Letter to Students: Come Play With Me
Monday, April 11, 2016 at 10:00AM
Hannah Sternberg in letters to students, writing advice, writing games

Writing Games is returning to Capitol Hill Arts Workshop on April 18! Time is running out, so sign up to secure your spot now. Click here to register!

Every week of Writing Games class, I send an email to my current students with a few extra thoughts on writing and the themes or techniques we explored that week, plus take-home exercises and more. The Letters to Students blog series collects highlights from some of these emails.

image via freevintageillustrations.com

Writing Games is based on the idea that the biggest thing holding you back is the voice in your head that tells you, "Don't write that, that's stupid." The belief that one doesn't have any inspiration is just a result of listening to that voice for too long.

In class, we play rapid-fire, collaborative games to try to overcome that voice. How can you continue to do that at home, without the timer, the team atmosphere, or the crazy prompts?

There's a reason that I try to give you take-home assignments that include things like "try something new" or "write a friend a long email," in addition to the more traditional prompts. Overcoming that negative voice isn't just a matter of writing technique; it's an entire attitude shift. It's deciding that you don't need permission from anyone to write. It's embracing the belief that your ideas are valid and worth expression. It's also a willingness to make mistakes and try something, even if you know you'll do it imperfectly, or it may be uncomfortable at first, because trying is how you learn and improve.

When a guitarist wants to get better at guitar, they practice. Yet, so often, when writers want to improve themselves, they sit on their hands, unwilling to sacrifice a good idea to a weak phase in their career for the sake of learning through experience. I'm not quite sure where we all expect improvement to come from if we don't try, but for many writers, the wish for improvement is paralyzing.

Don't fall into that trap. Come play with me! The newest session of Writing Games at Capitol Hill Arts Workshop begins on April 18. Sign up here to secure your spot today!

To view all the Letters to Students, click here. 

Article originally appeared on Hannah Sternberg (http://www.hannahsternberg.com/).
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