What’s with the “all caps” vs. no caps in this post’s title? Well, there are different approaches to practicing a skill like writing. There’s PRACTICE, where we focus on improving specific skills. And then there’s the practice of writing, where we merely get the “black on the white,” or the ink on the page.
When you are writing just for the sake of writing, you might improve, but you will improve much faster if you PRACTICE and take a focused approach to improving.
For example, in response to a Quick write prompt, you might write an entire page. The words might provide a kernel for a story, or maybe its just a random stream of consciousness that doesn’t make much sense. In any case, you’re practicing, in that you’re engaging in the act of writing.
However, in order to improve, to PRACTICE, you need to focus on specific skills such as deepening your character development, tightening up your sentence structure, or trying to create a setting that reflects a mood.
To PRACTICE, after you complete the actual writing, you need to get feedback and responses from writing buddies to see where you can improve.
Then, take the suggestions and feedback and deliberately go back to your piece and try to improve it. This is how writers learn to write, through a focus improving specific skills.
Now You Try
1) Open up your writer’s notebook or a new file on your computer. In the front cover, or on the back page, brainstorm a list of all of those areas that you want to work on. These could be strengths that you want to improve or perhaps they’re areas that you think really need some work.
2) Choose one.
3) Now write (or re-write) a piece with a deliberate focus on making that one area better.
4) When you’re done, share it with a writing partner for some helpful feedback or share it here, and some WTW’ers can give you some feedback.
In the comments below, share at least THREE areas that you want to work on. We’d love to hear from you.