Second Thoughts

by Nancy Casey

We often talk about the “first thing that comes to mind.” Our minds never stop, though, so right after the first thing, along comes the second one. Today you will have a chance to notice the first thing that comes to mind and then write about the second.

Set up a page with a line across the top where your title will go. Divide the rest of the page into five equal parts. The parts don’t have to be perfect squares or rectangles. Just make it so that there are 5 roughly equal-sized areas for writing in.

Near the top of one writing area, write the word clothes in tiny letters. In another area, write the word fun. Label two of the remaining areas tired and travel. The fifth writing area won’t have a label.

Pick one of the words and start talking about it. Yes, talking. Out loud. Say whatever comes to mind when you focus on that word. A memory, some wisdom, a historical event, an object, a person, a color, a sensation…

Talk until you have explained whatever you are talking about, then pause a moment, take up your pen, and write down whatever thought comes to mind next. There’s not much room, you won’t be able to write a lot. Don’t write down anything you already said out loud.

Repeat the same process for the other 3 words. Say your first thought out loud. Write a little bit about your next thought. Don’t fuss too much about how (or if) the second thought connects to the first one. Just write whatever comes into your mind next.

Use the final empty writing area to write about what it was like to do this. Some people find it easy and fun. Others find it difficult an annoying. Some people get insights into their thinking process and how one thought moves into another one. What did you notice?

Decorate the page in any way that you like. When you are all finished, look back over the whole thing. Give your work  a title. Write the date and your signature on it, too.

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. If you would like some help with your writing, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

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