Happy Writing

April 2017 – Writing Prompt
Spring is a time of renewal and change. Before we can begin anew, we need to clear out the debris in the our gardens — or in our lives! What do you need to clean out or release in order to make way for a time of change and renewal? Write for ten minutes — or more! (See Judy’s in-depth activity at http://judyreeveswriter.com/the-lively-muse-blog/)

May 2017 – Writing Prompt
Research keeps showing us the power of gratitude. To start your day out with joy, spend ten minutes writing (or thinking) about what or who you are thankful for. Explore what happens when your mind embraces an attitude of being grateful. My favorite site for exploring gratitude in depth is  http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/gratitude. Enjoy!

June 2017 – Writing Prompt
Often a word pulls thoughts and memories from us. Find a comfortable spot. Choose a word from the list below and begin to write. If you have chosen the wrong word, pick another.  If you get stuck, simply write “I am stuck” until your brain kicks in. Write freely for five or more minutes. Then reflect on your writing. What have you discovered or learned?
            Anger                         Fear
            Pain                            Loss 
            Hope                          Resilience
            Love                            Peace
            Friendship                Connection
And make a list of new words that you want to explore at a later time.

July 2017 – Writing Prompt
My dearest, oldest, best friend, Janis Frazee, recently sent me a copy of The Book of Joy by his Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.These world famous, wisdom-makers share the research of a well-known neuroscientist, Richard Davidson. Davidson holds that there are four brain circuits that allow us to have a “happy brain.” They are:

  • our ability to maintain a positive state
  • our ability to recover from negative states
  • our ability to focus and avoid mind-wandering
  • our ability to be generous

Choose one of these brain circuits and explore this one ability. How does it work in your life? Do you agree that it leads to happiness? Has it led to your happiness? What do you believe is important about this ability? Explain.

August 2017 – Writing Prompt
Writing can help us slow down and experience the moment. Find a quote or two lines from a song or poem you love. Then find a comfortable spot under a tree, in a comfy chair, or by a pool. Take your selected lines and read and reread them. What do you find? What images capture your mind? What meaning comes from these words? Write for five or more minutes. Then reflect on what you have discovered. Write more if you are inspired. Here are two lines from Ellen Bass’s poem, “The Thing Is.” You can use them if you like

          to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it.

September 2017 – Writing Prompt
Treasured Moments. Think of a time or a moment in your life that you value and remember well. What happened? Write about it. Savor it.  It is a precious moment to hold.

After you write about this experience, think about sending your writing to someone who shared this moment with you. Whether you send it or not, you may want to make a collection of treasured moments. Keep them somewhere special. This may be a gift to give someone in your family or it may be a gift you give yourself to help you write your next story or book.  Happy writing.

October 2017 – Writing Prompt
Silver Linings What are you grateful for?  What are your personal “silver linings?” Spend a few minutes exploring what you have in your life to appreciate– a person, a pet, an event, a hobby, a job? Begin by jotting a simple list. Then free-write on what you are grateful for and why.

Afterwards, reflect on your writing. How did it feel?

November 2017 – Writing Prompt
Curiosity and Creativity. One of the greatest journal keepers of all time was Leonardo Da Vinci. As I read Walter Isaacson’s new book, Leonardo Da Vinci, I am spellbound by the ideas, creative and curious, of this profound genius. His notebooks have inspired this prompt:

Leonardo studied anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, light – the list is endless.  His curiosity was insatiable. What makes you curious? If you could study any subject you have never had a chance to study, what would you learn about? What questions would you ask?  Why would you choose this topic and what would you hope to learn?

We all learn so differently. Leonardo learned by talking to others and exploring his thoughts in his journal. How about you? Do you learn best by reading? Writing? Doing? Listening to others talk about doing? Explore how you believe you do your best learning. Give examples and explain why you think this method works for you.

December 2017 – Writing Prompt
Our Words Can Be Our Gifts! Years ago I gave my mom a poem. A few weeks before I wrote that poem I had seen Michelangelo’s Pieta sculpture. My response –tears. The beauty of Mary was overpowering. Afterwards I realized that Michelangelo’s Mary reminded me of my own mom, and I began to draft and redraft a poem for my mom. Sentimental, yes, but this was perhaps the best gift I ever gave her. Or anyone.

At a time of gifts, I hope you will think about creating a poem or writing a story or giving a meaningful book to someone you love. If you want to find your own words, here are a few prompts to help you write.

  • Rummage through your memories of the significant people in your life. Who are the family members, teachers, friends, or mentors who changed you and continue to inspire you? Make a list. See who surfaces.
  • Explore one individual who matters to you. What gifts have they brought into your life? What have you learned from them? How did they change or influence you?
  • With these thoughts and images in mind, create a collage, a poem, a story, or a letter that you can wrap up, tie with a bow, and give to this person in this season of giving – or give when you are ready to share.

January 2018 – Writing Prompt
Open Up Your Creativity! Creativity often surfaces from the pain of our experiences, limitations, rejections, and losses.
Think back to your past. Then write for at least ten minutes on one of these topics:

  •  An experience. What experience opened you up and helped you discover or rediscover an
    ability you might not have explored or known you had? What new ability came from this
    experience? Dancing? Gardening? Running? Painting? Golfing? Writing? Cooking?
    Metalworking? Rock-climbing? Explore this.
  • A limitation. When did you learn you had a limitation? How did you learn this? How did you
    feel? What came from this experience?
  • A rejection. When have you experienced rejection? How did you feel? How did you handle
    this experience? What did you learn? Did it change you? How?
  • Losses. Have you experienced a loss (a divorce, a death, a move, a retirement) that opened
    you up to a new aspect of your creativity? How did this happen? What did you learn from this
    experience?