Free-form Writing Frenzy Productivity Experiment

I have a theory that doing a little intense, free-form writing every day makes me more productive. It gets the wheels turning, and then everything else is more possible.

I’m not talking about well-punctuated, grammatically correct writing that has been run through a spell checker. I’m talking flat out stream-of-consciousness, whatever comes out of me for a few minutes of sprint writing. This is living writing; “writing” experienced not as an adjective or a noun, but as a verb.

What’s that you say? Are you technical, but not “creative?” Don’t see yourself as a “writer?” Or, are you a wannababe author who always thought you’d get some of those stories down, given the right circumstance? Writing from a prompt may be just what the doctor ordered. This is a short exercise, not a challenge to create a Pulitzer-winning Work. This is an invitation to take on a little deep breathing, via writing prompts.

Where it goes (or if it goes) is up to you. Either way, exercise is good for you.

What’s a writing prompt?

A writing prompt is a word, phrase or idea that is used to generate, you guessed it, writing. Some prefer to write about the prompt, some just go for whatever comes out. Often there is a specific length of time to write.

I’m going to make it short and intense – say, whatever comes out of you for five hot minutes, spurred on, however you choose, by whatever I put up. There’s no wrong way to go, and you don’t have to produce anything finished or shareable. You could write absolutely boring crap for five minutes and still have done a good job, as long as you approach it with a willingness to dig in and go for it. Do that, and what came out badly the day before can be better the next time: depth is like a muscle that does better when exercised.

See if after a week of this you don’t feel more creative and productive, maybe even more hopeful.

Join me in a little experiment

Each afternoon for a week I’ll post a writing prompt and some simple instructions. The next morning I’ll post a quote that has something to do with the prompt, so you can take a peek at differences or similarities in how someone else relates to the same thing. Some relationships will be predictable or subtle, some off the wall.

Make a mental note now, and again after the week of prompts is over. Ask yourself:

  • Am I productive?
  • Am I encouraged?
  • Am I creative?
  • Am I curious?

If you’re like me, you’ll find you’re doing a little more reading, a little more writing, and a little better with follow-through on daily quality-of-life chores.

The First Prompt

Directions:

  1. Be ready to write, word processor open, or pad and pencil in hand. Set a timer for five minutes.
  2. Clear your mind.
  3. Click “Reveal Writing Prompt” below, and look at the prompt for the space of one deep, quiet breath.
  4. As you start the second breath, clear your mind of expectations.
  5. Write, full on, whatever comes to you, related to the prompt or not, for five minutes. Do not stop to correct anything – just go.
  6. When the time is up, you have to stop.
  7. Get up and wiggle. Yes, that’s what I said. Move. Laugh. Growl. Pat self on back.

You’re welcome to leave comments about the experience and anything that comes of it, including links, but please don’t paste in your entire prompt-generated exercise. What you’ve got right now is a personal thing. What happens next is up to you.

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17 Responses to “Free-form Writing Frenzy Productivity Experiment”

  1. Sheila Finkelstein Says:

    I found this interesting in that it was one word. I’m in a weekly writing group where we do 4-minutes writing to quote prompts. And, my photography, generates “Self-Reflecting Queries” both of which I feature in my Picture to Ponder ezine – http://www.picturetoponder.com – also posted on my Photography and Transformation blog.

    Surprisingly, for me, what came up in my writing here today was a response to a visual that immediately came up for me when I saw the word “moss”. After writing I came back here and the photograph was totally unrelated to my visual memories.

  2. Free-form Writing Prompt #2 | Quote Snack Says:

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  4. renee altson Says:

    wow. interesting. what i wrote *completely* surprised me! thanks for this.

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  9. Stephan Miller Says:

    Most of my best posts start something like this. Instead of repeating “what should I write about” over and over again, I jump in and start. But I haven’t had time to write much lately. I do miss it.

  10. Elizabeth Able Says:

    I do private little free-form bursts of under a minute or so when I need to get my cards on the table, even in the middle of structured work or everyday chores. I’ve caught myself doing it, instinctively, when figuring out what to want to have dinner – I like to cook, and I hate getting bored with food.

    It works, and I’ll bet it’s good for the brain.

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  17. Kim Says:

    MOSS: Monsters Objecting to Sand in Sandboxes. Read their horrible and heartwrenching story here: http://kimkouski.com/moss-monsters-objecting-to-sand-in-sandboxes#more-350

    Won’t you please help to stamp out this horrible misuse of sand? Thank you for your co-operation in this matter. 😉

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