The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron found me decades ago and I’m so grateful for it. Although working as a professional story analyst in Hollywood, I was very timid about my own writing. Today’s tip comes from Cameron’s first book. Everyone says that if you want to be a better writer, you have to write. The more you write the better you get at it. Cameron, however, introduced a daily practice that I have kept for more years than I care to say 😊. In a nutshell, Write Every Day.
Cameron’s daily practice is called brain drain. Get a notebook or bound journal and every morning, before you dive into anything else, write for at least 15 minutes. Don’t think about spelling or punctuation or word choice or even stringing sentences together logically. Brain drain is about decluttering your mind and dissolving blocks. It really doesn’t matter what you write. Just write in stream-of-consciousness style without stopping until you’ve filled three 8 1/2 x 11 pages with words.
This writing is not meant for anyone else to see. In fact I strongly suggest you don’t show it to anyone. This practice is to get you in the habit of writing daily, no matter what. It can be bitching about your life your significant other (or lack of one), your bucket list, your body, your pet, your boss, the weather or anything else that comes to mind. Once this exercise is done, you’re free to stop writing.
The interesting thing is, most days you won’t want to. You’ll maybe jot down a few creative ideas that bubbled up or put in some quality time on a writing project that has structure and meaning. The other thing I notice about doing brain drain faithfully every day is I began to feel like a legitimate writer. I can now easily write for 5-8 hours a day, if I have a project in-work.
So that’s quick writing tip #2. Give it a serious try. I think you’ll find it a great tool.