2011/365/038: Writing to the Rescue

(photo: rus vanwestervelt)

The last week or so has been abnormally intense and stressful, and the reason (I believe) is that there just hasn’t been a whole lot of down time. Our family schedule has had us running all over the state for our children’s events as much as our own, and there has been little time to write.

For me, that’s a big deal, as writing is my all-time, number one flotation device, an indescribable life saver that rescues, every time.

It seems a bit ironic that I’ve chosen to write in my blog on a daily basis to increase my writing time and focus on strengthening my on-deadline writing, and here I am telling you that I haven’t had a lot of time to write. My posts have been a little lackluster this past week; why didn’t I just spend the time writing here to create that release?

The answer is a little too simple: writing for me, and writing for you…well, they are two different things entirely. Regardless of my attempts to write “uncut” pieces that are much more raw than other entries, the stuff that I scribe in my daybook is raw, unfiltered, and often meaningless. It is a running rambling of streaming thoughts, largely disconnected and non-sensical. Consider it a flushing of the mind, of the stress, of the heart, of the nerves, of the past, of what is to be.

Many call this Brain Drain writing; it is the dirty cousin of freewriting, where even then there is usually some kind of focus or end goal. With Brain Drain writing, all bets for organization are off. If your hand can write faster than your brain can think, you’ve successfully dumped any and all thoughts within.

The benefits–lower stress, higher problem-solving efficiency, and clearer thinking–all come within minutes of draining your brain. So much benefit, so little effort.

If it takes only a few minutes, why couldn’t you just schedule the time in, despite your hectic week?

Great question.

Reason no. 1: My daybook has not been accessible. I know this sounds like a cop out, but it’s true. That little book is sacred to me, and I just don’t feel like brain draining anywhere else. It’s been living in the trunk of my Beetle, and I need to get it out of there immediately.

Reason no. 2: It’s not just the actual activities that we’ve been doing that have taken so much time, it’s the prepping and the debriefing that tacks on so much time. The before-and-after sessions overlap, too. Finding a free five-minute block has been nearly impossible (especially with my daybook not beside me 24/7).

Reason no. 3: I’ve allowed reasons 1 and 2 to cloud the common fact that writing in my daybook, every day, is simply a non-negotiable. There are no excuses, no roadblocks, no overlapping dramatic interludes or transitions. You write. Every day. Period.

Yeah, that’s what being human is all about I guess, right? You do your best every day, but sometimes you get the worst thrown at you, and there’s nothing you can do but get up, get over it, and resume writing.

Now…where did I park my car?

5 thoughts on “2011/365/038: Writing to the Rescue

  1. Hey Rus,
    I ‘wish’ my brain drain only took 5 minutes! I spent an hour sitting in my office today pouring out the stuff…solved one issue btw. And now I am at it again tonight (another draining session). (Notice my procrastination as I read your stuff and should be draining the brain.)
    My question: how do you do this in 5 minutes? I barely break a sweat in 5!
    PS Go to the trunk and rummage! Find that book!


  2. Cindy–Good for you to invest so much time to do what you need to do. My 5-minute drains just keep me afloat until the next drain…Not the best method to use but it works on the run.
    My morning pages are always 3 pages, like Julia Cameron requires. This deeper writing really cleanses the soul and prepares me for whatever lies ahead…


  3. You do better than I did, Jason. I had to wait until my children were grown to pursue my writing. Those constant interruptions that must be tended to (and I wanted to tend to, btw) buried my creativity. I commend you!


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