Write for You

by Nancy Casey

Set up your page in the usual way by drawing a line across the top where your title will go. Then divide the remaining space on the page into four different areas of roughly equal size. Next, get some scrap paper where you can jot down a few notes.

On the scrap paper, write down the names of four objects that are familiar to you. You can choose something that is right in front of you, or something that you see (or have seen) often.

For each object, write down three descriptive details, that is, short bits of information that tell something about the object. A detail could have something to do with how the object looks or sounds or smells. You could have a detail about the history of the object. You could say something about its function. Any 3 details. A couple of words max. Make them as odd or interesting as you can.

Then begin your actual page. In each of the four spaces you have marked off, write about each of the four objects as if you were an emcee introducing the object for a fabulous performance before a live audience. No need to say what the performance will be, you only need to tell how fabulous the object is.

An emcee must create interest, suspense and excitement in the audience. One trick for doing this is to withhold the name of the object until the very end, so be sure to do that.

Here are some phrases that emcees often use. You can borrow them or think up some of your own.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, appearing next on our stage is one who…
  • Our next guest is one you would be likely to find…
  • … is never a problem for our next guest, because…
  • Tonight we welcome to the stage one who comes to us all the way from…
  • Without our next guest, the world would be…
  • You might find it hard to imagine that…

Your introduction will be short—there isn’t much space provided.  It will only rely on three details. Try to build up the object as something fantastic, marvelous, and perhaps a bit mysterious, before revealing what it is.

When you have finished all four introductions, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to.

If there is not any room for illustration in the spaces where you wrote the introductions, you can add decoration or color to the page by decorating the lines that divide the four spaces.

When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title 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.  If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: Looming Letters

by Nancy Casey

As you set up your page today, think about some of the different things you could write.

What kinds of ideas have been rumbling around in your mind lately? Maybe you could write about them. Maybe you would rather tell a story–from this morning, or from a long time ago. It could be the story of an event you witnessed, an account you heard from someone else, something you have made up, or some blend of all of these. Maybe you would prefer to describe your surroundings right at this moment. You can decide not to write “about” anything at all and freewrite. That is, write down any old thing at all without hardly paying attention to what you are saying.

As your mind wanders over the possibilities for writing, draw a line across the top of the page where the title will go. (Don’t write the title until the very end.)

Then draw some circles on the page. You could draw 10 circles that are about the size of a quarter, or maybe only five of them if you make them larger than that. Spread the circles out so none are exactly touching each other. Arrange them in a way that’s pleasing to you.

Inside each circle, draw a letter. Any letter. All the letters in the circles can spell out a word if you like, but they don’t have to. It’s okay to repeat letters.

Then make each circle and its letter look very decorative. Doodle away inside the circles until you decide it’s time to start writing.

Write about whatever you want. The only requirement is that when you arrive at one of the circles, you have to use that letter next. It might be the first letter of a word, or it might fall in the middle of a word. However it works out, work that letter into your writing.

Keep going until the page is full.

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. Look at each of the letters to see if you’d like to add a bit more decoration. When you are satisfied with the page, give it a title 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. If you would like to do this exercise or others like it with a group of people, come to the Write-for-You class at the Latah Recovery Center on Thursdays at 5pm. Anyone can join. Just show up!
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Write for You: An Alphabet of Opposites

by Nancy Casey

Today you will write individual words instead of paragraphs or sentences. You will end up plucking words from interesting corners of your imagination, which is often amusing.

Begin by setting up your page:

  • Draw a line across the top where the title will go.
  • Draw a line across the bottom of the page that marks off just enough space for exactly one line of writing.
  • Draw 2 vertical lines down the remaining empty space on the page so that it is divided into 3 columns.
  • At the top of the right-hand column, write the heading “Different.” For the middle column, use the heading “Same.” The left-hand column won’t need a heading.
  • For the left-hand column write the letters of the alphabet (A-Z) down the left-hand edge of the page.

Then begin writing. For each letter of the alphabet in the left-hand column, write down a word that begins with that letter. Any word. You don’t have to think them up in alphabetical order. It’s okay to skip around.

It doesn’t really matter where the words come from. You can…

  • …write a word that is related to something you have been thinking about.
  • …look around you and write down the name of what you see.
  • …close your eyes and wait for a word to pop into your mind.
  • …go to a place where a lot of people are talking and write down words that you hear.

In the Same column, next to each word you’ve written in the alphabet column, write another word that is more or less the same as the first word.

In the Different column, write down a word that is somehow different from the other two.

