Burnout recovery tip 6: Scribbling rubbish

This post was written by Megan on October 14, 2010
Posted Under: burnout and recovery

Writing stream-of-consciousness burnout cartoon

What do you do when you've challenged yourself to write a post that you've already written about (see 'Meditating made manageable – mmm'), when it's about scribbling rubbish?

I can't scribble rubbish here – I value you too much. Still, we can re-cap and see where it takes us…Whaddyasay?

  • What
    'Scribbling rubbish' is my name for an exercise officially referred to as 'stream-of-consciousness writing' or 'free writing' (famously coined 'Morning Pages' in Julia Cameron's book 'The Artist's Way').
  • How 
    Sit down with an A4 pad and write down in long-hand whatever comes into your head. You do this for three pages, then stop. Put the pad away. Nothing else is required of you – except that you do this three-page exercise daily.
  • When
    As the name suggests, you are supposed to do this exercise in the morning. Preferably make it the first thing you do, so you are still in touch with that subconscious state you had when you were sleeping a mo' ago. But you can do it wherever you like.
  • Why 
    1. You get some awareness of what you are actually thinking. 
        (what an astounding waste of resources my mind chooses to plunder!)
    2. It helps get the 'rubbish thoughts' out of your head
         i.e. negatively unhelpful or waffle thoughts.
         (after 2-3 months, you will probably find that the junk runs out of gas about
         half way through)
    3. Once the rubbish is out, some 'higher level' thoughts start to emerge.
        (a sense of clarity, more love, more compassion – for yourself as much as anyone)


What I haven't written about yet 

Some people choose to go back and read what they had written weeks or months before. I don't, principally because I can't decipher my own writing.

However, I have been known to underline specific bits of information that I want to return to later that day. Perhaps it was an idea for a client, an inspired health approach, a good topic for a blog post, or a small thing that I forgot to do the day before.

If I underline the information, then take my pad to my desk, I'll be able to transfer the tit-bit into my life before the writing becomes completely nonsensical. 


Scribbling rubbish is not for everyone

Just because I'm addicted to it doesn't mean you're going to be. That's the theme of these 'recovery tips'. Despite what the commercials tell you, one size does not fit all.


A similar idea

If you are an auditory soul, you might prefer to garble rubbish into a microphone instead. Being burnt out, my voice can be much like my handwriting – a mumble.

Admittedly, I've never tried doing Morning Pages this way…wonder what it would be like to mumble whatever comes into my head for thirty minutes…worth a try?


This is the sixth post from my series: '13 things towards recovery from burnout'.


This post was written by Megan Hills. Megan is a writer and cartoonist who hopes that you mumble…mumble…mumble…. Find out more about Megan

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