Practice, Practice

I was poking through my bookshelves today and discovered another one of my forgotten books on writing.  This one, by Judy Reeves, is titled A Writer’s Book of Days and subtitled A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life.  Who doesn’t need a muse now and then?  Book of Days is a companion for a year of writing practice.  Daily writing practice.  Each month is dedicated to a Guideline.   Like the Twelve Steps, these Guidelines are deceptively simple, and like many of the exercises in The Artist’s Way, they are dedicated to helping the reader learn relax into writing instead of being paralyzed by unrealistic expectations and that old devil, the Inner Critic.   Here are the twelve guidelines, paraphrased for brevity:

1. Keep writing.  Don’t stop to edit, rephrase or think.
2. Trust your pen … go with the first image that appears.
3. Don’t judge your writing
4. Let your writing find its form … essay, story, poem, meander
5. Don’t worry about the rules (e.g. -grammar and syntax)
6. Let go of expectations
7. Kiss your frogs (not all sessions will be good)
8. Tell the truth, be willing to go to the scary places.
9. Write accurate details.
10. Write what matters … be passionate.
11. Read your writing aloud when you’re done
12. Date your page and write the topic at the top for future reference.

Hmm.   I wonder if William Forrester read this book?  Each month offers six or seven short essays on the Guideline for  designed to energize your writing.  August’s essay begins, When was the last time you howled at the moon?  Dallied in erotica?  Wrote about your skin and bones and wild imaginings?  This writing session says, Do it.  Now.  There are numerous quotes by writers (You can’t sit around thinking. You have to sit around writingDavid Long), anecdotes about the writing life and a daily prompt to get the you started on each practice session.  For example, the prompt for January 1 is Write about a Sunday afternoon and February 17 is Open the Box.  It’s a marvelous little book.

How often do you write?  How many of the guidelines do you follow?  I come in at 7 of 10.  Which ones don’t I do?  I’ll never tell.

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2 Comments on “Practice, Practice”

  1. jsw12 Says:

    Hi,
    I do much of my writing in a hardback journal, which I lay out a bit like a diary. Each entry either describes where I’ve been that day (or a few days ago), or my thoughts on an issue that’s in the news. So each heading is something like ’19th September 2012: lenient prison sentences’. The trouble is, I can’t think of any way to index my jottings. As time goes on, it’s going to be a real job finding what I’ve written if I want to expand on my germ of an idea.


  2. 3. Don’t judge your writing

    6. Let go of expectations

    Those are the HARDEST two for me!


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