don’t write, gallop

play by your own rules

What are your rules for working toward flow as a writer? How will you enact them right now, today, as you work on your Teacher As Writer badge? How do you help yourself just “shut up and get on with it”?

You know how you teach what you most need to learn? Well, sometimes you write Afternoon Pages prompts so that you can address them yourself. Ah, the joys of being a teacher.

This one is perfect for today, though, because I have SOOOOOOO many writing projects on the burners that I’ve run out of burners to put them on. Although it seems like this is the perfect recipe for having lots of spaces to start, it can actually lead to overwhelm.

Yesterday, though, I went to a CSU Writes workshop on “Writing for Speed,” and I heard one of Virginia Woolf’s rules that I immediately took to heart, which is to “write a gallop.”

There’s a long story behind this advice, which she apparently delivered in a speech called “Professions for Women,” but the gist of it is that to move forward on any piece, you have to write at a gallop in order to outrun your inner critic. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’re full-on sprinting at all times because horses actually gallop at different speeds, but it does mean you’re out then eir on the track, “unhinging drafting from editing,” as the workshop facilitator Kristina Quynn explained.

Then Kristina made us do it. Just sit and write for 5 mins. without stopping. She even suggested that we put a paper over our screen as necessary if we found the urge to edit.

Then we edited for 5 mins. later.

It was generative. I’m going to do it again. So should you.


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