This community is built on the idea of practice, but a good writing practice is about much more than grammar, vocabulary, or storytelling techniques. The best writing practice, what every writer needs to practice each day is openness.

The Most Important Writing Practice

“We write what we see,” I say in 14 Prompts, and so your greatest tools (and what you need to sharpen daily) are your eyes, the way you see the world, and, of course, whether they are open at all.

The Writing Practice Everyone Needs

When was the last time you saw the trees out your window, really saw them? When was the last time you walked down your street noticing the world, breathing in your surroundings, digesting them in your soul?

Are you sleeping through life or are you awake?

Yesterday, I walked down the street by my office and I saw the ivy wrapping its way around the tall birch tree which is still leafless this March. I sat outside and waited while the barista from Venezuela brought my coffee out and I wrote a poem about openness. It goes:

Open
To trees and cars and bees and bellinis
The sign reads Carroll Street Café
But the first T and second A are missing
It’s okay though because the missing
Letters rusted over and their rustshadows outlast them
Tourists step out of their rented rooms and into the cafe
This is the street to rent on, really
And I wait for coffee
From the Venezuelan barista with long wavy hair
And I’m open
Open
To trees and cars and bees and bellinis
My letters rust over

Yes, work on your grammar and structure and storytelling techniques. We all can improve at these.

Most of all, though, practice opening your eyes, your soul. To be a writer, you will need them open wide.

Does this idea of openness resonate with you? When was the last time you truly saw the world? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Practice openness. You might take a walk, look out the window, or just look around the room where you are right now. Then, see. I don’t know how to describe that except notice the things you haven’t seen in a long time.

Then, once you are seeing them, start to put words to what you’re seeing. You’ll probably find that your eyes take you somewhere completely new, somewhere you can’t see with your eyes at all.

Free write like this for fifteen minutes. And when you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section below. Then, be sure to give feedback to your fellow writers.

Happy seeing, happy writing.

Joe Bunting
Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let’s Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).