You might decide to write down all the words in the alphabet column first, and then fill the other two columns. Or you can write down the words for the Same and Different columns right after you add a word to the alphabet column.

It turns out that there are also lots of different possibilities for going in order or skipping around. Mix it up however you like.

What counts as “same” and what counts as “different” are also entirely up to you. There is lots of wiggle room.

After you have filled up all three columns, in the skinny one-line space at the bottom of the page, write some kind of comment. It might be an observation about the process of filling the columns. Or a thought that passed through your mind as you were writing down words. The comment can be anything that pops into your head and fits into the tiny space allowed.

Finally, give your work a title and write the date on it, too. If you add some kind of illustration, you will be glad you did when you look back at the page later.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: Invent Something

by Nancy Casey

Imagine that you have been given the sudden ability to invent something new. What would it be?

There are lots of ways to invent something and many different types of inventions.

Many inventions are something like machines. You could invent a robot that behaves in a certain way. You could invent something to add to your body that gives you new abilities, such as special glasses or an extra limb.

You don’t have to limit yourself to inventions that obey the laws of gravity, biology, or time. You don’t have any restrictions at all when what you are inventing is imaginary.

Maybe you would like to invent something where you press a button. Press the button and then what happens?

Many inventions do some kind of useful work, such as building something or moving things around. Some inventions aren’t particularly useful. Instead they might do something that is interesting or beautiful.

Not all inventions are for doing things. Imaginary worlds, for instance, simply exist. You could invent one of those.

You could invent a language, or a new way of communicating. You could invent a conversation that didn’t take place and then invent a way to insert it into the past.

A person could invent plants or animals or living creatures that are neither or both.

What would you like to invent? Think about it while you set up your page. Draw a line where the title will go and set off some space for illustration if you like.

Describe your invention. Tell what it looks or tastes or feels like. Is it useful? Silent? Funny? Explain why it’s a good idea. Tell who will appreciate it and who will dislike it. Invent as many details as you can.

If you finish writing about one invention and still have room on the page, write about another one.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page if you would like. Sometimes a little doodling helps you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Write for You: So Many Coats

by Nancy Casey

It’s summer, but most of us keep a coat handy. There are still chilly mornings and unexpected thunderstorms. It doesn’t always stay warm after the sun goes down. Before the hot days of midsummer make you forget about most of the coats you have ever owned, write about coats.

Write about a coat that you have worn, or are wearing. A coat you might wear or one you wish you could.

There is a lot to say about a coat. They have so many different features and uses. A coat pocket can have a whole world inside. Certain coats are appropriate—or not—for certain places.

Do you have a coat that you like, or dislike? Do you have a coat that helps you out a lot? A coat that annoys you? Have you ever shared a coat?

Every coat has a history. It was made and then what? Sold, bought, lost, found, borrowed, given away, ripped, mended, worn, dyed, went places…?

What if all the coats in the closet talked to each other?

If you mind travels sideways and starts thinking about a coat of paint, you can write about that. Maybe a coat of paint will remind you of coats of wax, sweat, plastic, dust, and other coats that are coatings.

Some coats are imaginary. Have you ever tried to wrap yourself in a coat of confidence? Sometimes people are burdened by heavy coats of grief. What would it feel like to wear a coat of reverence or pride? What’s it like to take off an imaginary coat?

Write about one coat or several of them. When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page if you would like. Sometimes a little doodling will help you think up a good title.

Write the title at the top, and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

A Two-Fer from Write for You!

Your friendly webmaster (Darrell) was bad last week, and didn’t send out the weekly writing prompt.  So…  It’s two-fer Tuesday!  Scroll down for TWO prompts this week.

Older and Younger by 10

by Nancy Casey

Ten years. Is that a long time?

Sometimes, when you look back, 10 years can seem like 10 minutes. Sometimes, as you live through them, 10 minutes can seem like 10 years.

Today in your writing you will have a chance to think about the actual span of 10 years. What or who is 10 years older than you? Who or what is 10 years younger?

As you start to think about that, set up your page:

Draw a line at the top where you will write the title when you have finished.

Next, draw a circle, or a square or any kind of shape in the center of the page. That will be the space you can use for illustration and doodling.

Finally, draw two lines out from the center shape to the edge of the page in such a way that the remaining space on the page is divided roughly in half.

On one side of the page write the word “Older.” On the other side of the page, write “Younger.”

