Starting With a Tree

by Nancy Casey

Trees. Those “one legged” living things that can subsist on water and sunshine for hundreds of years. The more you learn about them, the more amazing they are. They exhale oxygen and are home to zillions of living things. They give us food and shade. Some of them are poisonous.

Today, write (and illustrate?) a page that begins with the idea of a tree.

Draw a line at the top of the page where the title will go so you are certain to have a place to put it when you have finished writing. Then pause for a moment and let the idea “tree” settle into your mind.

You can begin with one specific tree in front of you. Or an object which started out as some part of a tree. You could decide to begin with a memory of a tree, or the idea of a tree that you construct in your imagination. Maybe you know some interesting information about trees and will start there.

Once you begin, keep your writing hand moving while your mind relaxes into thoughts that start with a tree.

You could tell a story from your life that has a tree in it. Or several of them. Or make a list of the titles of stories with trees in them that you could tell if you had all the time in the world.

You could decide to make and comment on a list of all the ideas that pop into your head after you start thinking about trees. They could be about trees in general, trees you have observed, how to make something out of a tree (or wood), or how to care for a tree.

You can organize the tree-thoughts that come into your mind alphabetically if you choose.

Drawing or doodling on the page can help your mind relax and think more clearly. Try that if you aren’t sure what to write about. Or illustrate your page after you have finished writing, staying open to a good idea for a title that might float to the surface of your mind while you draw.

Write your title at the top of the page. Write the date on the page 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. In-person Write-For-You classes could be returning to the Recovery Center before too long—but not yet! If you would like some help with your writing, or just some encouragement,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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