Writing makes me…


Finish that sentence in the subject line.

Writing makes me……

What does writing do for you? Does it make you happy? Does it frustrate you? Does it make you realize something?

Define what writing does for you. Because maybe that’s where your inspiration lies. In the traditional sense, to be inspired is get that jump start, that battery boost, to run to the page and keep going.

If you can find inspiration in your work, instead of an external force, then that inspiration will never run dry. If you need to be inspired to write and you can find it in yourself – now that’s a win-win situation.

Here’s how I finish the sentence.

Writing makes me realize I do have something to say and a way to say it.

I get really tongue tied when I speak. And I’m painfully shy when it comes to small talk conversations. But when I write all that is gone because I can craft my words to an exact meaning. That feels pretty good. And it makes me want to keep writing.

What does writing do for you?

Stop waiting for inspiration

Abstract Colorful Lights Vector Art

Let’s talk inspiration. Every once in awhile I’ll have that magic moment where the clouds open and the angels sing and a voice from somewhere beyond bestows upon me the best idea ever for a play.

That doesn’t happen very often.

More often than not I’m stumping to my laptop, grumbling as I turn it on and banging the keys as hard as I can. But I do it. And I keep doing it. And after awhile I’m glad I made the choice to stump and grumble and bang. I’m always glad.

Because if I waited around for the inspiration fairy to sprinkle me with dust I would be waiting forever.

Do you believe in inspiration? Is it important to your process?


If you like waiting for inspiration and those visits are far and few between, get proactive. Create an inspiration file where you collect anything that gives you inspiration. Pictures, headlines, articles, lyrics, poems, scraps of paper you’ve written overheard lines on. Gather everything in one place.

This can be an actual physical object (an accordian file or scrap book) or something digital like Evernote. You could just collect pictures on your phone with Instagram. Whatever works for you. If you need to be inspired to write, start gathering inspiration so that you never have to wait to write again.

Another thing you can use for inspiration is yourself. But instead of write what you know, hone in on your point of view, your opinion, your take on issues, ideas and topics. Use these sentence starters to get the ball rolling:

  • I firmly believe that….
  • I wish that I would….
  • I never have….
  • I always…
  • The thing that makes me the most angry is…
  • The thing that makes me the most sad is….
  • The thing that makes me the happiest is…
  • My opinion on the environment is…
  • My opinion on religion is….
  • My opinion on politics is…
  • My opinion on education is…

If you can articulate your opinion, you can form the opinions for your characters. Take a character who belives as you do, create a character with an opposing view, lock the two in a room and you’ve got a play.


Don’t ignore the every day

An observation doesn’t have to be….

Weird, wacky, out of the ordinary all the time. The point of an observation is that it’s something that comes across your world view. What do you see every day? What patterns repeat themselves? Do you know someone who says the same thing every time you see them? What about an object you see on a regular basis. Observe it, write it down, reflect on it. What’s going on in your world?

My Observation

What food is blacked out
I live by Lake Erie and we have several public beach entrances. It’s a great place to walk. I pass by  this sign every time I go to the water, which is at least twice a week.  It’s a part of my every day and it makes me smile every time I see it. There’s so much to love about this sign. It’s totally old school. The Palmwood still exists but the “Circus by the Sea” night club is no more. Every time I see that a million questions go through my head. What happens at a Circus Night club? Does it matter than it’s a lake and not the sea? What’s the food that has been blacked out in-between Canadian and European? And what is Canadian food anyway – butter tarts and poutine?

What was life like at the time when this sign was current? I can only imagine. And I do. 

What did you observe today?

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Did you write it down?

Make it a habit: Observe something, write it down immediately. Observe, write. Don’t wait till you get home, the moment will be gone. Carry a note book with you at all times. If that is too cumbersome, get a phone app. I use  Google Keep.

My Observation

The picture at the top of the post is supposed to represent the future of Charlotte, NC. There are two other murals beside this one (past and present respectively) but this one was just wacky to pass up. What on earth are we supposed to think of the future based on this painting?

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Is culture being trapped in a box? Will the environment burn? We’re going to live in pyramids and young boys will wear their parent’s coats? Sure, that’s being literal but come on. Doesn’t it seem to lack cohesion? Perhaps I’m just a dullard when it comes to art. In any case it makes a great writing prompt. This is your future – write a scene that takes place in this world. 




Observation Thursday

Every Thursday I post something I’ve observed. I don’t know when or where I’ll use it but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the consistent habit of making an observation and writing it down. When you start to do that, everything becomes an idea for the future.

What’s your observation?

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Observation: An unexpected stop brought us to a strip mall that focused on the Chinese community. All the items in this collage were in one store in the mall.

What can you do with it: There is no better place that a store that features items from other countries or other cultures. Grocery stores with food products you’ve never seen before. Devices that you don’t normally see in your local CVS or Shopper’s World.

In order to write about humanity, it’s important to be out in the world. It’s important to go outside your own world.  And when you do you can find so much inspiration. I think all the pictures in this collage are easy to write about. You simply have to ask “Why?” My favourite two pictures in this collage are the heated eyelash curler (I never would think of such a device) and the soup bag. Why do I need a soup bag? Do I make my soup in the bag? Is it a storage item? A transportation item? When you’re writing about a picture, the right answer is the one that you come up with.

The possibilities are only limited by how many different ways you can answer the question “Why?”

Observation Thursday

Every Thursday I post something I’ve observed. I don’t know when or where I’ll use it but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the consistent habit of making an observation and writing it down. When you start to do that, everything becomes an idea for the future.

What’s your observation?

Observation Thursday (1)

Observation: Out on a walk I saw two boys on bikes. One swerves to cut through the graveyard. The other one says “I’m not going in there!”

What you can do with it: 

  • Decide why the one boy won’t go through the graveyard. What’s the story? Why won’t he cut through the graveyard on his bike? What does he believe about graveyards and who instilled that belief in him? Write a monologue for him.
  • Write what comes next in this conversation after the one boy makes his statement. What’s the response?