At Least Four Letters

by Nancy Casey

When you write today, you might not make a lot of sense. Or you might make sense in a different way. Maybe, in a peculiar way, you will make more sense than usual!

You will make today’s writing a little bit goofy by only writing words that contain four letters or more.

As you think the words you are writing, little words will naturally pop into your mind. English has zillions of them: the… of…, a… up… to… and… I… us… You can’t say much of anything without these words, so don’t try to skip them in your mind ahead of time. As you write, skip over them without writing them down. If you write one by mistake, you can always cross it out later.

For example, if you remove all the words that are 3 letters or less from the first paragraph of this post, you end up with:

When write today, might make sense. might make sense different. Maybe peculiar make more sense than usual!

It’s certainly odd. That’s your mission today: to write in a way that’s odd. Peculiar. A little bit goofy. Just for fun.

Set up your page in the usual way, with a line for a title at the top and some space for an (optional) illustration. Then draw a dot mid-way across the page and about a third of the way down. (Later this dot will remind you that you have used up a third of your space.) Draw a second dot that marks a spot that two-thirds of the way down the page.

Launch into your writing. You can tell a story from your life. Or simply describe your day so far and tell how it is different from yesterday. You could write about all of the things you have to do. You can write whatever you want and even make it up as you go along.

The only rule is that as you go, you only write down words that are more than 4 letters long. Don’t let your brain wrinkle over this. Try to find a rhythm where you relax and hear the little words in your mind, but skip over them as you write. When you get to the first dot, a third of the way down the page, give it a rest.

Reread what you wrote, just the way it is. If you notice that some little words have slipped in, scribble them out. Can you read it aloud in a way that (sort of) makes sense?

Continue writing, and continue skipping the smallest words. Pause again when you get to the dot that marks two-thirds of the way down the page. Go back and scribble out any words that are less than 4 letters. Again, read aloud with as much expression as you can.

Finish up the page in the same style, and read the whole thing all over again once more.

As your worked your way down the page, how did your mind and your writing adjust themselves to make the task less awkward? Do you like what you wrote? Are there places that were especially clever and unusual? What title pops into your mind?

Write the title at the top of the page. Write the date on it too, along with a signature or your initials.

Here is an example of what someone could write.

You can share your work by posting it as a comment below. You can type it in, or take a photo of it and upload the image.

Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time, but if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

One thought on “At Least Four Letters

  1. Thanks, Nancy. Good chuckles. Nowadays when reading newspaper articles, a person may have to fill in some of those little words.


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