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Think Good Thoughts

January 28, 2010

Think About It!

I think a lot.  I think ALL THE TIME.  I think of zillions of things… so much so that my brain feels like O’Hare Airport with ideas taking off and landing  CONSTANTLY!  (No, contrary to popular belief, I do not have ADD.)

There are lots of different kinds of thoughts competing for my brain space… worry thoughts, creative thoughts, emotional thoughts, work thoughts… you get the idea.  Some days the thought clutter is just too much and I feel like I can’t focus on one thought well because of all the competition from the others.

Here’s what I do about it and I SWEAR it works!  I sit down for AT LEAST ten minutes and write down (longhand!) EVERY thought… Yes, I mean EVERY thought, no matter how far-fetched.  In my psych world, this is called “stream-of consciousness” thinking.  When I first started doing this, my page read something like this:

“What should I write?…Drat, Grace forgot her lunch.  I sure am tired.  I don’t know what to write.  I need to remember to get the oil changed on the van today.  I wonder if it will snow later?  Gee, these thoughts are so profound…”

What this apparently pointless little exercise does is off-load all the clutter.  Call it a “brain drain”, if you will. There is no real need to look back at what you wrote.  Just get it out of your head.

In her seminal book on the subject of creativity, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron calles these morning pages and suggests that you do this every morning for THREE FULL PAGES. Nothing is too silly, too stupid, too petty, or too weird to be included. This is not a diary, journal or anything meant for anyone but you.  Cameron recommends that even YOU don’t look back on them for the first eight weeks or so.

“All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity. …this stuff eddies through our subconscious and muddies our days.  Get it on the page.” (p. 11)

No matter what your job… tinker, tailor, soldier, spy, you need some clarity of thought and the ability to focus to be your best.  So whether you can manage ten minutes or have time for three pages… get writing.   I guarantee that after a time you will find that the results are so amazing that you will do it for a lifetime.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 29, 2010 8:40 am

    I used to have a creative writing book back in the early 90’s called Writing Down The Bones by Nancy Goldberg (not sure about the last name) in which she advocating exactly what you are talking about. She also talked about making sure you turn off your “internal editor”. That is the difficult part for me.

    Anyway, this is a wonderful idea and I will get started on it today. Thanks.


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