Thursday, February 08, 2007

weekly writing coach: plan your 80 works

I hope you're brave enough to try the 80 works in 3 weeks writing exercise, but it requires planning. Populating a list of 80 works takes, well, work. Here's what to do:

- Review your collection of of writings that inspire you, and your notes on why each piece does. Your notes will tell you the elements of writing that not only inspire, but to which you aspire. Make a list of them, and plan to include similar pieces in your 80 works.

- Reflect on types of writing that trouble you. Leads? Endings? Dialogue or quotes? Avoiding passive verbs? Finding new word choices to replace the favorites you overuse? Captions? Headlines? Writing shorter or longer? Essays? Op-eds? Include a few of each in your list of 80 works to do.

- If you've been avoiding a particular type of work, by all means, include it now. Never written an essay for an annual report? Try it now. Never really mastered a memo? Put it on the list. Designed to plunge you into new ways and processes, this exercise replaces perfection with trying. Try.

- Finally, what types of writing in your work or life would benefit from frequency or quantity? Now's the time to include them on your list. The peritpatetic blogger might use this exercise to vow at least 30 posts in 3 weeks (leaving just 50 other "works" to do)...the vaunted lover could post 30 poems to his or her love in that time....the news release writer 30 awesome leads....the speechwriter 30 introductions or conclusions. If you are just starting a blog, a book, a poetry collection, a portfolio of samples, this is your chance to vault your work forward.

Please feel free to post your comments, questions and sources of inspiration for all to share while you try this exercise...

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