7 Rules of Writing Practice every writer should know

"Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make life so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, drop a jar of applesauce. In summer, we work hard to make a tidy garden, bordered by pansies with rows or clumps of columbine, petunias, bleeding hearts. Then we find ourselves longing for the forest, where everything has the appearance of disorder; yet, we feel peaceful there.

What writing practice, like Zen practice, does is bring you back to the natural state of mind, the wilderness of your mind where there are no refined rows of gladiolas. The mind is raw, full of energy, alive, and hungry - it does not think the way we were brought up to think - well mannered, congenial."
-from Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg

These are the familiar words of a book that I've read countless times. It opened my mind to writing. Before I trusted myself to write, I always thought that writing is a special talent that can only belong to a select few. I read books and longed to write words but felt something weird when I try to call myself a writer. Then, reading this book changed my perspective. The author said that in order to write, we have to practice at it like any other art or sport. She introduced the concept of writing practice.

The most basic form of writing practice is time yourself and just write: without thinking, editing, or second thoughts. The point was to get used to our original thoughts and to say what we really want to say. This is the foundation of all writing: learning to trust your own mind. If you want to be a writer, get a notebook and start writing. It's that simple.

This is the heart of writing that English classes often neglect: the power of first thoughts. First thoughts are the first way we flash on something, unhindered by thought on thought, or stopping what we should say. Learn to cut through, and your writing will have real authenticity. Yes, we must refine and edit the work, but many find it difficult to begin. This is how to start.

The 7 Rules of Writing Practice:
  1. Keep your hand moving. Once you decide to write for ten minutes or thirty, don't stop once you begin. Keep writing and don't think of reading back or crossing out what you wrote. If you want to write, just write and start. 
  2. Lose control. It's only you and the paper. Write whatever you want, regardless what others might think and feel. At this stage, its all for you anyway. 
  3. Be specific. Don't meander around and write vagueness. 
  4. Don't think. Shut off your conscious thought, and let the memories write themselves. The point is if we try to think about what we write, we turn on the editor instead of the creator. Let the creator work first, then its when the editor can step in. 
  5. Don't worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar. Those can be corrected later. 
  6. You are free to write the worst junk in your country/ hemisphere/ world/ galaxy/ universe. We are often afraid that we're writing crap. Don't worry, it's in writing crap that we will find the gems. Even if a part of your mind thinks that what you write sucks, its still your thoughts, feelings, and words. Who said that you have no right to express what you feel? Its not required that you have to write for others anyway. 
  7. Go for the jugular. "Write hard and clear about what hurts," said Ernest Hemingway. Something hurts and you're afraid? Write it down, that's where the power is.
Go get a notebook and a pen. Try writing without stopping for ten minutes. What you find may surprise and delight you. 

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