A seven minute writing strategy to prime the pump and get the words flowing. No judgment. No worry about clarity of meaning. No concern for grammar, or spelling, or punctuation. No expectations. Just pure, unedited thought from pen to paper or fingers to keys.
Set a timer and go.
Who knows what words will emerge as from an invisible ink magically made clear. Who knows what I will learn? What’s on my mind. In my heart? What are my words waiting to tell me?
I used this strategy almost daily as an educator. What a mind-opener it is for children. (And adults too.) Pressure evaporates. An invitation to write imperfectly routinely releases the most beautiful thinking, the loveliest strands of thought, comprehension, and connection. There’s so much power in this little bit of freedom.
And only seven minutes. The timer trills and they beg for more time. Every single time.
Always end your writing waiting for more, I’d say.
Pen on notebook. Notebook under keys. Medication next to the sink, next to the soap I use to wash my face every night. (If I remember. Which I do. Now that my medication is alongside.) Moisturizer at home atop the dresser from which I pull my clothes every morning. A list of daily important-to-mes tucked nearby as I ready my face to greet the day. Just this morning, I dropped a single tissue on the stair landing so I’d remember to add tissues to the grocery list.
Whatever it takes. However to manage in this life full of never-ending and persistent distractions.
More than ever before, our home is organized, room by room, item by item, so each possession has a home, a place where I’ll know exactly where to find it time and again without a hunt and seek. Take it out. Put it back in the same place, over and over and over. And I’ve weeded our things. Fewer possessions to manage. If it doesn’t meet a purpose – function, beauty, meaning, memory – and won’t in the future, out it goes. I store like with like. I’ll find what’s needed where it’s most often used. Clear surfaces calm me, freeing my thought paths to help me remember whatever it is I almost forgot.
These days, I find hope – and comfort too – in the familiar, the known, and routine.
So, I set reminders. Reminders to do what’s good for me: a water glass next to the fridge. Reminders to meet responsibilities: a timecard left on my computer. Reminders for function: glasses on my book, lunchbox in front of the door, masks in the car. I own many too many notebooks – an organizational problem I’m helpless to overcome. Still, I love to list. And list. And list. There’s remembering in the writing.
I’ve even texted myself on occasions when I absolutely must remember to do something and don’t entirely trust myself to remember to do it. What about you? String on your finger? List on the fridge? Timer on the stove? My husband used an elastic band on his wrist. What’s sensible for me, might not be at all practical for someone else. I think I feel most successful when I find my own solutions.
If I’m to have any hope of managing all that’s on my mind and in my heart, strategies are necessary. If I’m ever to keep myself whole in an increasingly fractured world, I’ll need to remember – somewhere way down deep inside me – just what being whole feels like.