Whatever you do, whatever title or label defines you, you have to practice your skill. If you are a doctor, you practice medicine; if you are a lawyer, you practice law; writing is no different. If you are a writer, you practice writing.
I find it exasperating that so many people think that writing just happens. Sure, there are certainly those times when you are so totally “in the zone” that the writing just seems to write itself, but that’s what I call a gift. For the most part, good writing happens because of a good, well-established writing practice. Below listed tips will help anyone to in understanding how to write a rationale and related articles.
Writing is such a solitary experience that it requires exceptional self-discipline to maintain a practice. Writers tend to rely on motivation and inspiration rather than discipline. However, I firmly believe that the discipline of a regular practice is the key to good writing. Writing practice helps to hone your skills; it increases your vocabulary; it gives you a longer attention span and intensifies your focus. Writing practice strengthens your mind and your writing endurance.
In order to develop a writing practice there are a few basic essentials you need to have:
- a regular scheduled time;
- an agenda;
- writing prompts; and
- the right atmosphere or environment.
Regular Scheduled Time
You only need about 30 minutes. The bigger challenge is ensuring the regularity of those 30 minutes – you need them every day.
Establishing a regular scheduled time for writing may be the most difficult for writers because the artistic part of us resists routine and schedules. It is essential however, to your practice, so think of it as something as basic and required as regular sleep or good eating habits. Choose a chunk of time when you are able to be free of the other demands in your life. It is important that your regular writing practice time is at the same time every day. Otherwise, it is too easy to let everything else take precedence and at the end of the day, you’re too tired and you’ve missed your practice.
Once you decide what part of the day – every day – works for you to do your practice, protect that time as if your life depended on it. Don’t answer your phone; don’t turn to distractions on the computer; and don’t let anyone talk you out of it – ever.
Know in advance how you will spend your time. There are countless ways to practice writing, so you don’t need to do the same thing every time. Just be sure you have some kind of plan so that you use the time actually writing. For example, you may start off with some sort of emptying your mind exercise – write out whatever is on your mind so you can get it out of the way. You may writing in a diary or journal and use that practice time to work out some problem or to brainstorm new ideas or to make lists of the day’s plans and goals. You may use your writing time to react to something in your life such as a book you are reading or a movie you recently saw.
Whatever you do is fine. The point here is that you enter into your practice time with a plan for something to write. In other words, come prepared.
No matter what agenda you have, you should always have writing prompts in your possession. Writing prompts provide a great way to practice your writing. This offers an excellent opportunity to work on discipline and also adds an element of surprise. There is a plethora of sources for writing prompts and you can make up your own as well. The best way to use writing prompts is to write free-style with a timer. Race the clock – get out as much as you can within a certain amount of time and don’t stop until the time is up. Don’t self-edit and don’t indulge in thinking or contemplating. Just take off and write everything that comes into your head. And if your head is empty, write about that!
The Right Atmosphere or Environment
Writers have a strong tendency toward distractions. We are observant; we notice details, and while this adds color and flavor to our work, it makes us vulnerable to distractions. Your writing environment needs to be stimulating, but distraction-proof. For example, if you are writing outside and your attention is drawn to a wildly scampering squirrel, you have the ability to notice it without losing your train of thought. If you are writing at your office complex, however, and your attention is interrupted by a nosey and chatty colleague, it is more difficult to keep focused on your writing. Everyone’s best environment is individually unique, so I am not going to prescribe any particular conditions. Whether you write under a tree, in your parked car, at a crowded coffee shop, or in a favorite chare, just make sure you are comfortable and able to focus.
Good writing happens because of lots of practice. Develop a writing practice ritual and maintain it day after day after day… Find a good place, be armed with lots of prompts, set aside dedicated writing time and have a plan. Now get to work and enjoy!