Learn To Write In Twenty Minutes A Day

Learn to write in twenty minutes a day by keeping a journal.

Someone once told me that to learn how to write you have to write. The rest of that day I was fuming. All that I had asked was a simple question. All that I had wanted in return was a simple answer. That night, I was still so angry that I grabbed my journal and wrote for twenty minutes. When I finished it dawned on me; I was learning to write.

Keeping a journal has been an essential key in my education as a writer. Every night, I sit down and pour my soul out onto the paper. It doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't have to be perfect. It doesn't even have to be interesting. It just has to come out and make its way onto the page.

This one nightly ritual has freed my mind more than I can ever explain. One of the most important things it has taught me is that my first drafts do not have to be perfect. Whether it was a story or an article, I would get frustrated when what I wanted to say didn't come out right the first time. It had gotten so bad that I would stare at the blank piece of paper and nothing would come out. I was convinced that it wasn't good enough to put down.

When I write in my journal I come to understand that what I write doesn't have to be perfect the first time out. As a matter of fact, when I can get to the point of just writing and not editing myself as I go my prose comes out much clearer and filled with more feeling. The same person that told me that I have to write to learn to write also gave me another piece of advice that confused me at first. He told me that you have to write everything in your mind when writing a first draft. When you go back to edit it you find that 10% of it was what you actually wanted to say. You just could not have gotten to that 10% without writing the 90% junk.

Keeping a journal has also helped me discover my writing voice. For so long I heard about this mysterious voice that every writer has. I believed that is would come naturally and that is why my inability to write perfect prose on the first shot would distress me so much. If all of the writers had a voice then were was mine?

Only the actual act of writing can bring out your inner voice. By choosing words and deciding where to use them do you find the way you like to say things in your writing. To get to your inner voice, you have to peel back the layers of junk and copies of other writers until you get to the real thing.

You can use your journals in several different ways to achieve your goal. Many people use it as a diary. They use the pages to get out all of their emotions that were pent up during the day. That is what I use my journal for. You can also use your journal as a mini writing class. By devising assignments for yourself you can get your creativity flowing for your other writing projects. I use a separate book just for these such assignments.

There are many types of exercises you can do to help develop your professional skills and open the wellspring for ideas for your writing. Work on observation and description by going to a place you have been to a thousand times and trying to describe it. Explain what you see as if you are talking to a person who has never seen it before. This can help you create a sense of place that is needed in all types of writing.

Another good exercise is to take a confrontational incident that has happened between you and another person and write a scene from their point of view. This is not only good writing but also good therapy. You never know how things change when you look at them from another perspective.

There are no hard and fast rules to keeping a journal. Some people like to type on their computer while others prefer to use a pen. Some people use a sketch book so that lines do not limit them while others prefer lined paper. Some people like to use the same type of book for every journal in their library. I use all kinds of notebooks. My only requirement it that they are appealing to the eye. I have some with flowers on them and some with cartoons. All you have to do is get your feelings out so you can read them at a later date. You might be amazed at what you find.

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