I like Julia Cameron’s suggestion in The Artist’s Way that if you want to become a writer, you start by doing your “morning pages”, three pages you’ll write without worrying about content or consequences. However, I must note that Julia wasn’t the first to come up with this idea. One of her precursors was Ludwig Börne (1786-1837), a German political writer and satirist who interested Freud, who told his friend and biographer Ernest Jones that Börne was the first author he ever “got caught up in”.
Börne’s essay “The Art of Becoming an Original Writer in Three Days”, encouraged Freud to trust free association in his counseling sessions. It offers useful guidance for writers, accomplished or wannabe:
Take a few sheets of paper and for three days in succession write down, without any falsification or hypocrisy, everything that comes into your head. Write down what you think of yourself, or the Turkish war, of Goethe, of a criminal case, of the Last Judgment, of your boss – and when the three days are over you will be amazed at what novel and startling thoughts have spilled out of you. This is the art of becoming an original writer in three days.
This may get you under way. I must add that, for regular writing practice, there is something even better than the morning pages or the three-day ramble, and this is timed writing. Give yourself just 15 minutes, 30 minutes tops, and see what you can deliver in that period. You may be amazed by how much you – and your creative daimon – can bring through.