If you’ve done the Free Writing Challenge before, you’re probably not surprised to see this eighth prompt in your email inbox. I like to follow the Cajun tradition of lagniappe or a little something extra and give you one more chance to write.
Many of you know that I was in South Louisiana for three weeks, first tending to my mother and her medical needs and then celebrating the life of my dad following his sudden death. As I traveled the backroads of Cajun country, I became fascinated with the wide variety of homes I found there—large, small, new, old, shotguns, mansions—some situated right next door to each other. I began taking photos just for fun.
Those images, some of which I’ve included in this prompt, made me think about the people who called each place home. Who were they? What were they like? Why did they choose these homes? What did their homes say about them? I wondered.
So, let me ask you. Take your current home or one from your past and tell us what this house says about you. Was this a place of your choosing or someone else’s? Did you love or hate those four walls? What history does this home hold for you? What unique feature of this house stands out in your memory? Do you have a particular story associated with some aspect of this home?
These questions should give you plenty to write about, but the power of our writing comes when we focus in on one story and tell it in detail. So that’s my challenge for you today. Use the questions as a springboard to launch you into a narrowly focused story that we can experience as you did. Happy writing.
Welcome to day seven. So, what do you think? Has this challenge been helpful to you? I hope it has. I’ve certainly enjoyed reading your stories each day. Even though I haven’t been able to comment on your entries this time around, I’ve been truly impressed with the way everyone has written their responses. It has been my pleasure and privilege to walk with you these few days.
So, on to today’s prompt. You’re either going to love this one or hate it. I hope you love it. I like to do this writing exercise I call sprints. It involves writing with short bursts of energy on given topics. Each sprint lasts only for one minute. When given the topic, just write whatever comes to mind. Don’t put a lot of thought into it and don’t reject anything. Just go with the thought that enters your mind no matter how crazy it may seem.
I am going to give you five words or phrases. After I show you each word, I’ll set a timer and give you exactly one minute to capture your thoughts. Once the sixty-second mark has been reached, the next subject will appear. Got it?
Do you have your pen and paper or laptop ready to go? I urge you not to play the video until you can do the exercise. Even though we love being in control, the element of surprise in this assignment serves a great purpose.
I encourage you to use the video below to give you the topics and keep track of the time for you. If for some reason, you’re not able to watch the video, click here for a document to see the words in the sprint exercise and time yourself. Just don’t scroll down until you are ready to begin. You will see one word per page.
Ready, set, go!
Some folks are dog people, some are cat people. There are those, too, who have no interest in pets whatsoever. In any case, there might a story that explains it.
Write a cat or dog story. What has been your experience in living with a cat or dog? Is there a specific memory that comes to mind? Write about it. Was it funny, sad, scary, irritating?
If you don’t care for dogs or cats as a result of a particular experience, write out what happened. Did this influence your choice in having future pets?
What have you learned from dogs and cats? What is most intriguing? Most frustrating? What do you love most? What kind of relationship have you formed with a cat or dog in your lifetime?
photo credit: eliduke Portland: Luna & Simba at The Jerkstore via photopin (license)
We all have memories of others. Some memories are tender and treasured. Others are painful and linger longer than we wish. Have you ever thought about being a memory to someone else? Who holds a memory of you?
Perhaps you have written about the many adventurous experiences you had as a young child with a grandparent, sibling, or friend. Have you ever considered how this person might recall you in those same memories?
What is the memory? Focus on a specific memory, a fixed point in time. Play it out on the page. What were you like to them?
Could you teach someone how to finger knit in two minutes or less? Could you teach someone how to perfectly dice an onion or how to expertly tie a bow on a package?
Today, I want you to write about what you could teach someone to do in two minutes or less. How would you teach them to do this? Who taught you to do this thing? Is this something that you do every day or once in a while? Why is it important to know how to do this?
I can’t wait to learn about your hidden expertise and talents.
Jim Morrison, songwriter and lead singer of The Doors, once said, “Some of the worst mistakes in my life were haircuts.” Do you relate to that statement?
Today, I want you to write about your hairstyle. What does your hairstyle say about you? Is this a new hairstyle for you or one that’s tried and true?
How has your hairstyle changed over time? Has your hair ever helped you feel a part of a group or disassociated from a group? Have you had a favorite hairstyle representative of a bygone era?
Tell me about your hair through the ages or just one hairstyle you’ll never forget.
photo credit: classroomcamera DSC04478 via photopin (license)
I never thought I’d ever…
Today, I’d like you to complete that sentence.
Write about something you did that you never thought you’d do. What did you do? Why did you do this? How did you feel doing this? How did you feel afterward? Did it change you in any way? What do you think doing this thing says about you? Continue reading
Last year, a contest was published in The Writer magazine, and the contest writing prompt has stuck with me ever since I read it. I thought it would be the perfect first prompt to get you excited about our week of writing.
As some of you may know, I’ve recently given and attended talks about micro-memoir, or the art of writing memoir under 1,000 words in length. Today, I want you to write a micro-memoir piece about a wunderkammer, which is a 16th century cabinet (or room) of wonders. Continue reading
A fun part of every journey is getting to know your traveling companions, and the same is true for the Free Seven-Day Writing Challenge. Now that you’re signed in, let’s get to know each other. Scroll to the bottom of the page and tell us about yourself in the comments section below.
If you’d like to be notified when others say hello back to you with a response, make sure to click the box beneath your comments that says notify me of follow-up comments by email.