Thursday, October 2

According to Jewish law and tradition, this year, 5775, is a Shmita or Sabbatical year, when Jewish farmers are supposed to let the land rest. The idea of fallow fields got me thinking about what grows when you don’t actively plant seeds, either physically or metaphorically.

Prompt #1  Write about toiling, perseverance, stepping back, being receptive. Write for 15 minutes.

Prompt #2 Follow these steps to see what emerges.

  1. Write for 10 minutes inspired by the word “fallow.”
  2. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “follow.” Encourage connections with the “fallow” writing.
  3. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “fellow.” Again, look for connections, either thematically or aurally, with your “fallow” and “follow” writing.
  4. Look at all three samples. Circle phrases and words that stand out for you. Choose one word or phrase from each sample and write them on top of a new page. Write for 10 more minutes.


The Face of Frustration

Thursday, September 18


Art Work by David Adamo

Hey Everyone — I’m back from my summer hiatus with more prompts, recommendations and explorations of the craft of writing. Today’s prompt:

Write about frustration.

Suggestions and inspirations:

1. Writing in prose, write a series of dialogue-free actions that depicts growing frustration. Write for 15 minutes

2. Writing poetry, create pacing, word choice and sentence length that convey the energy of frustration. Write for 15 minutes.

3. Write a list poem on the theme of frustration. Write for 10 minutes.

4. Depict frustration that grows, ebbs, explodes, then…?


More about David Adamo’s work here.

Thursday Thoughts: Out Loud

For Thursday, July 17  Prompt 74

IMG_0607Do you read your work out loud as you write and edit?

If so, how does it change what you write?

If not, try it. See if it affects your word choice, sentence length or dialogue.




For Friday , July 11, 2014  Prompt #68

Following up Wednesday’s cycle-of-life, theme, today’s prompt is about weddings, actual and metaphoric. (I’m traveling this week, so no photo accompaniment.)

1. Write about the first wedding you remember attending.
2. Include small details that have stayed with you and emotions you experienced, such as excitement, anger, confusion,

Further Writing
1.If you have had wedding ceremony or a commitment or civil union ceremony, write or rewrite your wedding vows with the knowledge and experience you now have.

2. Write commitment vows to another person, place, or passion. For example, to your children, to your hometown, or to your vegetable garden. They can be heartfelt, heart-wrenching, whimsical, or a mix of emotions.

For Writing Groups

1. Write vows of commitment to your writing.
2.Read them out loud to each other.

Thursday Thoughts: Why Write?

IMG_2214July 3, 2014

It’s Thursday Thought-day again, so instead of posting a prompt, I’m posing another writer’s question.  Ponder, discuss among friends, consider, debate.

We write for different reasons at different times. Why do you write? Do you write to understand life more fully — to explore subjects, people, or places? To better understand yourself? Do you write to express and share beliefs? Do you write to create beauty?


Play It Backwards

June 27, 2014  Prompt #56

DSCN6122Today, more random play as we explore ways to re-vision, re-see, and re-imagine our work. This exercise comes from writer and translator T. Begley, from whom I took a writing workshop 20 years ago at The Naropa Institute (that’s what it was called back then).



  1. Choose a section of a story or essay you’ve written that is about a page long. Or choose a single piece of flash fiction or a short to medium-length poem.
  2. Retype it or rewrite it backwards.  That is, on a fresh sheet of paper, write the last sentence of the paragraph, followed by the second to last sentence, and so on until you write the original first sentence as the new last sentence.
  3. Read it out loud.
  4. Highlight something that surprised you.
  5. Circle something that has taken on a new meaning with the rewrite.
  6. Underline something that you think could be improved or changed.
  7. Underline a sentence or phrase that particularly speaks to you. Write it on the top of a new sheet of page and write for 10 minutes.


Further Writing

  • Thinking about #4 above, for 10 minutes, write in response to what surprised you. You can continue in the same style (fiction, verse, etc.) or try more of a self-review.
  • Thinking about #5 above, for 10 minutes, write in response to what has taken on new meaning. Again, you can continue in the same style (fiction, verse, etc.) or try more of a self-review.

Variations for Writing Groups

  1. Cut up your original poem or prose excerpt into individual sentences or long phrases.
  2. Swap one each of your sentences or phrases with two other writing group members.
  3. Rearrange your sentences and your newly-obtained sentences into a new piece.


If your style or subject matter is feeling stale or repetitious, prompts like this can help you step back from your writing and see it in a new light.