NCWA welcomes Joe Bunting from The Write Practice in the writing prompt series.
This post contains excerpts from Joe’s e-book. See links following post to obtain the complete version.
Have you ever experienced the emotional roller coaster of writing? Do you ever think as you’re writing, “This passage is good. People are going to think I’m a really good writer.” This happens to me on occasion, but more often, I write passages I think are terrible—I cringe and get knots in my back as I write.
How to Refocus
The only secret to getting out of this emotional cycle is to write. Don’t go back and fix your spelling mistakes. You can do that later. Don’t google that quote from the famous author you absolutely need. You can do that later.
Here are a few tools to help you escape the emotional cycle of writing:
1. Close your eyes as you write.
When you’re feeling down about yourself and your writing, the worst thing you can do is read the last sentence you wrote.
2. Give yourself a time limit.
Set a timer for fifteen to thirty minutes and write as much as you can during that time.
3. Write with a typewriter or by hand.
Typewriters and notebooks don’t have the internet.
4. Take breaks.
Many people think the longer they sit at their computer working, the more productive they will be.
5. Invent your own way to focus.
This short list isn’t meant to be complete.
Discussion Questions: How do you deal with the emotional cycle in writing? And what do you do to stay focused?
Practice focus by writing about a basketball player before a big game. How does he prep his mind? Does he visualize the game in his mind? Does he think about what it felt like the first time he played the sport?
Choose one of the tools above to help you focus (personally, I’m going to write with my eyes closed). Write for thirty minutes.
Excerpts and writing prompt from Joe Bunting’s e-book,
14 Prompts, available by clicking on the link.
Joe Bunting is the founder of The Write Practice. He loves the sound of a good sentence and would like to think of himself as a literary snob but can be kept up far too late by a page turner meant for thirteen year old girls. He would like for you not to know that though. He and his wife, Talia, enjoy playing backgammon and Angry Birds on her iPhone. View his website.
Liz Bureman has a more-than-healthy interest in proper grammatical structure, accurate spelling, and the underappreciated semicolon. When she’s not diagramming sentences and reading blogs about how terribly written the Twilight series is, she edits for The Write Practice, causes trouble in Denver, and plays guitar very slowly and poorly. She occasionally blogs at http://bureface.wordpress.com, but only when she feels like it.