What haunts you? Prompt #284

Sit still for a moment. . . take a few deep breaths. Relax into your chair. For this writing experience, tap into what haunts you. As Rebecca Lawton says in Cool Writing Tips: ” See the detail of the memory with clear eyes and write it down as best you can remember it.” There will be a repeat series of Becca Lawton’s Cool Writing Tips. This will only be available for the month of September, 2016. Sign up now so you don’t miss a single inspirational tip. “Write as if you were dying” features Rebecca Lawton as a guest blogger and highlights one of her Cool Writing Tips. I found her friendly style of writing about writing to be affirming and inspiring. I think you will, too.

Guest Bloggers

Write as if you were dying

What would you write if you knew you would die soon? Today’s Guest Blogger, Rebecca Lawton, took the plunge and explored what it means for our work to be “so essential that we must complete it before we leave this earth.” Becca’s Cool Writing Tips during the month of August were such a success, she’s repeating the series in September. So, if you missed out in August, you have another chance to be inspired by Becca Lawton’s Cool Writing Tips. Becca opened the second week of Cool Writing Tips with this provocative quote from Annie Dillard: Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you write if you knew you would die soon? Becca responds as if she were having an intimate conversation with Annie: Ms. Dillard, I’m so…

Guest Bloggers

Is pre-writing for you?

Guest Blogger Becca Lawton writes about pre-writing. Excerpt from Becca Lawton’s 8/31/15 blog post, about her time in Canada on a Fullbright Scholarship to research her book: Writing a novel is such a huge undertaking that I’m amazed anyone writes more than one . . . I’m completing a submittable draft of my second novel . . . Now that I’m dragging my sorry carcass to the finish line, it’s fun to look back at this post written September 29, 2014, soon after the start of the project, when I was just starting to pour all my hope and energy and learning into it: I just completed sixty pages of prewriting for a second novel . . . They’re filled with answers to questions like, “Who are the main characters in your book?” and “What are their wants in every scene?” and “Is the setting recognizable yet unique?” I’ve modified the questions…

Just Write

We all have an intuitive sense. . .

I think we all have an intuitive sense, but we get side-tracked by what others think or we get distracted by all the “noise” both inside our heads and outside. It’s hard to get quiet and listen to what we think. But when we do, we experience the joy of discovering what’s going on for ourselves. A passage in Reading Water, Lessons From The River, by Rebecca Lawton, describes a situation when Becca was a white water rafting guide and had one person, a friend, in her raft. They capsized, lost the boat and nearly drowned. Becca managed to save the life of her friend. After it was all over, Becca asked her friend: “Do you regret running it?” Becca’s friend answered, “It might have been the right choice for you,” she said, “But from now on, I’m making my own decisions.” Here’s an idea for getting in touch with…

Book Reviews

Junction Utah by Rebecca Lawton

Junction, Utah written by Rebecca Lawton and reviewed by Kathy Myers: Madeline is a woman of few words. She chokes and stumbles awkwardly when asked to express her emotions. But put her on a river and it’s another story. Her actions speak louder than any words could express—she is in her element. Rebecca Lawton has translated Madeline’s words and world in her first novel Junction, Utah and one can tell that she knows whereof she speaks. The river is a metaphor for danger, thrills, anger, and fear — four dominant emotions in Madeline’s “Seven Dwarves” of feeling words. In the midst of white water chaos and confusion she can avoid the reflective eddies of painful emotions: longing, sadness and grief. When she finally steps on shore and meets her unlikely match in Chris: a land locked farmer and self described ‘Jack Mormon’ who has been held underwater by his own…


I went deep into storytelling mode — Becca Lawton

Today’s quote is from Write Free – Attracting the Creative Life by Rebecca Lawton and Jordan E. Rosenfeld. Rebecca wrote: “I wrote another personal essay, in part with the column in mind but mostly with the intention of simply telling my story. There was a message I wanted to convey in the piece: one of loss and sadness, but also of triumph and survival. Because I had taken my focus off publication while writing, I went deep into storytelling mode. Much of the writing for the piece was done in subconscious writing fashion. When I finished a decent draft, I went outside to water my flower garden. I felt a certainty that hadn’t been there before. the essay was so good, so moving. I knew it would be published — if not in the target column, then certainly elsewhere.” Note from Marlene: What strikes me as being important in this…


Stroll down memory lane . . . Prompt # 81

Today’s writing prompt is inspired by Rebecca Lawton’s May 26, 2014 blog post, which begins: “Candles of buckeye blossoms and their subtle fragrance have always confirmed the return of summer. Seeing them this week reminded me that certain sights, sounds, and smells trigger strong memories. The whisking sound of a broom on stairs recalls family vacations at the lake, where our host rose early to sweep fallen live oak leaves. The musky scent of open water reminds me of being on a raft enjoying the primal sensations of floating a muddy river. The first bars of a Beatles song bring back the excitement of junior high school dances. Sipping tequila reminds me of kayaking from Loreto to La Paz on the Sea of Cortez.” Click here to read the rest of the post. Writing Prompt: Stroll down memory lane . . . pause when a remembered event causes a visceral…

Just Write

Rebecca Lawton Week

This is “Rebecca Lawton Week” on The Write Spot Blot. Today’s inspiration for “Just Write” is from her book, Reading Water, Lessons from the River: The water-level fluctuations, both daily and seasonal, gave us regular lessons in how the river varied depending on flow. The thalweg, or deepest or best navigable channel, didn’t always follow a direct path. On one key day early in my training, I followed a boatman friend named John through the long, straight, placid reach of the Stanislaus below Razorback Rapids. As I rowed down the middle of the river, choosing the course where the main flow had been weeks before, I noticed John’s boat meandering from one side of the river to the other. He kept his hands on the oars but barely exerted himself, simply using the oars to adjust his boat’s position on the water surface. He moved briskly downstream through the calms…


I Spy. . . Prompt #80

Today’s writing prompt is inspired from the book, Write Free, Attracting the Creative Life by Rebecca Lawton and Jordan E. Rosenfeld This writing exercise is called: I Spy List a few things that happened this morning or yesterday. They don’t have to be big or memorable, just whatever falls into your mind. The goal is to slow down and take stock of those things you do not normally notice. Writing Prompt: Focus on one event and write how you felt about this encounter. Jot down your feelings and then do a freewrite. Did the event make you think of anything else? Did it remind you of other events, experiences, memories or feelings? What were you thinking while it happened, or just before or after? Write your freewrite. Type your freewrite and save it.  Log on and post your writing on The Write Spot Blog.

Book Reviews

Reading Water by Rebecca Lawton

Reading Water, Lessons from the River by Rebecca Lawton is written with superb eloquence . . . insightful, honest, focused and entertaining, making it fun to read.  Her elegant writing illustrates how to write a book that has enduring interest.  Reading Water was published in 2002 and found a new audience in 2008. I wonder if 2014 will see renewed interest in this timeless book. Rebecca describes her love for water: “Raised in the city and having just burst out of high school, I ached for wilderness, and the lovely, unleashed river instantly called to me. . . . rivers led me to countless unspoiled places, challenged me to be strong, and introduced me to lifelong friends. Moreover, the river taught me to read water — to psyche out where rocks hide in riffles, find safe runs in inscrutable rapids, and keep moving through the flatwater.” Note from Marlene. ….