we’re going to start with an exercise. i want you to get a clock with a second-hand. a watch is fine. a stopwatch is better. a computer is decidedly ok. but what you need to be able to do is know when minutes are over.

now that we have that on the table, get a piece of paper and a pen. check to make sure that the pen works. it’s easier to write with ink than with an empty pen. that simply gets more difficult than it needs to be. and we’re going for easy here.

i want you to take each of the following topics and write whatever comes to mind for one minute each. don’t erase, read back, correct mistakes, or stop writing until one minute is up. got that? here are the topics. there are only three.

  • pineapples
  • moose
  • umbrellas


now i want you to go back and count the words in each one. what happens to the numbers? do they increase?

i can guarantee that they do. you are getting more comfortable with the pen and the paper. i know i said that computer-based writing is good. but we have to start somewhere and this gives us a lack of distraction. now i want you to do the same thing for three minutes each with the following five subjects. i’ll talk about why these particular subjects in a moment but, for now, simply trust me that i know where we’re going and write some words down. they don’t need to make sense but you can’t stop for three minutes. that’s fifteen minutes total. yes, writers can add. sometimes.

  • carrots
  • diamonds
  • pencils
  • kittens
  • caribou


now count the words. the increase is normal. and the subjects are getting more difficult. but you didn’t stop because you had to keep writing. now i want you to do the exercise one more time. five minutes each. and the subjects will be more interesting. they’ll even be sentences. which is exciting.

  • mangos are the source of inspiration.
  • carpet is a happy place for dinner.
  • the telephone is the end of knowledge.


there you have it. we’ll talk about it in detail next time what you’re going to do with this skill that you don’t know you’ve developed yet. but it’s a start. until next time.