As I am preparing to move to our new home, I am finding that I have accumulated far too much “stuff”. Packing up a house necessitates clearing out the clutter we have collected through the years. This is also true of writing practice. When we sit down for 10, 20, or 30 minutes of writing practice we have to get through the clutter of our minds. Writing practice for me is often something I do best in a small group where others are writing with me, however disciplining myself to do it solo can be the most rewarding time I spend on my writing all week. Getting past what Natalie Goldberg calls “monkey mind” and getting down to the “first thoughts” is the key to opening up your writing to new possibilities. If we sit with a blank page and stare at it too long without getting the pen moving, we tend to start getting blocked. Ideas will come and go,being dismissed as not important enough to put on paper. Remember that we have to give ourselves permission to put it down, get it out, and move onto the things that our mind unlocks as we keep our pen moving. So, the next time you sit down to start your writing practice, set the timer, get a good pen and a notebook, then GO! Don’t think about it, just write. You may get nothing you will use later, or you may get a single line or paragraph that becomes your next great poem, or short story!