• One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.
    Jack Kerouac
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Just Write (5)

A subtle non-prompt for this week from a non-writing prompt book...

Use It or Lose It

Raise your hand if you tell the same stories over and over: that tale you tell about your twentieth college reunion, the Thanksgiving debacle, the Seder-masochistic tale of woe. 

What if I said you could never tell them again unless you first wrote them down, that you'd lose them if you didn't use them? 

I think you'd write them down.

--Marion Roach Smith, The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing & Life

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Just Write (4)

Today's writing exercise is more of a personalized idea generator than a prompt. It comes from Natalie Goldberg's classic Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (Shambala):

Make a list of your obsessions. Although we may like to think otherwise, these are what we write about. As Goldberg tells us, "your main obsessions have power; they are what you will come back to in your writing over and over again....They probably take over your life whether you want them to or not, so you ought to get them to work for you." My favorite things about this exercise are that it's a sneaky way to tell yourself what to write about (which is always more meaningful than a prompt), and that it's a renewable resource, as your obsessions morph over time. Happy digging.  

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Just Write (3)

Today, sadly, I’m thinking about death. Write about a funeral, real or imagined, and for me, make it funny. Even if it so wasn’t. 

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Just Write (2)

If you’re like me, the Sunday paper is still laying half-read and rumpled somewhere in your house (or tidily in your recycling bin, if you’re far more organized and efficient than I). There’s a writing prompt for everyone in there, and it’s probably not on the front page. Pick one article, one person, one event, whatever stuck in your mind for its sorrow, humanity, or ridiculousness. That’s worthy of a tale. 



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Just Write (1)

Just write.

It’s become something of a cliche, as far as writing advice goes. If you want to write, you have to do just that, write. Everyday. Rain or shine, happy or sad, and most important of all, inspired or uninspired. It’s a compulsion that you mold into a habit through regular practice. 


In a perfect world, the words would just flow and you'd never need anything as prosaic as a writing prompt. You would stay at your desk crafting perfect sentences instead of getting up for another cup of coffee and then deciding to bake oatmeal raisin cookies while you're in the kitchen (hypothetically, and definitely not a real example from last week). So just in case you too are a compulsive baker, or for those days when you can’t face the stalled manuscript, the blank page, or the new project, we offer you a little something to jumpstart your habit--a writing kick in the ass, if you will. And is there a day when you need a kick in the ass more than a Monday? 


We didn’t think so either, so every Monday you’ll find  something here to help you keep your practice going, even when it’s the last thing you want to do. The exercises, prompts, and ideas will come from friends, favorite books, and silly things we’ve found that work. And we’ll take your ideas too. Email us your favorite writing prompt or idea and you might just see it here with. Without further ado...


Just write (1):

Write about a simple board game that turns its players into pie-eyed cutthroats.


(From: Monica Wood, The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing, Writers Digest Books, 2002) 

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