On the Older side of the page, write about things or people that are 10 years older than you. Think about people who are definitely older than you, but aren’t old enough to be your parent. Who was in high school when you were in preschool? Can you think of any inventions or types of knowledge that came into the world 10 years before you were born? What happened in history 10 years before you were born? Whatever those events left behind has been here 10 years longer than you.

On the Younger side of the page, write about people or things that are 10 years younger than you. Who was a baby when you were 10 years old? Do you remember what brand new technology or entertainment you longed for when you were 10? Do you have any books or toys or other objects that came into your life when you were 10? When you look at the people around you, is there anything particular you notice about the ones who are 10 years younger than you?

Use the illustration space to draw or doodle while you wait for ideas to pop into your mind.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add any decoration or color that you think the page needs. Sometimes a little doodling will help you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Ahead and Behind

Does your mind ever whirl round and round like a hamster in a cage, running through all the things that you must do? The things you ought to do? The things you wish you would do? The things that aren’t done yet?

Is your mind equally likely to spin, buzz, and review your many accomplishments?

Today in your writing, you will give your mind a chance to do both. First, set up your page.

Draw a line at the top where the title will go when you have finished. Beneath that line, add two subtitles. On the left write “Do.” On the right write “Done.”

Then make a pencil-thin column down the middle of the page. Inside that column write the letters of the alphabet.

What have you done so far in your life? Think about the chores you did this morning and your antics as a toddler. Think about the people you have helped, the meals you have cooked, the important things you have remembered. What have you organized? What messes have you cleaned up? Try and find something for every letter of the alphabet and write them down on the right-hand side of the page.

On the left-hand side of the page, write down things that you haven’t done yet. Think about the things you must do and the ones you ought to do. What do you wish you would do? Are there things you would like to learn? Places you would like to go? How would you like to change your life? What would you like to add to someone else’s experience?

There is an infinite universe of things you haven’t done out there. You don’t have to limit yourself to the ones that are “realistic.” Try to find something for every letter of the alphabet.

When you have filled up the page, write a title on the line you drew across the top. Write the date on it as well. Draw or doodle on the page if you want to do that. Sometimes a little doodling can help you get unstuck if you don’t know what to write. Doodling on the page after you have finished writing often helps you think up a good title.

Here is an example of what a person could write.

Do you find it easier to remember the past or imagine the future? Do you think of yourself as a person who “gets things done,” or someone burdened with more wishes and demands than one life has time for? You might want to get out a new page and write about that, too.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She leads a writing workshop at the Recovery Center on Thursday evenings at 5pm. Anyone can drop in—just show up. You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. To sign up or get more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

 

Write for You: What Sunshine Does

by Nancy Casey

We are entering a new season. The sun is in the sky for more than fifteen and a half hours every day. There are fewer clouds and rainstorms to block its rays. This is a good time to pause and write a page about how sunshine affects the world we know.

Set up your page first. Draw a line at the top where you’ll put the title when you have finished. Set aside some space for drawing or doodling. (When you go back and look at your pages, you’ll be surprised by how much you like the ones that have some kind of illustration on them.)

The sun changes everything that it shines upon, so you won’t have trouble finding things to write about. Begin by writing the phrase,

When the sun shines on…

Continue by writing the name of something that the sun might shine upon.

If it is daytime and you are outdoors or near a window, you can see dozens of things responding to sunshine.

You also have many memories of sunshine, on your body and in the world around you. Some of those memories are in the form of knowledge—things that you have learned about the effects of sunshine without experiencing them yourself.

You can even think about sunshine in a symbolic way. Sometimes people talk about letting sunshine into attitudes, ideas, or the past. What happens when you “shed a little light” on something? In government, for example, “sunshine laws” are the laws that make sure government business isn’t conducted in secret.

Whatever you decide to start with, tell what happens when sunshine falls upon it. Write as little or as much as comes to your mind. Maybe you will fill up the whole page with ideas about just one thing. Maybe you will fill up a few lines and feel like you’ve said enough.

If you have room after your first idea, begin again,

When the sun shines on…

Name something else that the sun might shine upon and explain what happens when it does.

Continue this way until you have filled the page.

When you have finished writing, read over your work. Add decoration and color to the page however you would like. Sometimes a little doodling helps you think up a good title. Write the title at the top of the page and make sure the date is somewhere on the page, too. Here is an example of what a person could write.

You can share what you have written by posting it as a comment below. To do that, you can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. You can find more of her work here. She teaches a writing class that is free and open to anyone. It meets Thursdays from 5:00-6:15 pm at the Recovery Center, 531 S. Main St in Moscow, ID. Drop-ins welcome! For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.