Guest Bloggers

The mind can’t tell the difference . . .

Today’s guest blogger is the extraordinary Brad Yates, Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping (EFT) instructor. Reposted from his 8/19/2019 Email. Reviewing the Past In spite of all the encouragement to live in the present or focus on the future, most of us are likely to still spend a fair amount of time reviewing the past. And, more often than not, the moments we dwell on are not necessarily the highlights. It’s normal … but it isn’t without cost. Because the mind can’t tell the difference between something that is real and something that is imagined, just thinking about past troubles triggers the same chemical reactions and the same uncomfortable feelings. Given that we create our reality based on what we are feeling, you can see where this could be problematic. Each time we go through those unpleasant experiences, we hardwire those memories and feelings more firmly, making it more likely we’ll keep…

Just Write

Freewrites: Opening Doors to Discoveries

Notes from Marlene Cullen’s talk about freewrites. Scroll down for links about how to use freewrites and how to write about difficult subjects without adding trauma. I gave a talk about freewrites at the Redwood Branch of the California Writers Club. I’m sharing my notes so you, too, can enjoy the freewrite method of writing. I love freewrites because they are so . . . freeing. Freewrites can open doors to discoveries. I was thrilled to discover freewrites, unlike short story and novel writing, this was something I could do. I hope these tips help make your freewrites fun and successful in inspiring your writing.  What is a freewrite? A freewrite is writing spontaneously with no thinking. Just putting down word after word, with no worries about spelling, punctuation, how it will sound, and no worries about the final product. Sometimes when you are engrossed in your writing project and…

Prompts

Write Your Story. Prompt #436

An article in the Mail Tribune, Medford, Oregon, September 14, 2006 described how Betty Henshaw wrote about her childhood in the Oklahoma hills and her family’s move to California.  Author Sandra Scofield read a collection of Betty’s work and said her history needed to be in the hands of a university press. Texas Tech University Press published her story and Betty did a book tour in 2006. Here’s an excerpt from that newspaper article. “The family hired an auctioneer and sold their cows, horses, pigs, chickens, farm tools, the potatoes in the barn and the home-canned fruits and vegetables. Mama kept her sewing machine. The next morning I helped herd the younger children into the truck before first light. Daddy and Robert had placed a feather mattress on the pickup bed. The babies crawled to the back, grabbed a pillow each, and rolled up in quilts. Sadness washed over me…

Prompts

Write what is hard to admit. Prompt #435

“You don’t grow up missing what you never had, but throughout life there is hovering over you an inescapable longing for something you never had.” — Susan Sontag, excerpted from The Rainbow Comes and Goes by Anderson Cooper. Anderson Cooper continues: “As a child, you generally aren’t aware that your family is different from any other. You have no frame of reference.”   The following is excerpted from What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. “I am thinking of how right he was when he said that people want to be deceived. I have learned the truth of that notion over and over; but I never admitted to its obvious presence in my own life. After all, I claimed I did not need my mother. I said I had replaced her.” Prompt: Write about something you have been unwilling to admit or something you have been deceiving yourself about. Note: No one…

Prompts

Flashbacks . . . Prompt #433

A flashback is a scene set in a time earlier than the main story. Sometimes when you are telling a story, or writing a story, you need to backtrack and tell what happened previously. A flashback is a shift in a narrative to an earlier event that interrupts the normal chronological development of a story. From Make a Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld: “With flashback, you want to focus on action, information, and character interactions.” Flashback can also be thought of as backstory.   Use flashbacks to explain, enlighten, and inform. An example is What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. The story takes place during a woman’s travels to meet her sister and mother. We learn what happened thirty-five years prior through flashbacks while the woman travels in space. Other examples of using flashback to tell a story: To Kill a Mockingbird: The whole story is a flashback told by Scout a…

Prompts

Ouch. Prompt #434

Write about someone in your life who is consistently critical of you or what you do, and this could be yourself. I recently read a Facebook post by Prince Ea about the four letter word that ends all arguments: Ouch. Suggestion: As you write on this prompt, think of what words and actions hurt and add “ouch” to your writing. Frame your situation as experiences that had an “ouch” factor. Next, write what you wish you had said, or could have said, to lessen the hurt. Next, write a love letter to yourself. List your strengths, your qualities, your capabilities that make you uniquely you. Be generous with yourself. You deserve it.

Prompts

Five minute writing exercises . . . Prompt #431

~ Write for 5 minutes about something difficult, challenging, or painful. It’s only five minutes. Go ahead. Do it now. We’ll wait. Humming in the background while writing gets done. Quiet while writing gets done. Are you still reading?  Write!  Just write. For five minutes. After five minutes . . . ~ Write for 5 minutes about something comforting, happy, or joyous. Yes, you. Now. Just write. Go ahead. We’ll wait. Waiting. Waiting. Patiently waiting. I’ll write, too. After five minutes . . . ~ Write for 5 minutes about images of nature, the natural world. Hmm . . . what will you choose from nature to write about? Feathers, rocks, trees, birds, rocks, dirt, peach blossoms, river, waterfall, penguins, geese. Write whatever comes up for you about nature. Shhh. . . Writers are working here. Doing what we do. Writing. Just writing. Keep on writing. For five minutes. Next…