Comments 20

Give Yourself Permission to Write Garbage!


During those days when the words won’t flow, and ideas simply won’t come – don’t pack up your writing tools.  Instead, allow yourself to write garbage!  It could just be what you need!

Make it fun!  I have a “garbage writing” notebook where I write as I please.  It’s more than just freewriting, it’s funwriting.  It’s my writer’s playground where there are absolutely no rules. I allow myself to write in any fashion and form – big letters are allowed. The notebook is also where I do brainstorming for my articles, posts and would-be books. Possible titles and story ideas are written in big, bold letters – sometimes with lots of curls on the tips of the letters.

It’s a fine, fun way to give the writer in you a break from all the serious writing.  In “Writing on Both Sides of the Brain,” Henriette Anne Klauser wrote: “Giving yourself permission to write garbage is like having a compost pile in the backyard. It might smell a little and even look yucky, but it provides a fertile environment for some great stuff to grow.”

In my funwriting notebook, there are many big, bold letters. You’ll read words like “yippee!” “yehey!” and “writing spree!” It’s a no-holds-barred venue for the child in me to write gleefully and cheerfully.  It never fails to bring back the joy of writing.

Try it – it’s free and fun!

Photo courtesy of Morguefile


  1. Anne LaMott has a term for this: SFD (shitty first drafts). I use this a lot when I start writing an assignment late in the afternoon when my brain’s on half-speed. I write as much as I can and don’t judge. The next day, when I look at the work, it’s amazing how much better it is than I thought. Sometimes I end up rewriting a lot of it. Either way, it’s so much better to start the day with something on the page.



    • Thanks for the visit, Michelle, and for organizing the WordCount Blogathon. I haven’t tried writing a first draft but when I do, I’ll keep in mind Anne LaMott’s SFD. In the meantime, I’ll play around in my notebook. 🙂


  2. Sounds a little bit like NaNoWriMo, an international writing competition (competing against a 50,000 word deadline in 30 days, not competing against other writers) held every November. You spit out 50,000 words – no editing, no thought – and a number of authors have taken those 50,000 word dumps and turned them into published books.


    • I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo, but didn’t realize it was a no editing, no thought affair. I’m a non-fiction writer, and I hope someone will come up with NaNonFiWriMo soon, so I can try this out in a bigger venue. Thanks for the visit!


  3. Right in line with my blog today! In doing these blogathons, I’ve learned to shoot from the hip, let it fly, if only in short bursts but it’s great exercise for me. I think I would’ve had an easier time of it if I’d learned this before writing my three books.


  4. Yup, Rossandra, read your post and I agree that after blogging everyday, one worries less about what to post. Shooting from the hip – could very well be another phrase for funwriting.


  5. I love this idea! Its true that writing everyday gets tiring sometimes and its good to know its okay to sometimes write without editing and with just fun in mind!


  6. Such a good idea. Some days I feel like “I got nuthin” but if I sit and write something, anything, I can come back later and all of a sudden it flows. I guess that’s the shitty first draft (or second/third). I am very new at all of this. Your blog is a treasure trove of helpful information. I’ll be hanging around for a long time.


  7. Pingback: June 28th, Day 179: | Abra Alani

  8. I like the idea of a designated “garbage” notebook. I have a free writing journal that I write in every morning but I see the wisdom of having a place to write whatever comes to mind without the pressure of having it make sense or fit into a project. I think I have an excuse to get another pretty notebook.


  9. Pingback: Why Writers Keep Journals | Writing on the Pages of Life

  10. If you don’t mind, I’m working on a little garbage myself and hope to post it later today with reference to this rockin’ page. I love the idea of keeping a notebook for all those free writes and unfinished thoughts. Thanks for the inspiration!


  11. Pingback: This Post is Garbage | Parchment Cadenza

  12. Pingback: Writing and the Forgotten Art of Savoring | Writing on the Pages of Life

  13. Pingback: Writer's block and allowing yourself to create trash (+ Writing Challenge) » Mid Opinion

Thank you for taking the time to comment!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s