Sunday, August 22, 2010

PROCESS- Practice, practice, practice

I remember writing as a child. I remember writing in diaries and journals, writing stories and notes to friends, drawing doodles which drifted away into words, and even copying poems and songs by hand. To me, writing has always been present in my life. There are times in my life when I have written only in bits and pieces but writing has always been there. It is like riding a bike. Even if I don’t write for a week, I'm familiar with the balance it requires, and the effort is no longer frustrating.

This isn't true for most of my students as we begin to write. Many have never gotten the hang of writing. Their beginning stages of writing never went past a required “summer vacation” piece. To these students (and adults too), writing can be scary. Perhaps their favorite story was returned to them with red ink crossing every "t" that didn’t make the grade. Maybe they could never think of anything that was actually TRUE to write when faced with a demanding prompt. But that isn't all.

Their hands hurt. Their fingers cramp. Pencils break and ink smears. All these things and more are the little bumps in the sidewalk of writing that can underscore frustration and build up walls. If this sounds like you, keep writing. You are almost there! Practice writing. Practice writing ANYthing!

Remember the bike? Do you remember the training wheels? I'm sure that they were on at some time, but when did they come off? I barely remember. Writing can often be the same way. The space of time between not writing and writing will blur. You will become more frustrated not having a pen then not having something to write about.

When I was 19, I had come home from college for my first summer break. I was never a fabulous bike rider to say the least, but the tricks-riding no-handed, jumping, making it up the big hill without effort- these were all things I could do. Except for one. I wanted to ride without my feet on the pedals. I wanted to stand and balance on the frame while the bike was moving. I was 19. I was still fearless, so I tried. And, I fell. It's been decades now and I can still find the scar. But I tried.

With writing, I'm at that point again. I have practiced; I've built endurance and skill. Now I'm ready to go the next step. I know there is the possibility of falling, but I will try. I will write more. And then more again. Until, I can do this: write the next book, finish the next project, or complete the next goal.

Writing isn’t inherited or innate. Writing takes practice. And the great part is: the practice gives us something more to write about!

What are you waiting for? Go WRITE!

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