Write Spontaneously

Writing every day is a challenge. There’s the whole finding-an-idea part, and the finding-the-time part, and the finding-the-motivation part.

Depending on my schedule, I tend to write around the same time each day. Sometimes I’ll get into the habit of writing at night, which I enjoy. Nighttime tends to make me more emotional and contemplative. When I was doing yoga every day, I did all of my writing during the day, which seemed to result in more straightforward prose and a practical voice.

Both are good. Writing at the same time every day is a powerful habit because your brain can subconsciously prepare for writing mode as the hour approaches. Or it may not.

But lately I’ve been flirting with the idea of being more spontaneous with my writing.

Writing at a regular time is good, but sometimes I feel inspired when it’s not writing time, and sometimes I don’t feel inspired when it is. As most writers will tell you, inspiration tends to strike when your pen or laptop are inaccessible — in the shower, driving, mowing the lawn, etc.

But I do have an iPhone. And it’s always in my pocket.

If I have the opportunity, why shouldn’t I write when the mood strikes, instead of capturing the idea and saying, “Oh, that’s good. I should write about that… later…”? Often when I go back and look at the idea I wrote down, I’m not as psyched about it. I may still think it’s a good idea, but the motivation to write about it has passed.

I’ve written long articles on my iPhone before — just my two thumbs and me. So it is possible. It’s just a matter of having the discipline to stop what I’m doing, open a new document, and start typing. I might be sitting in my car in a parking lot, or in the office at work, or waiting for something or someone. But a lot can be written in five minutes with real concentration.

Ubiquitous capture is something I think about often. Why not ubiquitous writing? Byword syncs right to Dropbox, where I keep all of my work. The system is in place.

One reason I haven’t done much spontaneous writing is that I convince myself I don’t have much to say beyond the idea itself. But as is often the case, once I start typing, much more than I anticipated tends to come out.

Instead of holding back ideas when they come to me — when I’m most excited about them — I’m going to try to let them become manifest as quickly as possible, regardless of the time of day. In theory, this should allow me to more genuinely capture the enthusiasm for the idea, rather than trying to recreate it when it’s “official writing time”.

We’ll see how it goes.

I hope you have a truly memorable weekend.


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