The Shapes

by Nancy Casey

Get yourself situated in a place where there is something to look at. It can be indoors or outdoors. What shapes do you see in front of you?

Instead of taking note of the names of objects you see in front of you, take note of their shapes.

Rather than saying to yourself, “book…tree…pile of laundry,” you could say, “rectangle…triangle…blob.” Or something like that.

Look for rectangles and squares, circles and ovals, triangles and, of course, blobs. Study the blobs. Sometimes they are combination shapes, such as a square glued to an oval. Or a circle with a triangle cut out of it.

Try not to look at things. Look at shapes instead. Don’t say bicycle, ask yourself what shapes that thing is made of.

Set up your page. You can rotate the paper so the page is either wide or long. Draw a line at the top where the title will go.

Draw the shapes you have been looking at. Spread them out across the page more or less the same way they are spread out in front of you. Just the shapes. A circle here, a square there, and so forth.

Don’t try to make the drawing “look like” anything other than a bunch of shapes.

After you have drawn shapes for a while, write something somewhere on the page. You can write something about the drawing or the scene in front of you. You can write about what has drifted into your mind.

After writing a bit, go back to the shapes. Can you add details and more shapes? Some shapes have shadows that are also shapes. Sometimes you can see shapes inside of shapes. Different shapes might be different colors.

When you feel done with shapes, go back to writing. Alternate between writing words and working on the shapes until there is nowhere left to write or draw on the page.

Look over the whole page carefully. Make small changes if you want to. Wait for a title to pop into your mind, and then write it at the top of the page. Write the date on the page, too.

Here is an example of what someone’s page could look like.

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. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

A Tale of a Table

by Nancy Casey

Tables are everywhere—in homes, workplaces, on downtown sidewalks. Today, choose a table in your life and write about it.

There are many ways you can write about a table. You can tell its history or you can explain the various useful things that it does. Your table doesn’t have to appear “normal.” Some tables get overturned, walked on, or folded up.

Some tables have been sold, lost, or destroyed, but they are remembered.

You can write from the perspective of the table if you like. What does the table think about the faces that hover over it or the things people put on it? Are there things that make it angry, tired or happy? Does it think about the future? Can a tablecloth change its attitude? What does it remember?

While you are thinking about what to write, set up your page. Draw a line where you can put a title after you have finished writing.

Set off an area for an illustration. You can draw a table, of course, but you can also draw anything you want. You can just doodle, or even color the whole illustration space one solid color. When you run your pen or pencil around on the page without any words involved, it relaxes your mind and helps you understand your writing better.

When you look back at your pages, the ones with the drawings look the best—no matter what you drew.

When you have filled the page, reread your work. Make small changes to the writing or the drawing if you need to. 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. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Wondering Where

by Nancy Casey

When you write about what you don’t know, you have an infinity of possibilities to choose from. So infinite, in fact, that it helps to narrow it down. Today, write about what you don’t know by writing sentences or paragraphs that begin, “I wonder where…”

Sometimes we wonder things like where the other brown sock went. We wonder about where a lot of lost things are, even when we don’t expect to find them. Sometimes we wonder where a person is.

You can “wonder where” about the future. Think about planning a trip or moving to a new place. Think about your daily activities. Do you wonder where they will take place in the future?

You can “wonder where” someone or something comes from. Maybe you wonder where a certain idea comes from.

Draw a line at the top of the page where your title will go. Mark off some space on the page for doodling or illustration. Then begin to write.

Write the words “I wonder where…” on the first line of the page and see if you get an idea for what to put next. If you do, keep on writing. If an idea doesn’t come to you immediately, start to doodle or draw and occasionally repeat the phrase, “I wonder where…” An idea for what to write will come to mind.

“Wondering where” always involves thinking about a place. That place can be in the past or the future. It can be a place in your mind, or a place in history. The possibilities are infinite.

Maybe you will write many details about what you are wondering about. Maybe you will move on quickly and wonder about something or someone else. If you feel stuck about what to write, go back to doodling.

When you have filled the page, look it over. Make small changes to the writing or the drawing if you need to. 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. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

For example…

by Nancy Casey

For today’s writing, you will need a half-dozen or so good words. What’s a good word? You’ll know one when you see one.

Get your page set up so that there is a line across the top where the title will go. Mark off some room for illustration, too. Then send yourself on a mission to find some good words.

One of the best place to find good words is in your own writing. You can find them anywhere, though—online, in books, flyers, graffiti… They don’t have to be words that you read. They can be words that you know or words that you hear.

Any word can be a good word. As long as you have some kind of connection to it, even a tiny one.

Scan some writing or just listen. As possible good words pop out at you, write them down across the page so that your first line of writing is just a string of words. Write down as many good words as will fit on one line.

Pick one of those words, any one. Look up its definition. If your word has more than one definition, choose just one of them and write it down. After the definition, write something that begins, “For example…” Give an example that will explain the definition better. Use the word as much as you can in what you write.

