Practice Listening

Do you ever find that you're not really listening to whoever's talking? You put on a good show. You nod your head and make little noises of agreement. But in your mind, you're formulating what you're going to say as soon as he or she shuts up. (I can't be the only one…) We do this to our writing, too.

IMG_0394Think about it. A story idea pops into our minds, and we get excited and charge ahead. I know exactly how this is going to work. A will lead to B will lead to C and the conclusion will be this A-mazing In-sight. I'm brilliant!

But as we write, we get an inkling that A doesn't lead to B. A goes to Z and then C, and we're not sure how it ends.

Whoa, Nelly. Nothing makes writers or writing students squirm more than not having an ending. So we plow over the inkling and insist on following our first idea. The end result is okay but not as good as it could have been if we'd simply paid attention.

It's okay---it's a normal reaction. Listening to that tiny little voice takes practice. The old fashioned kind, where you put pen to paper and write about any topic you choose with one goal: don't edit yourself.

Write what comes to mind and don't cover it with judgments or worries or insistence that you know better. The topic isn't the point. Following your pen and listening to the truth is your goal. It's how you'll find your ending.