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Writing Prompt: Understanding


(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

We all need understanding. We crave the warmth that understanding brings us. Love without judgement.

Can you remember a time when someone understood you and it made you brighter, if only for a few moments?

What does this inspire you to write? It might be rage that the person you understands has gone away. It might be elation that somebody gets it. (I’m not sure which one I’d choose, really. I’ve felt both ways.)

Trust you. Know that there is good in the world, and that it doesn’t go away just because we rage at it. Know too, that knowing your own truth, messy though it might be, is a very free place to be. Know that love can and will find you there.

Giving yourself this kind of understanding is very powerful, because you learn to love you while carrying on through caustic locales. Then you can be that carrier of saving grace for others, as well as yourself.

What would you like to say?

<3 I'll listen.

5 Ways Writers Discourage Themselves


(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

As writers, we embark on an adventure every time we write. Why is that? It isn’t only the kind of emotional hurdles built by certain subject matter. It is also the kind of hurdles our own minds can build against this form of self-expression.

What are those hurdles? There are probably more than just these, but here are the five I thought of.

Assigning a Monetary Value Before A Project Begins
Creative pursuits are some of the most valuable things we can do. And that is before money enters into it. Writing is my favorite. I try not to think of money myself. It’s hard; I don’t have much. It would be very easy to fret about money, but it harms the quality of my work.

Money cannot be your first focus in your first steps of writing elements of a given project. Create first. You can assign a monetary value to it later if you want, but if you worry about money before the first word is written, you will likely crush something that could be both awesome and lucrative.

Let your mind be swimming in your writing (as much as you can). It’s a great place to be. :)

Telling Ourselves that Writing Is Only Fun (So We Can’t Spend Time On It)
As I said earlier, I know creative pursuits are very valuable. And I know our lives have so so much going on. There isn’t much you can cut away without everything falling apart.

And yet, I know that writing is just as important as all those other things. It has saved my life (in with God, loving loved ones, and other things I and others did). I cannot tell you how important it is to me. It is the only journal I have and the only one I can keep going. Hundreds of poems, all snapshots of my mental state and evidence of my growing skill.

I need to write just as much as I need to breathe. Along with that, I get to discover (all over again) how much my writing will tell me about how I really feel.

If you feel like you need to write for you to feel whole, then that is a good sign that you might very well need it. And I know you can find time.

Because it is so valuable, and it can be that thing that saves you.

Comparisons to Others
So you’re reading Longfellow on a cold night, with your favorite cocoa in the mug beside you. You think, “Oh I wish I could write like him!” (Substitute your favorite writer in for Longfellow if you like, he’s just one of my favorites.)

It doesn’t matter how rad Longfellow is (and he is!), he is not you, and you are not him. You need to be you. It’s okay if your results are awful and don’t measure up to whomever you’re thinking they should. Your writer’s voice is worthy of the time you need to spend building it and finding it, because you are worth that time.

It will likely be hard. Or really easy sometimes. Which leads into…

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Writing Prompt: Violent Skies


(c) 2013 Windy Johansen

The skies can be very violent. Storms are often used in poetry to symbolize chaotic feelings and events. What if you really thought about what kind of storm your feelings/this event are closer to than just a generic storm? If you will be writing a non-autobiographical poem, think about which storm best symbolizes your speaker’s feelings/the event.

Would you like more detail? Here’s a few ways to get it.

Think about the colors in storms. There are some storms I’ve never seen, but gray seems to be a common color. Do you see any other color? Is it gray because the storms are so boring now? I’ve seen pictures of red/orange skies and dark blue skies as well as gray. Are there other colors?

Think about the shapes. Lightning is jagged. It makes incomplete triangles so easily. More rare are the lightning bolts that make instant white-hot jagged networks. Storm clouds are dark and angry-looking. Are they still fluffy, maybe? Lonely in a crowd and getting angry and dark to cover for it?

Howling wind, gently drumming rain, pounding hail. What sound does snow make? Does the silence open up any fresh possibilities? Is it maybe light, or is it heavy? Is the weight soothing, or is it trapping? If you could hear snow fall, what would it sound like? Tornadoes and hurricanes blow windows out. How many different sounds could that event make? (Maybe not very many. I’ve not heard many windows break.) Tornadoes sound like trains. What else do they sound like? What do hurricanes sound like?

The air feels wet and heavy. The wind whips and embraces everything. The raindrops dance on your arms and hands. The cold soothes your head. What else?

The air smells clean. Or just…wet. There’s maybe a leafy scent in there. Do different storms have different scents to you? How does the smell make you feel? Does it remind you of kind things? It reminds me of my hometown, an Olympic city and headquarters of the faith I hold dear. But what does your mind bring to the surface when you smell the rain from storms? What about the smells of other results?

I hope this helps you in your writing.