May 17, 2008

Fast writing

A nice technique which helps people to organize their thoughts and come up with interesting ideas is the exercise Fast writing which I once found in the book Accidental Genius: Revolutionize Your Thinking Through Private Writing (2000). This exercise can both be used individually and in groups.
In this personal writing technique you write for 10 minutes without interruption and with worrying about grammatical or spelling mistakes. In short: write what you think. if you use the exercise in a team it is important to agree that other people don't get to read what you have written. Writing on for 10 minutes is harder than it seems at first. When you get stuck and you don't know what to write anymore you can use attention shifters. These are questions that may help you find new perspectives and counters to help you find new things to write about. A few examples of attention shifters are: 'What is the most interesting thing I have written until now?', 'What would a wise person say about this?' or 'What would be a completely different way of approaching this topic?'’
When people do this exercise, afterwards they are often surprised by how much they have been able to produce within only 10 minutes. While they are writing, you can often suddenly see a smile appearing on their faces. When you ask them afterwards what that smile was about, they usually say things like: ‘I suddenly had a magnificent idea' or 'I suddenly found a completely new way to approach my problem'.
Like I said, fast writing can be done both individually and in groups. When a team gets stuck on a topic for instance, you can invite them to write 10 minutes about it and to exchange any ideas this may have led to afterwards. You probably will have some interesting things to talk about.

1 comment:

  1. Coert,

    This is a good idea that I haven't used in a long time. Good to be reminded of it. I think I may check out the book too for more good ideas.



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