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You have something special to say: Write with abandon

I recently presented a memoir writing workshop. A couple times in class, I gave the students writing prompts. When I asked the students if they wanted to read their writing, almost everyone did. I was inspired by all of them. Each one had something special to say. Each piece of writing had humor and sadness and beauty.

I’m sad to say though that I saw a trend repeated in this class. Almost every student who read, qualified what they were going to read with a statement, such as:

“It’s kind of short,”

“It’s kind of long,”

It’s not very good.”

No matter how many times,I tell students, “Don’t think, just put the words down on the page,” or “the first draft is just a draft,” or, “writing is a practice,” they still feel the need to devalue their words.

Every act of writing is courageous. The first step is to write something. The worst sentence is the one that was never written.

As Ernest Hemingway said, “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

Do you ever find yourself qualifying your writing before you read it aloud or pass it to someone to critique? Stop. We all have to start somewhere.

Think back to when you were a child. Create art with abandon. Put all your energy into loving the process.

For more inspiration, read:

Write like a 5-year-old

Seven tips for how to write like a 5-year-old

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