Writing Assignment: One Paragraph Per Day

by Randy Murray on December 27, 2010

Since this is the final full week of the year I’d like to offer a special Writing Assignment. This one is more open-ended than my usual assignments. But it might help you break through some of the barriers that make it difficult for you to achieve what you want to do as a writer.

Walter Mosley says, “… writing is primarily an unconscious activity.” I strongly believe that he is correct. To write, and to write well, you have to set your mind to work, to dream, and you have to continually turn your mind back to that task. The time you spend with a pen in your hand or at the keyboard may be very short, but your mind will continue to dwell on your subject. If you spend some time, every day, writing, then you will find that writing the next day becomes easier and easier, until you can’t restrain yourself and the words flow out as if someone or something was writing for you, through you. When you find that one paragraph isn’t enough, keep going. Then do it the next day again.

Today’s writing assignment is this: write one paragraph, just one paragraph, describing the place where you are you at this moment. Then tomorrow, add one more paragraph. The place may remain the same, or you might find yourself in a different location or at a different time. Write just one paragraph about it.

But here’s the catch: you must do it every day. No days off, no vacations, no weekends or holidays. You will write at least one new paragraph every day.

There are no restraints on this assignment. Your paragraphs may lead you into a novel. Or you might find that you have things to say that you can publish in a blog or a newspaper or magazine.  You might use a paper journal and record your travels, one paragraph at a time. Carry it with you and you might find that your one paragraph isn’t enough for the day and you can write one paragraph many times across twenty-four hours.

After you complete your first paragraph, the choice is up to you, but when you don’t know what to write, revert to the original assignment: write one paragraph, just one paragraph, describing the place where you are you at this moment.

If you begin today and continue through the next year, you’ll have written almost 400 paragraphs by the year’s end. And more than that, you’ll have developed a habit of writing and of thinking and dreaming like a writer. You will be a writer.

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