Writing at the speed of thought

my beautiful pfutsero (July 2012)
What do you do when you want to write but you have nothing to write? What do you do when you want to write something thoughtful but you can’t think of anything? This is what you can do: You start to write that you want to write but you can’t think of anything to write. And so you keep on writing whatever comes to mind although they may not be making much sense. You don’t pause to think, but you just keep on typing away. No. You don’t stop to think. You just let your fingers roll over the keyboard. Now. What do you have? You already have a paragraph. Wonderful. Now, you press Enter and start the next paragraph.

Ok. A new paragraph and nothing yet to write about. Ok. How did you spend your day today? I went to hospital to look after a sick relative who was operated yesterday. Ok. I’m into something. I don’t know if this relative of mine should be called ‘cousin’. I’m really bad at this. I don’t know who to call a cousin, a nephew, a niece. I even get confused about uncles and aunties. I once called someone in my village ‘father’ (not biological father, of course) when I should be calling him ‘grandfather’. I remember I have looked up in the dictionary sometime back. But I still can’t make out the difference. A relative. Let’s stop at that. If I’m asked how we are related, let me say that it is from my dad’s side. My dad and his dad were relatives and so, we are relatives. After going to the hospital, I went to office. I did a lot of work today. I wrote the meeting minutes of the meeting that was held two days back. Yesterday, I couldn’t go to office as the relative was operated in the hospital. Now back to the meeting. The meeting was about the monitoring and supervision visits that medical directorate officers undertake. I have been in-charge, making the tour calendars and analyzing the monitoring reports that the touring officers bring back from the field. Let’s not go into the details of the meeting, shall we? This is just an outline of how I spent my day. And I sent a lot of emails to colleagues in the 11 districts of Nagaland. 

After coming from office, I fixed my television antenna. After the heavy monsoon rain, I’ve not been getting signals for a lot of channels on my TV. So, how did I fix it? By simply shaking the TataSky dish. It worked, although some channels are still not clear. Then I went to see how the relative has been doing after he got discharged from the hospital. He’s much better. But so eager to come home from hospital, they forgot to buy the medicines. So, it was already dark but I had to go to a pharmacy in town to buy the medicines. After dinner, I read a wonderful piece of article that a friend in Cranfield University, UK wrote. He’s going to present it in a seminar and is thinking of publishing it. I encouraged him (through email) to publish it. After that, I did a little office work but stopped myself thinking that should be all for the day. Then, still having some time before I hit the sack, I wanted to write something. And that is when I landed up in this writing exercise that I am doing right now.

This method of writing is called, ‘writing at the speed of thought’. Especially when you have mental block (I won’t say ‘Writer’s Block, for I don’t consider myself a Writer yet), it is really, really useful. When I started writing, I wanted to write something great. I wrote a few sentences but deleted them as they were leading me nowhere. I come across such times very often; starring at a clean MS Word page for minutes and going nowhere. Now, with this exercise, I have not gone anywhere far. But at least I have over 600 words written in a few minutes and a kind of good feeling about myself. Not a bad way to end the day.


  1. Hi I have a hundred letters to draft and files to look into but I sat and read what you wrote....and I began wondering why I am reading someone elses busy day report and not getting anything done ...but I read it anyway and i find myself commenting now...got lots to do..think IL play games instead...should clear my mind for a while...i want to try this method of writing next week when I go to Kiphire I guess ill have enough time to write about absolutely nothing at all...but atleast il be writing....chooo thats my train of thoughts now..reminds me of Virginia Woolfe's stream of consciousness method ...try that its fun


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