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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Aspiring Writer or Aspiring to Write; Establish A Daily Writing Practice in 2007 and Become a Writer

From Dorothea Brande’s, Becoming A Writer to Pat Schneider’s, Writing Alone and With Others, most successful writers and writing instructors advocate developing a daily writing practice. Writing daily supplies many benefits to those who do it. Most obviously, it is practice; by writing daily you develop your writing skill and train your mind to enter the mode most conducive to writing, or as Natalie Goldberg would call it beginner’s mind. In short, writing daily helps cultivate the ability to write on demand. Writing daily is the antidote to writer’s block. Daily writing also allows you to build a library from which you can pull project and writing ideas. Your next novel or essay could be waiting for you in a previous free-writing exercise.

If you write with the intention of creating a publishable work and a living; a daily writing practice is mandatory. A professional writer must train their minds to write at will and to be in constant pursuit of the next idea. These abilites can only be honed through the act of writing.

Many beginning writers find that developing the discipline of a daily writing practice an awkward if not daunting task. Often, this hesitancy to begin is the results of a lack of knowledge. They don’t know where to start. Also, the commitment of sitting daily before a blank page or screen with no pre-formed ideas, also known as our capricious friend inspiration, can be intimidating. Take courage. These challenges can be met with simple means. By following the suggestions, I’m about to give, 2007 could be the year you begin a fulfilling writing practice or grow and existing one.

Develop a writing space, a place where you sit daily and write. Make it inviting. Your daily writing practice is unique among your other writing activities. It acts as a warm-up for future writing activities and should have its own special space and accoutrements. Set it up with the writing implements you prefer, pens, pencils, markers or crayons and the appropriate type or types of paper, scissors, glue, etc. and keep it fully supplied. Once you sit to write, you want to insure that you’ll have at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted writing time.

If you don’t have a place, where you can write. Make it portable. Choose your writing implements and place them in a case or box. Only take them out when you are about to complete your daily writing activity.

Schedule it. Your writing time should be an action item, not an intention. Determine a specific time you’ll dedicate to writing. It can be early morning, lunchtime or late night, but commit time to yourself and your writing. You’re laying a foundation toward building a portfolio and hopefully, if it’s part of your plan, a living doing what you love or at least, I hope, like.

If you find that daily freewriting isn't working for you, create external deadlines and audiences. Go straight to doing writing projects and assignments. Self-motivation is great, but external deadlines are better. External deadlines create a sense of urgency which can help motivate you to get the writing done. Join a writing circle, either on or offline. Enter contests and look for calls for submissions, but be discerning, you don’t want to get scammed. Check out Writer’s Weekly and A.C. Cripin’s blog to get the latest on potential frauds. Submit your work and when it gets published tell people about it. Did I hear? “How do I do that?” If you don’t have a blog, get one while they’re still free!

I began blogging to provide these elements for myself. Previously, the time I spent journaling or writing daily was sporadic to non-existent. Blogging allows me to combine my interest in digital publishing and the web with my writing practice. I also like being in control of when and what I publish. Basically, blogging transformed my daily writing practice from a chore into a definite pleasure and learning experience.

Experiment. Find the method that works best for you. If 5:00 am writing as soon as your slippers hit your feet is your thing, do it. If keeping a notebook handy and jotting down facts and quotes throughout the day works for you, do that. Just be sure to make time to mine your observations for ideas and get some writing done. Make a mixed media journal. Fill it with doodles, clips and your writing. Find a source of writing prompts to use on the days when free writing feels more like a sentence. Basically, make sure you write!

Writng Resources You Should Be Using In 2007


Creativity Portal
The Soul Food Café


Becoming a Writer
Becoming a Writer

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within
Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

Writing Alone and with Others
Writing Alone and with Others

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Great Writing Prompt

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