Review the Guidelines
For Writing Practice!
Guidelines for Writing Practice
1. Keep writing. Don’t stop to edit, to rephrase, to think. Don’t go back and read what you’ve written
2. Trust your pen. Go with the first image that appears. “First thought, best thought,” reminds us that the first image comes from your intuitive mind, where the creative process finds its foothold.
3. Don’t judge your writing. Don’t compare, analyze, criticize. Remember that what gets written in writing practice is the roughest of rough drafts – writing that is pouring directly from intuition, too fragile and raw for judgments.
4. Let your writing find its own form. Form will come organically out of what you write. You don’t have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end for what you write in practice sessions.
5. Don’t worry about the rules. It doesn’t matter if your grammar is incorrect, your spelling wrong, your syntax garbled, or your punctuation off. Not during practice sessions.
6. Let go of any expectations. Before you begin writing, clear your mind, settle into place, breathe, and simply begin. Let your writing surprise you. Be present in the moment.
7. Kiss your frogs. First-draft writing doesn’t have to be good. Remember, this is just practice. You write what you write. No matter what, you show up at the pond.
8. Tell the truth. Tell the truth. Go to the edge of what feels safe and step off. The net will appear.
9. Write specific details. Your writing doesn’t have to be factual, but the specificity of detail brings it alive. The truth isn’t in the facts; it’s in the detail, and details. Pay attention, notice what you notice – especially through your senses – and write it down.
10. Write what matters. Write about what interests you, what bothers you, what you don’t understand, what you want to learn more about. Write with passion.
11. Read your writing aloud after you’ve completed your practice session. Reading aloud lets you know when the writing is repetitious or trite. You pick up clichés and sense obstacles. Reading aloud tells you when you’re writing with authenticity and when you’ve found your writer’s voice.
12. Date your page and write the topic at the top. This will keep you grounded in the present. A review of the dates in your practice notebook can provide insights about your writing self: the rhythm of your writing, cycles of ease and creativity and cycles of hard going and dead ends, the intricate weave of association and connections and which types of prompts are most evocative for you. This is all fodder for our hungry minds.