will be reading a book that you have written. My words won’t be a book, they will be my own story, written on paper, hopefully to help my healing process.

  5. Dear Smiler, Well, how’s the writing going? I have just re-discovered your comment you left on my blog, over a year ago now. Best wishes.

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