Yes, it's a weird title, I know, but bear with me.
We all have our outlets, those things we do that help us unwind, overcome mental blockages, what have you. Mine has often been, for lack of a better expression, writing crap.
There's something very liberating about letting yourself write whatever you want, knowing that no one will ever see it, that it doesn't have to be perfect (in fact, it doesn't even have to be good!). You can express things in crap you can't always express any other way, because self-consciousness kicks in.
I'm not talking about free writing, where you just write whatever comes to mind, though that has value, too. No, I'm talking about writing an actual story that you know is crap. My secret crap project is a little story that I write just for myself. I cackle with glee as I write it, even though it's absolutely ridiculous. It's actually based on some stories my friends and I used to write when we were in seventh grade, and uses some of those same conventions. At age twelve, none of us had strong beliefs about what made a good or bad narrative, so we just did whatever the hell we wanted. I've tried to keep that spirit alive for myself.
What's been most exciting as I write my crap has been the ideas I've generated for my legitimate projects while doing so. I've had plenty of flashes of inspiration for my other stories while working on my crap story.
So, I encourage everyone: write crap! Don't be ashamed! Okay, well, be a little ashamed. I certainly don't share my crap with anyone. But I'm glad I wrote it for me. It makes me happy.