Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Jam Writing: Discovering Great Content

After writing this blog for a year, I have discovered that I am writing more than ever did in school. Almost every thing I ever write in school I hated doing, not because the writing was homework, but because of the approach I took.

Forced Writing

Even though I write for my blog and for school, I feel writing assignments in school were forced writing because homework assignments were of this form:

  • Write a poem
  • Write a 500 word essay
  • Write a 5 page short story

So, when I go home, I fixated on the length of the writing, never on the content.

Once in a Blue Moon

Whenever, I got a great mark in writing… I never understood why. I do remember for those assignments I stayed up all night and under the time pressure, come up with something great, or exhausted all other options and just said: let’s just go with this, finished the assignment and handed it in.

There was no real understanding of how I got to good writing because taking the same process did not produce the same results.

One thing I did understand: good writing is about good content, not the length!

I found a way to consistently get to good content, it’s a writing tool called: Jam Writing.

Jam Writing

Jam writing is a tool I discovered in a course, How to be a Superstar Student by Tim McGee, and found it invaluable.

Honestly, I believe Jam Writing fixes the way I learned’writing’ to me in school, which caused me to focus on the length of writing, not its content.

Jam Writing allows one to discover great content inside themselves. It’s so easy, anyone can do it.

Essence

Basically, Jam writing is free form writing with a timer. In the period you are jam writing, whatever is in your head, goes on the page. No editing, no spelling corrections, no moving items around. Just writing whatever you are thinking.

If you are thinking: “this is so stupid”, write: “this is so stupid” on the page.

How to do Jam Writing

The most basic requirements: get two sheets of paper, pen & a timing device.

  1. Start timer for 15min.
  2. Start writing on of one sheets.
  3. When you complete a line, use the second sheet to cover it.
  4. Repeat until 15min is over.
  5. At end of 15 min, read over page and take good ideas.
  6. Throw out sheet(s).
  7. Repeat process as necessary.

Practice Topics

A good way to experience Jam Writing is to practice. Some topics to use to practice:

  • Where do you want to be instead of here?
  • What is your favorite animal?
  • Who was your first love?

Write for 15 minutes using the Jam Writing technique and at the end, ask yourself if there is something on the page(s) which you did not think of.

I was definitely surprised when I tried Jam Writing the first time. I was over come with emotion on what I wrote on the page. I really discovered something new about me I did not think of.

It’s difficult to explain and I recommend everyone try it once.

If you do try it, tweet or email your experience. I want to hear other people’s experience with the same process.

Find out more

If you want to find out more, a great way will be to check out the original video I watched. The first edition is by Tim McGee and a used copy is currently the price of a cappucino.

Also, Tim McGee has made another video on Jam Writing that also explains his process of discovering Jam Writing.

Conclusion

Writing used to be such a pain for me in school. I could never get a good grade for writing, but sometimes I would get lucky, and never understood why.

After discovering Jam Writing, I have found a tool that helps develop ideas for writing. It has been such a wonderful tool that it has helped me blog over a year and not feel ‘burnt out’.

I recommend everyone try out Jam Writing, especially if there’s a writing assignment due soon!

After understanding Jam Writing more, I can start to understand Flannery O’Connor’s motivation to write:

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.
                                               – Flannery O’Connor