How to Start a Writing Practice that Produces Lasting Positive Change

DirectionLife1EDITDecember 21, 2015


The point of starting a writing practice is to explore your mind, your thinking, and your life in a new way.

Writing is one way to develop the brain and test its limits—the same way that athletes do cardio, train with weights, and eat with intention—variety is important. This is to say that writing is just one piece in an overall healthy brain. Other components include thinking, problem solving, working, playing, dreaming, imagining, exercise and nutrition.

In some ways, freewriting is the easiest way to challenge the brain because there is no right or wrong way to do it. All that is important is that it is done. So, allow your writing practice to surprise you. Don’t put any artificial limits or expectations on it.

That said, here are a few tips:

Start small and remove expectations.

Start small. Begin with 4-5 mins per day. This helps to develop the habit. It’s only 5 mins per day…that’s .00347% of one day! Starting small also creates an understanding that writing doesn’t “have” to be anything. Your writing practice should be a stress free and relaxed process.

Be consistent and commit to it.

Commit to 5 minuets a day for 30 days. If you are not impressed after a month, you can stop. No one is forcing any of this.

Use prompts.

Prompts give the mind a starting place, like a springboard into bigger ideas. Don’t restrict yourself to staying on the prompt, allow your thinking and your pen to wander. Oftentimes, your mind will stumble upon great truths.

Look below the surface for clues.

Our brains have comfort zones. These are ideas that they prefer to consider and return to time and time again. Good, bad, or ugly, our brains have a hard time letting go of some beliefs, even if they are unproductive to our overall vision of life. As you progress in your writing practice, it won’t take long to skim your entries and find patterns and habits in your thoughts. (This is also why it’s good to be consistent). Reviewing your work is a great way to identify possible obstacles present in your thinking that are holding you back from growing, changing, and evolving. Remember, it’s difficult to change what you don’t know is there. Freewriting brings a lot of ideas to the surface for examination—it can be surprising!

Questions Worth Asking: 50 Days Worth of Prompts

  1. What would my perfect day look like?
  2. What is my best quality?
  3. In what ways am I similar to how I was as a kid?
  4. What are the details of my dream house?
  5. Would I want to win the lottery? Why or why not?
  6. How is the world different today than it was 100 years ago?
  7. Why do we watch TV?
  8. What are five things that I like about myself?
  9. What are three ways that I add value to the lives of those around me?
  10. In what ways do I add value to the world at large?
  11. If I were offered a trip to explore Mars, would I go? What if it were only one way?
  12. Am I holding on to any grudges?
  13. What are the most important qualities in a friend?
  14. Who are my mentors, who do I look up to and why?
  15. What is the tone of my inner monologue?
  16. What is my general outlook on life?
  17. What are my core beliefs about why I am here?
  18. What types of messages do I repeat to myself throughout the day?
  19. What is the purpose of my life?
  20. What action can I take today to feel better about my life?
  21. What obstacles do I see in my way?
  22. What is my biggest fear?
  23. How do I cope with stress?
  24. What are five things that I would like to see more of in my life?
  25. What are some qualities in others that I admire?
  26. What is my adult version of playtime?
  27. Do I like to be alone? Why or why not?
  28. What does it mean to feel balanced?
  29. How old do I think I will live to be?
  30. What do I do with my freetime?
  31. How often do I use the phrase, “I should…”
  32. What are my favorite subjects to talk about with others?
  33. What types of things do I want to learn more about?
  34. What types of conversations make me cringe?
  35. What do I actively avoid talking about with others?
  36. What are five ways that I could practice better self-love and self-care?
  37. What action could I take before the day is over to practice one of the above?
  38. Who are my five heroes in life (people who I know personally)?
  39. Who are my five heroes in life (famous, historical, or otherwise)?
  40. What qualities do my heroes embody that I, too, would like to develop?
  41. If I were an animal, which one would I be and why?
  42. How is the modern world changing and what do I think about it?
  43. If I were on a desert island, what five objects would I bring and why?
  44. Will computers ever be smarter and more capable than humans?
  45. If aliens landed and asked me to show them around, where would I start?
  46. What is the most important (non-essential) activity in a person’s life?
  47. Have I been living from my strengths?
  48. Where do I see myself in 5 years? 10 years? 20 years?
  49. What is the meaning of life?
  50. If I were to get in a rocket ship and travel straight up, how far could I go? How far is up?

Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.

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