Unless you’re someone with an inhuman brainpower, writing as a profession or even as a hobby can easily wipe you out. It is an activity that relies heavily on your creativity and perseverance. It also takes a lot of energy and stamina to produce a well-written story. And if you’re just an ordinary human like I am, the thought of giving up when things get tough can become very tempting. But don’t fret – there’s no writing problem we can’t fix!
In the first few months of my writing career, I can’t tell you just how much I used to complain about my lack of good ideas – emphasis on the word ‘good’. Sure, a lot of ideas may pass through my thoughts every now and then. But sadly, not all of them are actually good enough to work with.
I was once told that good ideas don’t come simply because I still have a lot of mediocre ones taking up space in my mind. But the sad part is, I’m not just housing bad ideas in there. Anything that takes away energy from my own mind is another obstacle to my writing. And this includes my worries, my anxieties, and even my everyday musings.
This is when I first heard about brain dumping. I simply wanted a solution that can help me free up some brain space so I picked up a couple of books that might help me out. One of the books that helped me out of the rut is David Allen. In his book, Getting Things Done, he talks about how brain dumping can boost your productivity level. And I thought that this piece of information could be helpful for other writers as well.
What Is Brain Dumping?
There are a lot of benefits that can be gained from brain dumping your everyday thoughts – especially for writers! If this is your first time hearing about ‘brain dumping’, this concept has actually been around for quite some time.
In a nutshell, brain dumping is basically a method to clear out your own thoughts. The most common way of brain dumping is by grabbing a pen and writing down everything that’s in your mind. Relaying your thoughts onto paper without any limitations is said to be a stress reliever as well.
It gives your mind more room to breathe and more space for creative ideas. Due to the speed and ease of how we absorb information nowadays; it’s not a surprise that our brains can get crowded real fast too – and this is where brain dumping for writers comes in.
After all, even the most high-tech of computers have limited disk space and memory; human beings are the same too.
How Brain Dumping For Writers Can Write
I used to be so confident about remembering things – especially if it had anything to do with my writing projects. I had this impression that as long as you’re young, memory should be the least of your problems.
But right after I started out my writing career, I quickly learned that getting worn out can happen pretty fast –no matter what age you are. My mother probably has a better memory than I do today and she’s about 69 years old!
Ideas, self-expression, and information are the core of any written piece. I tend to think that a beautiful piece of writing is an organized and edited form of brain dumping. With that in mind, the habit of brain dumping should be organic to writers.
And aside from it being a great way to avoid information overload and unnecessary stress, we can also reap some other benefits that will help our writing as well. Here’s how brain dumping for writers can help your writing:
Your Notes Are Private
If you’re anything like me, you’re not comfortable about writing down something less than perfection. I was the type of writer who despised rereading my silly ideas and corny lines. Ironically, I did not mind it at all when it comes down to my diary. I could write exactly as how my thoughts were. If my brain could talk, that was how it would sound like.
I also write personal notes on my daily planner. Aside from jotting down deadlines and chores, I write ideas that come to me out of nowhere. It could be the thought I had while having coffee with a friend. Or it could be something I overheard someone tell their friend on the phone.
There were silly jokes, random doodles, and funny stories. Without even knowing it, I was writing without any hesitation. The good thing about brain dumping is that you can always tell yourself that no one is going to read it anyway, giving yourself the absolute freedom to write without any worries.
You Can Listen To Your Thoughts
Pouring down all your thoughts and feelings onto paper provides you a better view on your everyday life. After all, it’s hard to notice the overall condition of something when you’re so focused on smaller details.
I believe that brain dumping for writers should become a daily habit. There were times in my life when I just felt so tired without knowing the reason why. But after brain dumping, my notes told me exactly why. I noticed that I had just too much going on. And looking at all that on paper made me more conscious about the way I live my life.
As a writer, having an everyday record of our thoughts helps us to find our voice as a writer. By writing down our thoughts no holds barred, we get an inside look at how our minds think and process information.
It’s A Step To Organizing Your Thoughts
Brain Dumping is not meant to be neat, but it can be a first step towards organizing your ideas. During one of my brain dumping sessions, I decided to create categories on my notebook. I then designated different pages for each type of category. A page is dedicated for all of the important notes, another page for interesting things and another just for doodling.
You can do it however you like; an important rule of thumb is to label your thoughts. At the end of the day, you can reflect on what your mind has been busy on.
Your Notebook Is An Idea Vault
I dislike running out of ideas. Managing a blog, writing articles for clients, guest posting and novel writing can squeeze out my creative juices real fast. But as writers, one cannot deny that we are innately creative – we can think about a ton of brilliant ideas!
The problem is, we are just human and we are imperfect. There will always be bad writing days. Just when the time calls for those bright ideas to come, our muse has left us. But thanks to brain dumping, your notes can actually save you! Read the previous pages and you might find a bright idea. But without a brain-dump notebook, you may not be able to remember that great cliffhanger you thought of a month ago!
It’s Healthy For Your Brain
It’s no doubt that writers use their brain a lot – both creatively and technically. I know a lot of authors who can be so absorbed with their projects that they tend to forget other responsibilities. If you’re one of those types, I invite you to give brain dumping for writers a try. Always remember that while writing may seem like the world to you (it is, I know) your health – mental and physical, as well as your relationships with the people around you are the factors that build you to become the writer that you are today. Cherish these moments and treat them as a source of information.
Share Your Story
Have you tried brain dumping yet? Which method of brain dumping did you try and was it helpful for you as a writer? Why or why not? Share your past experiences on the comments below.