Writing for The Trash

Writing for The Trash
Photo by the blowup / Unsplash

Every morning, or at least every day that I'm fortunate enough to write, I spend my first twenty to thirty minutes writing for THE TRASH!
I'm not sure where I got the idea; maybe a mix of productivity gurus spouting off about how they're artists because they do morning pages, or maybe it's something I've picked up from Dorothea Brande, a writer who produced ungodly amounts of books at the turn of the last century. (I plan on talking about her soon).
But anyway, how writing for THE TRASH! is made is simple:

  1. You wake up and go to a clear desk, a clear spot that has nothing other than your writing implements. It can be a pad and pen. It can be a typewriter (or a "smart one" like my personal favorite, "the Freewrite."), But no, it shouldn't be your laptop or iPad or anything that has the sinkholes of time-wasting distractions.
  2. You write whatever comes to mind and do not erase, do not go back, and you keep going. You feast upon those dreams that still remain, chase those whisps at the corner of your eye, seethe about the slight from the coworker the day before, hope about how the day, the week, the rest of your life will be, or even the problem from your personal/professional/spiritual life that you haven't given any of your time toward.
  3. When the time is up, you file it away. At the end of a week or a month, go back and decide if this entry (or any of the others) is worth more work to turn into something shareable with the world or keep it in your cabinet of trash.

It's pretty simple. It does a lot of things. For most people, it would get the monkey off their backs; that nagging thing they haven't had a chance to address in one manner or another has gotten fresh twenty-thirty minutes of focused thought. For writers and other storytellers, it is the mine where our notions and hunches can be articulated into something to work on. I imagine, too, if you're in another discipline, this sort of practice will help you not only generate ideas (which are cheap) but give you a test of whether or not there's enough value in the idea: if you return to it after you've laid down three hundred plus words, then it's probably something worthwhile.

And there's that bigger thing, for me, on days when I can't work on my novel, it's a little stab into the dark of that dread of a day not writing. It doesn't satisfy the itch fully, but for me, it turns into the pseudo journal that allows me to complain about not writing, and it sometimes gets me to write other things I usually don't have patience for.

Like letters to others. Like this little post. And I feel good about it.

And if you wrote for THE TRASH for a couple of weeks, you'd feel pretty good, too. And if you didn't, no one ever needs to see your trash.