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Deliberate Practice: Sentences

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve worked through John Fox’s course on writing sentences. I like his enthusiasm, and his free emails are usually fantastic.

I’ve been thinking about this as deliberate practice. Sentences are building blocks of stories, and this course does a great job at outlining basic elements and advanced techniques. I haven’t done a deliberate practice as much as I would have liked, and this was a great opportunity.

What I liked most about the course were the challenges. It’s been a while since I played with language like this, and I enjoyed it. For instance, one of the challenges was to write a sentence where each word gets one letter longer (I came up with: I am the wind howls rarely painted complete, discorded fleetingly, maliciously disassembled.) Another one was to write a sentence about an object, but don’t mention the object (I came up with: It stood in the middle of the room, silently imposing, each of its eighty-eight keys gleaming, making her fingers itch.)

While playing with these challenges, I rediscovered my love for writing. I know that I love writing, but I’ve been dealing with a lot of “around” writing lately: editing and prepping the manuscript to send out on one side and research on the other side. Don’t get me wrong: I love research (not so much editing, but I do it anyway). But it’s been a while since I’ve written something outright. And while doing this course, I found that I miss it.

So, my takeaways from this course are that language is fun and that I miss writing. Not sure yet how to work with these rediscoveries, but knowing that it is and that I do, is a start.


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