Your example can be as long or as short as you like. It can come from your memory or things that you know. You can also just make it up.

If the word you wrote about has more than one definition, you can write down another definition for the word and give another example.

If the word you wrote about doesn’t have another definition, or if you don’t want to write about that word anymore, pick a different word from your list and continue on by writing the definition of that one.

Draw or doodle in the illustration space.

When you have filled the page, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. 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. She taught the Write-For-You writing class at the Recovery Center last summer and will return again in the spring. For more information about classes and writing certificates, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.

Your Ground

by Nancy Casey

Get started by doodling on your page. Let the tip of your pen ramble around. Watch as it makes lines and curves. At the same time, let your mind doodle. Ask yourself how many different ways you can use the word ground.

Underground. Ground zero. Grounded. Ground coffee. The ground.

Before you begin to write, draw a line at the top of your page where you will put the title after you have finished writing. You can include this line as part of your doodling. Keep allowing yourself to mind-doodle, and you’ll notice more and more ways the word ground pops up in everyday converstion.

Hit the ground running. Stand your ground. Ground-breaking. From the ground up.

Then start writing. Write whatever you want. Try to use the word ground as much as you can.

If you want to, you can be playful and think more about how your writing sounds than what it means. Just let yourself write semi-ridiculous stuff that repeats the word ground over and over. It might not end up to be ridiculous.

You could slip in words that rhyme with ground and whatever your write would probably be more interesting.

You could write a true or made-up story about a person who lives on the ground floor of a building and cares about ground balls. Or grounds-keeping, ground rules, or ground glass. Perhaps you have a story to tell about a person sleeping on the ground.

Unless you are in outer space, the ground is all around you. If you are down in a mine, where is the ground? What’s on the floor around you? Is the floor the ground? You could write a long list of details about the ground around you, indoors or out.

Maybe you have something to say about ground water. Or groundnuts.

When you reach the bottom of the page, read everything over again and make small changes if you like. Add to your drawings and doodles, too. Maybe you want to use extra colors.

When you decide the page is completely finished, give it a title. Write the date somewhere on it, too.

Regardless of how you fill the page, you will probably feel more grounded afterwards than you did before you started.

Here is an example of what a person 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.

Hats Everywhere

by Nancy Casey

A person usually doesn’t have to search very hard to find a hat. Or a person wearing a hat. Maybe you are wearing a hat. If you search your memory and imagination for hats, you will never run out of them.

Today, write something that has to do with hats.

You could write about hats you have worn throughout your life. You could write the life story of one single hat.

Are there hats you have loved or hated? Hats you have lost or found? Maybe you have an ex-favorite hat that you would never put on your head today.

Some people like to make hats. Some people never wear them.

If you twist a scarf around your head, is that a hat? Is the hood of a hoodie a hat? How about a bicycle helmet or flowers in your hair—would they count as hats? What’s the most creative or unusual hat that you know of?

What can a hat communicate about a person’s identity? When a hat is part of a uniform, for example, it tells you what to expect from the person who is wearing it. Hats can also signal a group identity or show the world what a person is interested in. Do you have hats that tell who you are? Do you have any hats that mean one thing to you and something else to other people?

Hats are just plain functional, too. They can keep a head warm, shade the eyes, or protect a bald spot from sunburn.

And of course, hats are fashionable.

Write something about a hat. Or many hats. Real or imaginary, remembered or forgotten. Draw on the page, too, if you want to.

When the page is full, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. 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, contact the Latah Recovery Community Center and ask about writing groups and classes.

The Furniture

by Nancy Casey

Today, write about the furniture in your life. It could be furniture you are sitting on now, furniture from your past, or furniture that only exists in your imagination.

While your mind wanders among the many couches, tables, rugs and footstools you have known, set up a page for writing.

Draw a line at the top of the page to leave room to write a title later. Write the date on the page somewhere. Mark off a section of the page for drawing. You could draw some furniture, of course, but really you can draw anything at all.  If you can’t decide what to write about, draw and doodle for a bit first.

What can you say about furniture? Is the furniture you are thinking of comfortable? Borrowed? An Heirloom? Ugly?

You could write about how a piece of furniture came into your life and describe the history you have shared together.  Maybe someone likes this piece of furniture more than you do.

Furniture can require maintenance and repair. It can be found to have many different uses.

Was there furniture you were not allowed to sit on as a child? Do you have furniture that you won’t let children sit on?

One of the most grueling adventures a person can have is moving all their furniture from one living space to another.

Some people never rearrange their furniture. Others move things around often. Which type of person are you?

What is furniture anyway? Tables and chairs, for sure. Are curtains furniture? A bathtub? You can decide.

Begin by writing about one specific piece of furniture. If that doesn’t fill the whole page, write about a second one, and a third or fourth one, too.

When you have finished writing, reread your work. Make small changes if you need to. Add drawings and 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! You can attend just for fun or work to earn a writing certificate. For more information, contact Nancy or the Latah Recovery Community Center.