Unstructured writing the path to creative writing?



Thanks to an article I randomly discovered (the method of discovery becoming more pertinent as I read on) at FiveThirtyEight.com I realise that I have no reason to feel so alone in a writing process which is generally pretty scattered and random. The start of my own  writing process takes one of three directions which will eventually lead me to a story. These random explosions are then written down somewhere (not in an organised fashion) then looked at later to try and pull something out of them.

I feel I’m pretty good at coming up with titles (most of the time) and they usually spark a story into life, because they can sum a whole story up in one sentence. The title-origination is the closest I ever get to writing a story from the actual start.

Random Sentence
Often I will just have a random sentence from nowhere which has no place in anything, has no context or bigger concept to it.

Paragraph idea
The bigger version of the random sentence is when an obscure paragraph just falls out of my head. Again, it doesn’t matter what kicked it off, it’s just an unstructured, yet expanded thought which will end up getting worked into a story somewhere and at some point. I have had paragraphs which have started life in one story and have ended up in another, that’s how random things get.

What all those sparks of creativity have in common is that they are just scattered, random and fragmented thoughts which have appeared through zero planning or structured thought.

But maybe this isn’t a bad thing. Maybe working in such an unstructured and unplanned way is the best way to get into the room where your creativity is stored. Usually, I have to put my shoulder against the door and shove hard if I actually stop and try to structure and plan something for a story. When that happens, for me creativity is hard to get a hold of.

Some people don’t get the randomness, the unstructured work and thought process. But it is a part of what has made me a writer and while I don’t feel bad about frankly being a disorganised mess, but still it’s nice having a bit of confirmation that I may actually be working in an ideal way to produce creative work.

It’s all down to a study based on an algorithmic principle which “pointed the way to creativity in science, art, culture and life,” as highlighted in a book by scientist Kenneth Stanley called “Why Greatness Cannot Be Planned: The Myth of the Objective.”

Serendipity may not be as random as it makes itself out to be. There is a great site called Picbreeder which highlights all this where users select random pictures and without deliberately piecing them together, the potential of those selected pictures all put together can end up being something wonderfully artistic. It’s like creating a butterfly from a random blob of ink. So if like me you are a “messy” worker then there’s no need to fret, it will probably lead you to some brilliantly creative end products, better even that those stories which have been laid out from the start with a specific objective.


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