deliberate practice

Photo by thejbird

A few days ago, I received an email from a Write Practice regular who said she had been hired to write a weekly column and was expanding her freelance writing business.

“The Write Practice, and its great community, have been a big part of that,” she said. “I’ve learned skills and gained confidence that have been invaluable.”

It’s good to hear feedback like this. Sometimes I wonder, Does The Write Practice really work?

Are we making a difference?

Practice Makes…

This reminded me of another Write Practice reader who began a story in the practice section of one post, polished her story in a second post, and then revised and submitted the story to a literary magazine who enthusiastically published it.

“You see how many ripples you’re making?” she said.

Sure, we hope The Write Practice helps you reconnect with your passion for writing. Yes, we hope you have fun here. But our true hope is that this blog, this communal workbook, will help you become a better writer—hopefully, a published writer.

3 Tough Habits to Get the Most Out of Your Practice

How can you get the most out of your practice? Here are three habits to cultivate in your practice:

1. Practice in Public

Every day, we invite you to post your response to our daily prompt in the comments section. We ask you to practice in public because it’s scary. It moves you beyond just journaling for yourself, and forces you to focus on writing stories worth reading.

2. Don’t Write What You Feel Like Writing

The point of practice is to go to the limit of your skill and press forward until it hurts. Deliberate practice is necessarily uncomfortable. If you don’t push yourself and your limits, you won’t grow.

Too often with creative work, we try to find “the flow,” to get “in the zone.” Deliberate practice is about going against the flow, getting out of the zone. If you’re feeling comfortable in your writing, you probably aren’t improving.

3. Accept (and Give) Feedback

Feedback, especially negative feedback, is a crucial element of deliberate practice. One of the things I love about The Write Practice is the warm, supportive community. One of the best ways we can support each other is by giving negative feedback mixed with positive affirmation.

Criticism stimulates creativity. Dr. Charlan Nemeth, a Berkeley professor, studied the affect of criticism in brainstorming. Nemeth says:

Our findings show that debate and criticism do not inhibit ideas but, rather, stimulate them relative to every other condition.

I hope while this community is safe and supportive, we also aren’t afraid to criticize and debate. Negative feedback doesn’t just help the writer receiving the feedback, it helps the writer giving the feedback as well. Give it a shot!

Are You Practicing?

It’s okay if you’re just here to enjoy the posts and learn a few tidbits about writing. There’s no pressure to practice with us. It takes time. It’s a little scary. You might not think you’re good enough. (You might think you’re too good.)

And yet, deliberate practice is the fastest way to achieve your writing goals.

If you want to get published tomorrow, practice today. (Tweet that?)

How about you? Does the Write Practice work? Has it helped you with your writing?

PRACTICE

Which storytelling element are you most uncomfortable with?

  • Realistic Dialogue 
  • Picturesque Description
  • Insightful Inner Monologue
  • Engaging Action
  • Interesting Exposition

For fifteen minutes, practice writing the element you’re most uncomfortable with.

When you’re time is up, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to give feedback on a few practices by other writers.

Enjoy your practice!