Development, Learning, Staying Curious, Story, Writing

Wild Mind Writing & Doing What I Do


Of course when Nick talks about “Wild Mind Writing” I become very alert. Everyone in the group seems to have heard of it – a practice, attributed to Natalie Goldberg, by which you write, free-form, without edit, censure or pause for a period of time.
Don’t stop.
Keep writing.
Keep writing.
Even if there is nothing to say – write blah blah blah until the words come.
Don’t worry about spelling or syntax.
Don’t stop.
Keep Writing.
And, Nick invites wryly, go for the jugular with it. Don’t mess about. Write wild.
(I hear this translated into Scots: “gie it some laldy, girl”)

I haven’t heard of Wild Mind Writing before – or maybe I have and haven’t been paying attention – but the practice, this practice, is as familiar to me as drinking tea… it is precious, beloved and necessary.

I write. I write pretty much every day when there is time and if I don’t, after a few days I know about it. I write to make sense of what is. Of what has been.
I write to organise my thoughts.
I write to my future self – capturing the here-and-now – knowing one day, I may want or need to look back and understand how it was for me then.
I write to learn and to show myself that I have learned.
It is, in many ways, an utterly selfish act – for me, for my sanity, for a sense of myself… and sometimes it becomes less-so, when I share it or blog it….
I write as I think. Short sharp sentences. Or longer, more fluid more complex ones. I delight in words. In vocabulary and expression and rhythm.

I’m darkly chuckling at the topic we are asked to Write Wild on.
I have a history of being inarticulate around the business, my practice, my Why.
So when Nick turns the flip over & the words: WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO? pop up, I sort of groan/smile. Of course it would be this.

Before I share what I wrote (and it is personal..and it feels risky to share it…and that’s what happens when you write-and-share yourself.. when you put bits of yourself out into the world for scrutiny, because Lord-only KNOWS what folk will make of it…and I’m still not always OK with that…and I think it’s important to do it anyway) I’m making the invitation to try this out.
Set a clock – 5 mins or 10… we did 7 mins.
Find paper & a nice pen with flowing ink… or fire up your laptop.
And write. To yourself. To anyone. To No-one. And see what comes.
And when the first layer of words are gone?
Go deeper. What next? What more? What else?
See where it takes you.

Feel free to send it to me ( or post it below in the comments) …. I’d rather read 5 minutes of someone’s rough and ready genuine inner thoughts than 50 pages of crafted, polished blurb.

So as one who works with folks in transition, as one who wants folk to learn and develop, to grow and be just kind of amazing….. Why do I do what I do?
These are my words:

I do what I do because I get something from it. Personally, Professionally – what is the something? Dunno. Satisfaction, personal progression – a sense of learning and newness – a sense of getting better and wiser and more able.
I do it to push myself. To encourage others by sharing what I learned – and I love it and it scares me and it costs me. I have to show myself everyday. That’s actually hard for me.
This is my practice, my 10,000 hours, the thing I seek as my mastery, my vocation – because there is privilege in passing stuff on. In showing and sharing because through this I am alive – I am in relation to others – connected to different worlds.
I get to travel. To explore. It is anthropological and satisfying. It is terrifying and frustrating. I’m wrong. A lot.
I hear stuff that makes me want to spit. Cockwomblery and W*nkpuffinage… so much BS about organisations and future and disrupt-hack-fecking-VUCA….
For me it’s quieter. It’s about self. It starts and ends with you. With me.
The more I know myself? The more I understand my context and reactions and can articulate these? The more I face into my fears? The bigger I become – more expansive. More generous. Kinder. Wiser. More robust.


image: Bartek Zyczynski/ Shutterstock

13 thoughts on “Wild Mind Writing & Doing What I Do”

  1. Wow, great piece Julie. The last bit about self – you and the other – is brilliant because you focus on exactly what makes transformative change and learning possible. It’s not about the models and jargon and tools. It’s about one person in relation to another. Nicely done.

    1. Sarah, I”m naming you as one of the Wild writers who sent their stuff through – my humblest thanks for sharing, Its been insightful and an honour to get all the good stuff through.
      Thank you, as always, for your comments and your sharing x

      1. My thanks to you Julie for inspiring me and others to dig in and wild write. Probably the best way to honour that is to keep it up – I’ll try my best 🙂

  2. I’ve always called it a “Free Write” – same thing, but for me, not time structured. I havlen’t does any for a while, but some of my most out of the box things came that way, Write to discover what you think, what you feel – let the loose associations and flights of ideas (Yes, in my profession, those are symptoms – so what) happen – discover – mine it later for the gold and gems. Thanks, Julie

    1. Love it, Bob. Thank you, as always, for your kind words an unerring support. Free Wild Writing it is, then !

  3. Someone told me to buy ‘Writing Down the Bones’ a few years ago when they realised how important writing was to me and it is worth the read.

    I’ve also found writing my way of understanding the world. I have written diaries on and off all my life – in notebooks or online. I often write to work out what I think and feel about things..sometimes I share those thoughts through formal blogs. Othertimes it is just for the sake of the process and to help myself make sense of stuff. If I’m unsure about something, I may just open notepad, type away and then delete. When I was very unwell a few years ago I wrote whole notebooks of scribbings in a few days as it helped me make sense of my situation. Sometimes I stop writing and I think my general ability to think suffers as a result. I often go back to it during times of stress.

    I like what you have written about your work. I think it makes sense and I’m not sure you need to articulate your business – you sell yourself. You are you and that’s what people are buying. 🙂

    1. Sorry for the delay in replying, Lesley.
      I’m reading your words going: yes. Yup. Uh-huh… sounds like me….I didn’t realise it was such a big thing for you too.
      Thank you for replying… I love it when folk do and for your kind words x

  4. Thanks for the reminder… I started writing Morning Pages about 3 years ago (a la Julia Cameron’s Artist Way) — with the original intention of having some unstructured time to free write… but it’s devolved into exploring my todos for the day, without much creativity or zest. I love the term wild mind writing… it’s been ages since I wrote free without regards to what I was writing – thanks!

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