What You Didn’t Know

by Nancy Casey

Humans are learning all the time. That’s what we do.

In the process of growing from an infant to an adult, a person learns an awful lot. There was a time when you didn’t know how to say your own name. Or what it would feel like to be as old as you are now.

Learning doesn’t stop after we’ve grown to full size. Sometimes we get very organized and we try to learn. We take a classes or workshop inflower arranging or mathematics. We join sports teams and reading clubs. Other times new understanding comes to us through experience. In every case, there was something (maybe lots!) that we didn’t know when we started.

Learning comes in small, everyday ways, too. We learn what the weather is. We learn what our friends are up to. We learn what’s in our inbox. If you lose your keys, you either learn where you put them, or you learn what it will take to get them replaced.

One thing for certain: You can’t learn what you already know.

Today in your writing, celebrate the many things you have learned in your life—big or small—by writing down things that you didn’t know once but you do now.

Before you get started, draw a line at the top of the page where a title can go. Draw or doodle a little bit on the page to quiet your mind and get focused. Or set aside some space where you can draw later.

Write statements that begin, “Didn’t know…”  and one after another, relate some of the things that, once upon a time, you didn’t know.

Often there is a story that goes with learning something new. Let your mind flicker through the remembering of those stories, but don’t write them down. And don’t let them slow you down. Don’t tell where, or when or why you didn’t know. Don’t explain the consequences of not knowing or what changed with the new information.

Just write down things you didn’t know. One after another. Big or small. No particular order. As many as you can fit on the page.

When you have filled the page, look over your work. Add color and illustration if you haven’t already. Think up a title  for your page and write the date 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. Since it’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center, if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.


 

Mysterious Eating

by Nancy Casey

If you are alive, you have a history of eating.

Maybe you have forced yourself to eat. Maybe you have forced yourself to stop eating. You’ve probably eaten food you loved and food you’ve not-loved. Food that’s good for you and food that’s not so great. Food that’s satisfying and food that came up as fast as it went down.

There’s a good chance that in your long history of eating, all of these things have been true at one time or another. All of these things and more!

Let your mind roll around your whole long history of eating as you set up your page. Draw a line at the top where a title will go, and set off some space where you can doodle or draw.

Begin your writing with the words, “Once, I ate…” and tell about whatever eating experience pops into your mind first. Give as many details as you like about what you actually ate. Give some details about the context, too, but leave them sketchy.

For starters, the word “Once” says that you eating story took place in the past, but it doesn’t say if it was 2 minutes ago or when you were one year old. You could mention other things that happened—while you were eating, or before, or after. But be mysterious about it, don’t leave behind enough details for someone to know exactly when this was.

If you were with someone, don’t say who they were. You might write about their hair or their fingernails, their table manners, what they said or how they laugh, but don’t identify them. Try to describe them so that nobody can figure out who they are. Sometimes it helps to try to remember little details instead of big ones.

Similarly, you can write about where you were, but don’t give the exact location. Describe what you could see or hear. Tell what else was in the room or on the table. Include details about the weather, if you like. Just don’t provide the information that will let someone name the place.

Your eating story can be long or short. If there is still room on the page when you finish it, write another one. Begin with, “Once, I ate…” Whether you fill the page with one single eating story or more than one is entirely up to you.

When the page is full, look back over all your work.  Make small changes in what you have written if you like. If you haven’t already used up the drawing space, fill it up any way you want. You could illustrate one of your eating experiences, doodle around, or draw some other thing that’s not obviously related to your writing. Sometimes a really good title will pop into your head while you are drawing.

Write the title at the top of the page, and put your initials and the date on the page, 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. It’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center at this time. If you would like some help or a little more connection related to your writing,  contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center and ask about writing coaching.

Where There’s a Chair

by Nancy Casey

Begin your work today by drawing a great big chair.  Any chair, real or imaginary, ugly or pretty. The important thing is to draw it as big as the whole page, so the top of the chair is at the top of the page and the bottom of the chair is at the bottom of the page.

You don’t have to be elaborate or even accurate, just sketch out a great big chair.

Squeeze in a line near the top that saves a space to write a title later.

Notice that your drawing has divided up the page into several different sections. In each section, write something about a chair.

Perhaps you recall a chair that you have known and loved (or hated) for a long time. Maybe you have a favorite chair. Is there a chair you long to own?

What makes a good chair? It’s shape? The stuff it’s made of? Where you are when you sit in it? Its history?

What other kinds of things do people sit on? If someone sits on it, does it automatically become a chair?

Maybe you can think of a time when a situation was awkward because there were no chairs.

Skip around the page, writing tidbits about a chair (or chairs) in each of the sections you accidentally made when you drew the big chair on the page.

Maybe you will end up with a collage of ideas about chairs. Maybe they will combine to tell some kind of story. Whatever you do, it will be interesting.

You can jazz up the page by using different colors to write in the the different sections. You might want to decorate the chair you drew.

When the page is full, read back over all your work. Make small changes if they are needed. Then think up a title. Write it on the line near the top that you reserved for the title. Put the date and your initials on the page, 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. Since it’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center, if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Share Your Writing

by Nancy Casey

The goal of “Write for You” is to give you ideas for using writing to make your life better in some way. It’s for you. That means that as long as you have some kind of a writing practice and write things that are pleasing and informative to you, you are succeeding. What makes it pleasing to you? What does it inform you about? You are the only one who can answer questions like that. The answers might turn out to be quite private.

