In Ideas, Writing

If you had read my previous post, “Be a Producer, Not a Consumer“, you would have known why I’m a big believer of producing new content.

Producing new content can be in various forms. Writing. Photographing. Video recording, Podcasting, Designing. The idea is to be proactively involved in creating new stuff.

Among all these, writing is the most crucial and the most potent. While I loosely consider myself a writer and confident of my writing skills, I’ve been frustrated with my lack of dedication to actually park my arse and put pen on paper.

I found a solution to the problem, strangely, through my daughter. One day, I took her to a writing workshop for kids.  Since they didn’t object to Parents being part of the program, I stayed on.

Among all the techniques that they taught the kids, the most impressive one was the ‘Write anything for 3 minutes‘ task. The trainer told the kids that the rule was that they should not stop writing at any time. They are free to write anything that comes to their mind. It can be a story, an essay, an incident, an experience… just about any subject under the Sun. The writer reminded that they need not worry about about typos or grammar. The important thing is to keep writing.

I will never forget the sight of the 300 young kids in the hall, their heads bent down, focusing on the paper they were writing. For an entire 3 minutes, I never saw a single head bop up.  It was amazing how focused they were. More importantly, the kids felt satisfied that they produced something original. It kindled their interest in writing. And post this exercise, I could see a visible difference in their involvement in the workshop.

I was impressed. I told myself what if I tried the same experiment. So I tweaked the method to  write 500 words. And instead of 3 minutes, I made it before 9am.

The topic can be anything.  It can be a personal diary, a blog post, an article for a newspaper, a page for my next book, a tweet.  It can be a parts of all these. The important thing is for me to write. And to cross the 500 words mark.

True, not everything I write will be of good quality. It doesn’t matter. Remember, the experiment with the kids. If the trainer had told the kids to ‘Write an interesting essay within 3 minutes’, then 90% of the kids would have got stuck. They would be under pressure to not only to think of a subject but also under pressure to make it interesting.  I realized that the same thing applies to me. So far, I was pressuring myself into creating” meaningful” content. If I wasn’t sure how meaningful it is, I would invariably procrastinate. And slowly, I was losing the very habit of writing. Its shocking that in  the whole of 2011, I had written less than two dozen blog posts.

Now, the focus is on writing. Its on getting back into the writing habit. Getting myself into the groove. Once the habit sets in, I can turn my focus towards improving the quality.

It looks like the experiment is already working. I realize that I have just crossed the 500 words mark. 519 to be exact! And the time is just 8:22 am!