Finding the Write WordsWritten by DeNae Handy
"I would love to write. I just don't know what I'd write about."
I can't tell you how many times I've heard those words, mostly because I don't keep a tally. But it's a lot. At least as many times as I've heard, "There's never anything to eat around here."
And for a while, I couldn't understand how someone could both 'want to write' and 'not know what to write about.'
Then I started blogging, and soon developed a following. Suddenly, I had readers - readers with expectations that I write well and frequently - and on more than one occasion I found myself thinking those very same words. The ones about writing, not eating. Although, in fairness, I'm also known to whine about my empty refrigerator.
Every writer knows what it's like to stare at a blank screen and not know where to start. You may even know part of what you want to write - you know your subject, for example - but the words, the ideas, just won't come.
Welcome to Write Words
As regularly as possible, I'll post a few write words on this site. These words are intended to get you thinking about your stories, your message, in new ways.
These are writing prompts, but without the 'writing prompt' structure. For example, instead of saying, "Write about a time when...," I might put up a list with the words 'shoes,' 'understanding,' and 'birthday.'
Imagine yourself lowering one or more of the write words into your memory well. (Stay with me; I won't use phrases like 'memory well' very often, I promise.) At some point, you'll likely feel a 'tug,' and when you draw the word up again, it will come filled with a story.
The goal of Write Words is simple: Get writers writing. Sometimes the write word will remind you of a person or experience. Other times, you may already have an idea in mind - you're writing about your relationship with your father, for example - and the write word 'birthday' brings up a memory of a special birthday spent with your dad. Or the first time you celebrated a birthday while you were in college. Or that first difficult birthday of his which came after he passed away.
Write Words may help to bring up stories in ways that more structured writing prompts don't. I'm in favor of any word, sentence, conversation, billboard, fortune cookie, or t-shirt that inspires a writer to produce a new story. Just add Write Words to your resource list when the well seems to be running a little dry.
Ready to get started? Pencils up! Laptops on! Memory wells open!
Your first Write Words are:
and when you're finished. If you have a bit of time, would you mind running to the supermarket for me? We're all starving over here.
DeNae Handy is a writer, blogger, storyteller, and editor, and is a columnist for Meridian Magazine. She is a popular speaker at conferences throughout the country, where she enjoys helping participants become better, more effective writers. DeNae believes that everyone has a story to tell, and that with a little encouragement even the simplest stories can be brought to life.
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