Often the most difficult part of writing is allowing myself to slow down and listen for the ideas. Although writing ideas can come from news items, conversations, and experiences, a story still requires some quiet contemplation to develop. At least for me it does.
I’ve been trying a new technique recently that I call “sprint thinking.” (The name comes from “spring writing” that I sometimes do with friends.) For sprint thinking I take half an hour, set the timer on my phone, then put the ringer on silent and turn it face down. I have my paper journal notebook and a pen in hand, and that’s it. I sit, look at the trees out my window, watch the birds. No turning over the phone to see how much time has elapsed. If an idea or thought comes to me that is worth writing down, I write it down, but I don’t force it.
Thirty minutes of quiet passes more quickly than you might think. But you have to allow yourself to slow down, and let your imagination take over. Maybe not a bad idea for non-writers as well. We could all use some slowing down.
A few more basic rules for spring thinking: something hot or cold to drink and a snack are allowed; if the phone buzzes, you may check to see who called or texted, but don’t answer unless it’s urgent. And think carefully about what “urgent” really means.
Sprint think. Try it. I would love to hear how it works for you. Below is a photo of the view from my deck, where I do a lot of sprint thinking.