How to Write a Passage

written by Hearth Founder, Miranda Aisling at Write a Passage on August 2, 2016 inspired by the prompt “Write a Set of Directions” 

  • 2016-12-06-19-45-32Step one: Decide what you’re going to write about.
  • Step two: Start writing, even if you haven’t decided yet.
  • Step three: Continue writing in hopes that you’ll think of something while your fingers are moving.
  • Step four: Stare out the window for a second.  But keep writing.
  • Step five: Pause for a moment and breathe.
  • Step six: Frown at your darkened computer screen in hopes that you will think of something to write.
  • Step seven: Bounce your leg a few times.
  • Step eight: Bite your bottom lip.
  • Step nine: Write a few things that feel like a good idea, really get a roll going.
  • Step ten: Look at what everyone else is doing, but sneakily, so they can’t tell.
  • Step eleven: Accidentally bold your font and spend a moment fixing it even though the point of this exercise is not to care about what it looks like.
  • Step twelve: Laugh quietly at yourself, just through your nose.
  • Step thirteen: Pause and look up at the corner of the room, carefully avoiding the gaze of anyone who is doing the same thing.
  • Step fourteen: Lean down intently at your computer screen.
  • Step fifteen: Watch how your fingers move while your typing and think about how typing on a keyboard is both similar to and different from playing a piano.
  • Step sixteen: Wish that you had a piano to play.
  • Step seventeen: Remember that you haven’t practiced in five years and would barely be able to play anything even if you did find a piano.
  • Step eighteen: Laugh at yourself again, hope that no one notices.  Scratch that, hope that everyone notices and thinks you’re writing something very funny and smart.
  • Step nineteen: Pause and autocorrect the spelling on a word two steps above.
  • Step twenty: Make a mental note (again) to turn the spell check off of your word processor.
  • Step twenty-one: Itch your forehead.
  • Step twenty-two: Pick at the bumpy piece of dry skin on your forehead.
  • Step twenty-three: Start typing again and hope that you don’t have an scratch marks on your forehead.
  • Step twenty-four: Roll your neck.
  • Step twenty-five: Grimace at the crunching sound that happens when you roll your neck.
  • Step twenty-six: Remind yourself that you really need to get a massage
  • Step twenty-seven: Start making a mental list of all the people in your life who are good at giving massages.
  • Step twenty-eight: Think about when you are next going to see said massage-giving people.
  • step twenty-nine: Straighten your posture so that you don’t need a massage as badly.
  • Step thirty: Fix all the times you spelled twenty wrong.
  • Step thirty-one: Think about how interesting it is that some words are harder to spell than others.
  • Step thirty-two: Think about the difference between a word that’s hard to spell and a word that is easy to make a typo out of.
  • Step thirty-three: Frown about prepositions at the end of sentences.
  • Step thirty-four: Wonder who decided it was a bad idea to have prepositions at the end of sentences.
  • Step thirty-five: Imagine all of the people in your life who would know why someone decided it was a bad idea to have a preposition at the end of the sentence.
  • Step thirty-six: Roll your eyes at all the people in your life who would know why someone decided it was a bad idea to have a preposition at the end of a sentence even though they aren’t actually there.
  • Step thirty-seven: Lick your lips
  • Step thirty-eight: Straighten your posture again.
  • Step thirty-nine: Move one shoulder forward and the other back, repeat on both sides.  Close your eyes while doing this.
  • Step forty: Try to remember the last time you did yoga.
  • Step forty-one: Try to remember the last time you had a glass of water.
  • Step forty-two: Do you have to pee?
  • Step forty-three: No.  Just keep writing.
  • Step forty-four:  Look at the red lines on your wrists from where they have been sitting on the laptop.
  • Step forty-five: Get up to close the door because someone started vacuuming.
  • Step forty-six: Put your feet on the wrung of the metal chair you are sitting on in order to straighten your posture.
  • Step forty-seven: Push back your computer screen.
  • Step forty-eight: Wonder why the computer screen brightened when you pushed it back.
  • Step forty-nine: Realize that it’s because it has less light.
  • img_6412Step fifty: Realize that doesn’t make sense because now it has more light.
  • Step fifty-one: Try to stop thinking about why your computer screen dims and brightens.
  • Step fifty-two: Crack your ankle.
  • Step fifty-three: Push up your glasses.
  • Step fifty-four: Resist scratching your ear because you’ve already stopped typing for too long.
  • Step fifty-five: Sway slightly from side to side.  Just your head, so that no one notices.
  • Step fifty-six: Feel proud of the fact that you have been continuously writing for…
  • Step fifty-seven: Check the timer
  • Step fifty-eight: …thirteen minutes now.
  • Step fifty-nine: Lick your lips.
  • Step sixty: Take a deep breath.
  • Step sixty-one: Pause
  • Step sixty-two: Fix the typos from earlier.
  • Step sixty-three: Look at the mermaid tattoo on the table next to you.
  • Step sixty-four: Smile to yourself
  • Step sixty-five: Relent and itch your nose.
  • Step sixty-six: Think about how weird it is to write about itching your nose before you itch it.
  • Step sixty-seven: Hope that you didn’t just get oil paint on your nose.
  • Step sixty-eight: Think about the brushes you left in your studio.
  • Step sixty-nine: Look up into the left corner of the room.
  • Step seventy: Wonder why Cable just hummed to himself.
  • Step seventy-one: Laugh to yourself
  • Step seventy-two: Crack your other ankle.
  • Step seventy-three: Realize that it was actually the same ankle.
  • Step seventy-four: Question whether it was the same ankle or not.
  • Step seventy-five: Acknowledge that this doesn’t really matter because you crack your ankle all the time.
  • Step seventy-six: Autocorrect the word Acknowledge.
  • Step seventy-eight: Wonder about whether it’s hard for the other writers to focus because of the vacuuming.
  • Step seventy-nine: Be glad that you closed the door.
  • Step eighty: Slump your shoulders
  • Step eighty-one: Shift your weight from one side to the other.
  • Step eighty-two: Wonder if you’ve ever written out all of the numbers up to eighty two before.
  • Step eighty-three: Remember how you used to sit at the computer and use roman numerals to type the numbers in order as high as you could.
  • Step eighty-four: Be tempted to start typing all the roman numerals to go as high as you can but decide that it doesn’t fit the writing prompt
  • Step eighty-five: Think about whether this would be an interesting blog post to use to promote Write a Passage
  • Step eighty-six: Debate whether or not anyone would read over eighty steps to free-writing
  • Step eighty-seven: Notice that the vacuum went down the hall.
  • Step eighty-eight: Wonder what Laura just crossed out on her writing pad.
  • Step eighty-eight: Frown as you think about whether it is better to write by hand or type on a laptop
  • Step eighty-nine: Consider why some people choose to write by hand and some people chose to type.
  • Step ninety: Smile! The vaccuming is done!
  • Step ninety-one: Notice the metal bar digging into your bare feet.
  • Step ninety-two: Notice the dust between your toes because you wore your sneakers with out socks.
  • Step ninety-three: Remind yourself not to wear your sneakers without socks.
  • Step ninety-four: Roll your head to one side.
  • Step ninety-five: Suppress a burp
  • Step ninety-six: Smile at your burp
  • Step ninety-seven: Stop the timer
  • Step ninety-eight: Tell everyone to finish up what they’re writing
  • Step ninety-nine: Type really fast in order to reach 100
  • Step one hundred: Finish your free write and sit back in your chair.

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