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Create Writing Flow Using The 10 Minutes of Gibberish Method

by Jennifer on June 3, 2010

By Jennifer Blanchard

The other day on Copyblogger, Catherine Caine wrote a post that offered seven quick-start techniques for fighting the fear to write. One of those techniques really stood out to me:

Write 10 minutes of gibberish.

“If you’re looking at the blank screen with mounting horror (Have I forgotten the English language entirely?), open a new document and pound out anything,” Caine says.

Her ideas of gibberish included:

Making It Work
The idea behind this method is just sitting down and writing something. Doesn’t matter what it is.

“Don’t force it to make sense!” Caine warns. “Just let it flow out with no judgment or expectations. When there’s no pressure to get anything Right, for many people the mental vapor-lock vanishes. They can go back and start writing the important stuff.”

By jump-starting yourself with this simple writing exercise, you free your mind from the fear of getting started. What happens next is brilliant.

Since you’ve already been writing for 10 minutes, you’re in the “flow” and are able to keep writing without a problem.

Essentially, you’re building writing momentum.

Next thing you know, you’ll have typed 500 words of the novel you’re working on. And then you’ll type 500 more.

The next day, do the same thing again–Write anything. And then you’ll work on your novel.

The next day, do the same thing again…

And that, my procrastinating friend, is how you create–and sustain–flow.

How do you jump-start your writing?

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. For more great writing tips, articles and information, follow her on Twitter.
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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Missives From Suburbia June 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I read an interview with Sue Grafton in which she extolled the virtues of a diary. But not a “Dear Diary” kind of diary–a writing diary. She keeps a diary on every book she writes, and she uses it to make note of the questions she has about her plot, her characters, etc. She talks about the issues that are making her stumble or to jot down ideas for a scene she hasn’t yet begun to work on. She advised using a diary as a place to think. I have to say, even on my worst days, her advice has been extremely helpful, even if all I start off writing is, “I can’t think of where to take this today….” Somehow I always figure it out in the course of dashing off that journal entry.

2 Amber Lea Starfire June 3, 2010 at 5:14 pm

When I don’t know what to write, sometimes I just write “I don’t know what to write…” over and over until my brain does this sing-song sort of thing and jumps off into a topic. Inevitably, I end up writing for much longer than I planned or thought I’d be able to.

Another quick-start is to do a word association. Pick a word, any word, from the dictionary, the newspaper, whatever. Write it down and then just write the next word that pops into your head. Keep doing this (it’s okay to repeat words) until there are no more words. When you’re done, take a look at what you’ve written for patterns and writing ideas.

3 jennifer blanchard June 3, 2010 at 8:31 pm

@Missives From Suburbia That’s a really fantastic suggestion!! I keep a separate notebook for each story I’m working on, but never thought of using it as a “diary” of the book itself. Would you be interested in writing a guest post about this method and how to do it? I think readers would really be interested in it.

@Amber Lea Starfire Another really great suggestion. How do you get ideas from the word patterns? How do you turn those words into ideas, I mean?

4 Karen Sills July 5, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I will try this for 30 days! I love to write and know I need improvement!! Really want to be published oneday!

5 Kathy Sills July 5, 2010 at 5:44 pm


6 vb August 8, 2012 at 5:18 am

I like your advice!.

The real problem that affects most writers is not
that they can start writing from the word ‘GO’, but there
is ‘distinctive’ ‘lack of clarity of idea about what they want to write.
This is a case of ‘missing knowledge’.

7 vb August 8, 2012 at 5:23 am

want to add one more point.

is’nt it surprising that the most creative flow of
sentences start coming to our mind when
we are a kind-of! day-dreaming .

8 Jennifer August 8, 2012 at 7:52 am

Yep! For me my best ideas show up when I’m driving.

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