“Just keep swimming.” – Dory, Finding Nemo
Do you know how many times I have rewritten the opening sentence of this post, simply because I can’t decide what I’m actually going to write about today? A lot of times is the short and calm answer to that question. I can see at least six opening drafts above me and those are just ones I didn’t delete. Some days you just struggle finding a place to start. It’s frustrating but natural and lucky for me I have discovered a technique to get past this and today I will share it with you. Look at that! I have already found a topic for today’s post that I actually feel like writing about.
The Brain Dump.
I believe this is an extremely technical term. Basically you have to get every idea out of your head as quickly as possible. There is no time to look back, re-read, or edit. You have to keep thinking forward and let all your ideas flow, no matter how crazy. Once you get in the mode, it’s honestly like fire and there is just nothing stopping you, it’s great!
I learnt this technique as a form of rapid ideation in my second or third year of university – I couldn’t remember which year and also couldn’t stop to decide; brain dump rules. Not worrying about grammar and exact details (the perfectionist in me momentarily dies) is how you progress your ideas past the initial state. If you stop focusing on what you’ve already written, you’re able to keep going; this makes it a weirdly freeing exercise. Eventually when you do go back to edit, you may realise that the majority of what you’ve written is rubbish. That’s okay! More often than not there is a pot of gold in there too and that makes it all worth it.
It may sound ridiculous but I genuinely believe this method is one of the most brilliant techniques you could every learn for life. I use it when writing essays, creating mind maps, developing ideas for projects, and now writing a blog post as well. It’s fantastic! I started with loads of disjointed sentences and now I am probably hundreds of words through enjoying every moment because there’s no pressure to it. It’s one of the most beneficial tools I’ve learnt here and is constantly encouraged by all my lecturers, it’s fantastic! We even brain dump in groups and that can be the most random and entertaining part of a lecture – the rule is no idea is a bad idea; get everything out and refine later. It truly works!
Sometimes you just have to let go and write, or draw, or move, or anything. Letting go is how we move forward and not get caught up on the little things. Admittedly sometimes it can take a wee while to get started, as I mentioned before I wrote this post 6 times before I came to this brain dump but you know what, I got there and I enjoyed it. There’s no pressure or stress, you just let everything out and go with it.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my brain dump today and maybe learnt something too.