Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing

Foot-Friendly Writing Techniques

I’m a messy, unfocused writer at times. I make lists, slop words on a page, rant, rave, and then try to make sense of the mess. As I regularly explain to my Composition students, writing is naturally messy, but the process of cleaning up the mess is when the real writing begins.

 In order to craft a piece that is cohesive, concise, and focused, writers need to find personal strategies and processes that produce perfection. For me, finding my focus involves an odd tradition that has worked for me throughout the past 10 years – I put on my tennis shoes.

 Those that know me well know that I’m not a fan of socks, much less shoes. If I could live year-round in my flip flops, I would. Trekking through snow and sleet during the Midwest winters stops this dream from becoming a reality, though. If I need to write, I must suck it up and throw on my sneakers.

I’ve found that my tennis shoes are my ticket to focused writing. When I’m wearing tennis shoes, I’m in “go” mode. I’m focused, ready to charge ahead and run with the project. The shoes motivate me to move forward, race through revisions, and clean up the mess that my brainstorming and drafting created.

My tennis shoes warm my toes and help me to add warmth to my stories. My laced up shoestrings prompt me to tighten my leads and write concise pieces. My shoes keep me moving along with the story line and force me to run with a theme.

It’s about stepping outside of my comfort zone, both with my writing and my shoe preferences. You have to be uncomfortable in order to gain strides professionally and personally.

Although I can’t stand that my feet are confined, I’m relieved that my mind is free to run wild. The flip flops will just have to wait until I’m finished writing for the day.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Dec. 15, 2009

 © Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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