In order to become proficient at any skill, it’s necessary to practice. Just as athletes train their bodies for competition, or dancers work their routines, writers can improve their skill with a daily writing practice.
Writing practice can help writers find their voice and develop their own style. I write every day, even it’s only for a few minutes (Finding the Time: Writing Anywhere). My own writing practice consists of journaling, flash fiction, poetry, or composing my next blog post. Writing prompts are delightful tools if I’m not working on a specific project. I use writing exercises from a collection of reference books (there’s a lovely set of books called “Now Write” and “Now Write Non-Fiction” compiled of writing exercises from numerous authors) that help hone skills in character development, settings, context and dialogue. The more often I write, the easier it is to maintain a smooth flow. Writing practice keeps my mind sharp and helps me develop the little nuances that make my writing my own. I see small victories in each new piece that support my belief that writing is a skill that needs to be cultivated.
Writing practice helps keep the mind fit and the imagination strong, one paragraph or verse at a time.
A whistle blows; muscles tense, ripple and flow
Chasing an object distant and out of reach.
Contact is brief but rewarding;
Sometimes there is ecstasy, victory.
Sometimes there is tragedy, defeat.
Yet, the object is pursued with determination,
Striving always forward to reach the goal.
A whistle blows; muscles relax, slide and slow.
No longer chasing that distant object
For another day it is out of reach, until the next sunrise;
Then it begins again….a whistle blows.