Write for You: Ask About Your Surroundings

by Nancy Casey

Today, you are going to write questions, lots of questions. Questions you do not know the answer to. To think up questions, you will begin with your surroundings.

Look at something in front of you—whatever your glance happens to land on—and ask a question about it. Any question at all, as long as you don’t know the answer. If at first it seems like you can’t think up a question, give yourself time, a question will come to mind.

For example, if your glance happened to fall on a book, you might be able to ask a question like one of these: Where was it printed? What’s the tenth word on page 56? What is the author like? When will I get a chance to read it? Should I keep it or give it away? Who got it so dirty? How many minutes has it been sitting there?

Your question doesn’t have to be profound. It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone but you. You aren’t obliged to find out the answer. Any old question will do.

You can ask a question that begins with: What if…? How many…? When…? Do…? Will…? Can…?

You can ask a question about the past, the present or the future.

Just look at something in front of you and ask a question about it. Then look at something else and ask another question. Fill up the page that way.

Sometimes when a person starts to do this, their mind begins to wander and they think up questions about things that aren’t in front of them. If that happens to you, write down those questions, too. When you run out of questions and don’t know what to ask next, look at something in front of you and ask a question about that.

When you have filled the page with questions, read them over. If there is space, and if there is time, and if you feel like it, draw the answer to one of the questions somewhere on the page.

When you have finished, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add any additional decoration or color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.

Please share what you have written. Post it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information.

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