At the same time, as you get more practice and start developing confidence in yourself, you might realize that others would find your writing interesting. You can decide to let others read it.

Here are some things to keep in mind about sharing your writing:

  • It’s natural to want to ask, “Is this any good?” You can answer that yourself! Yes, it’s good. If you like it, it’s good. Could you make it better? Maybe, if you feel like it. For now it’s good enough.
  • There’s a nervous rush of exposure that comes with sharing your writing. It’s normal to want people to say things that are reassuring to you. You hope for reactions that make you glad you shared the writing. The fact is, however, people usually don’t know what to say to someone about their writing, so don’t set your expectations about other people’s reactions too high.
  • Silence can be a very positive reaction, even though it feels awkward. It means the person is thinking. No matter what they say or don’t say, your writing made them think.
  • Make sure your writing practice remains something that you do for yourself. Continue to write with the intention of keeping the work private. Don’t think about sharing it until after it’s written. When you do share something, you can always change it to make it less private.

This blog has now stored up several year’s worth of weekly writing exercises that anyone can do at any time. Maybe you have done them all. Or some of them. Maybe you are about to start doing them now. If you would like to share what you’ve written for any of those exercises, you can put it in the comments section in one of three ways:

  • Simply type it into the comments box.
  • Copy something you have typed a computer and paste it into the comments box.
  • Take a picture of what you have written and paste it into the comments box.

I have been using a variation on the third method. I take a picture of my writing each week and add it to this webpage. But that’s just mine. It would be more interesting to see yours.

You might be surprised how many people would like to see what you write. Many thanks in advance to anyone who takes the trouble to share their work!

Before you dive into all the possibilities for sharing your writing, don’t forget to write today! Take a few moments to ground yourself with your writing practice. Get ready to write a page that is just for yourself. Settle in with your writing materials and look around you. Describe what you see. Start with the things that are closest to you and work your way out.

Be sure to give your work a title and write the date on it, too. 


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

Bubbles in Your Bubble

by Nancy Casey

Each one of us lives at the center of our own universe. Awareness is the tool we use to explore that universe and extend it outward.

Today’s writing gives you a chance to be aware of your awareness.

Our awareness brings information from our senses. Our logical minds, emotions, and memory are part of our awareness, too.  So are “uncanny feelings” and “sixth senses.” Sometimes when people pray or meditate, they describe their experience as “pure awareness.”

Imagine a small bubble around yourself, a bubble that is close in. It could be your skin. It could be the room you are in, or everything that is within 3 feet of you. Whatever close-in bubble you choose, write down some of the things you are aware of inside of it. You might include physical objects or people, sounds and smells, ideas and plans. Whatever you are aware of in the tiny world closest to you.

After you have written several lines about your closest bubble, expand the bubble a little bit. Write about new things you can be aware of inside the bubble that’s a little bigger than the first one.

Keep doing that.  You will end up describing the universe that begins with you, starting with a small bubble that you are inside of. Then you will write about the contents of ever larger bubbles that extend outward from you.

You can organize your page in several ways. You can put yourself in the center, draw the actual bubbles and write (and draw) inside of them. Or you can divide the page into drawing space and writing space, alternating between the two according to your inspiration.

Actually, you can organize the page however you want. Just be sure to leave room for a title at the top. Write down your title after the page is full and you have looked over your work. Sometimes a really fun title will just pop into your head then.

If you like, you can repeat this exercise and put somebody else in the center of the smallest bubble. Then you have to imagine what they must be aware of. This is a good way to exercise your capacity for empathy.

In addition to a title at the top, write the date on your work, too.

Here is an example of what someone could write. But there are many different ways to do this.

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. Since it’s not possible to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center, if you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Center.

Small, Medium, Large

by Nancy Casey

Gather your writing stuff. Gather your thoughts. Park yourself in the present.

Notice what your senses are taking in. Notice internal things, too, like body sensations and emotions. Memories and ideas in your mind right now are also part of the present.

Randomly explore the present while you set up your page.

Draw a line across the top of your page where the title will go. Then divide the page into four equal-sized sections. Label three of those sections Small, Medium, and Large.

Keep dwelling on the present and ask yourself, What’s small? What’s medium? What’s large?  Make a list inside each section.

There are several ways to approach this. You could begin by noting something small, and then asking yourself, What’s bigger than that? Or start with something large, and ask yourself what’s smaller. Or start in the middle, choose something, and ask, What’s bigger? What’s smaller?

Another way to approach this exercise is to fill one section at a time. Write down all the small things you notice, then the medium-sized ones, and finally the large ones. Or start with the large ones. Or the medium ones.

Maybe you will start with one approach and then switch to another. You might even invent an approach of your own. The important thing is to fill each of the sections according to their labels: Small, Medium, and Large.

When you don’t know what to write, look for ideas in the present tense.

There will be one section left. From all the items on the three lists you have written, pick one thing that is important. It doesn’t have to be the most important thing. There are probably quite a few things on your lists that matter to you. Pick one of them and write a little bit about it in the fourth section.

Draw or doodle on the page if you feel like it. A bit of color adds a lot!

When you have filled the page, go back over your work. Make small changes if you want to.

Wait for a title to pop into your mind. When it does, write it on the line at the top of the page. Write the date somewhere on the page, 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. It’s not possible at this time to have an in-person Write-For-You class at the Recovery Center. If you are interested in writing coaching, contact Nancyor the Latah Recovery Center.