How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step

by Joe Bunting | 181 comments

Want to write better stories, essays, and blog posts? There's one trick that you can do to easily become a better writer.

how to become a better writer

Photo by Neal Sanche. Modified by The Write Practice.

I've read a lot of writing by amateur writers both in my work as a professional editor and as the moderator of this blog, and I've found that there's one, single piece of advice I give most often.

If you master this technique, you will quickly go from a mediocre writer to someone who writes stories that people read and say, “Wow! You wrote this?” So how do you become a better writer?

Be Specific

Five years ago, I spent nearly a year traveling the world, going to countries like Vietnam, Croatia, Uganda, Turkey, and Ireland. Beyond just being the trip of a lifetime, it gave me an amazing opportunity to write.

I wrote about the huge, redbrick cathedral we lived next to in Osijek, Croatia. I wrote about our strong, dark neighbors in the jungles of Thailand who helped us lift the thick beams to build a new house for our host. I wrote about reading Egyptian literature in a café in Dublin.

After reading my writing, my friend Dez began imitating the detail and specificity of my stories on her blog. Soon, she had friends and family emailing her, telling her what a great writer she was, how they felt like they were right there with her in Israel and Romania and Cambodia.

It's easy to write this way, to pack more detail into each sentence, but when you're more specific, it draws your reader in. It allows them to see what your characters see, to hear and smell what they're hearing and smelling. In other words, it allows you to become a better storyteller.

Three Simple Ways to Be More Specific

What does this actually look like? How do you add specificity to your writing? Here are three ways to be more specific:

1. Focus On Detail

show don't tell chekhov quote

“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” —Anton Chekhov

Show, don't tell” is one of the most common—and most overused—writing cliches out there. The reality is there are times when it makes sense to “tell.”

However, what I love about the quote above from Chekhov is that it shows the power of specific detail to open the imagination of your reader.

To summon detail in your writing, focus on your five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, sound. When you set the scene, challenge yourself to use each of your five senses.

Depending on your scene you might not be able to write using all of them, but by stretching your observation skills, you'll give your reader a much richer experience. Without realizing why, your readers will think, “Wow. This person can really write!”

(For more on the writing rule, “Show, Don't Tell,” check out our post The Secret to Show, Don't Tell.)

2. Focus On Moments

robert mckee quotes

“The mark of a master is to select only a few moments but give us a lifetime.” —Robert McKee

Great storytellers don't try to tell every little detail of a character's life. Instead, they select a few, precious moments and then go so deep into those moments that it's as if we're living those moments with the characters.

Of course, this is more difficult than it sounds because when you're first writing a story, you may not know which moments will be important to a character's life.

This is why the most important, and usually most difficult task of every writer isn't the creation process but the editing process, when you choose those important moments and cut the rest away.

3. Write Dialogue

Dialogue is ultimate form of specificity because you're writing exactly what the characters actually said. However, it always surprises me when I read writing by amateur writers and they describe what the characters are talking about instead of using dialogue. This is so lazy!

Write out the dialogue. Don't describe the conversation.

By the way, remember to be specific in your dialogue, too. Cut out any unimportant small talk and only include dialogue that moves the story forward.

(Want to know one common mistake that will ruin your dialogue? Check out our post A Critical DON'T For Writing Dialogue.)

Above All, Don't Be Vague

When your writing is vague, it creates no emotional response in the reader. In fact, vague writing wastes your readers time.

No matter what, don't be vague!

Of course, it can be difficult to tell when your own writing is vague.

This is why it's so important to have a good editor or critique group who can tell you when you need to be more specific. If you're serious about being a better writer, then you need to learn to be more specific. It's not difficult, but it does require you to open your senses to what your characters are experiencing.

Do you struggle with being specific in your writing?


Today, let's practice writing as specifically as possible. Take a look around the room you're in right now. Focus on one detail, like the shadow on a wall caused by a picture frame.

Then, start writing. As you write, remember to use as many of your five senses as you can. Describe the room for fifteen minutes.

When you're finished, post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, please be sure to read a few practices from your fellow writers and comment on whether they were specific enough.

Happy writing!

How to Write Like Louise PennyWant to write like Louise Penny? Join our new class and learn how. Learn more and sign up here.

Join Class

Next LIVE lesson is coming up soon!

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.


  1. AnnM

    Our house is for sale which these days means that we had to do a lot of staging. It’s much like editing a book as all the excess has to be stripped away and only the essentials left; the things that enhance each room or the main story line.

    This is not the first time we have sold a home so we know the drill. Last time sold so fast it was easy to keep the place ready to be seen. Not so now as it’s been 4 months and often several weeks go by and no one has requested a viewingwhich has relaxed us to the point where there needs to be a flurry of activity to re-stage the house.

    The family room I am currently in is the room we use the most. Watch TV and eat dinner and read, and for me, write. Clutter seems to grow easily in this relaxed, comfortable environment. iPad left out along with TV and DVD remotes. Reading glasses, a must for both my husband and I lately, are always at the ready. Cushions on the couch are just as we left them, in disarray, not plumped up and positioned correctly as they will be after the phone call that there is another potential buyer on their way. There are also a few stray Popcorn kernels on the carpet that need to be vacuumed.

    This week there are also anniversary cards filling the bookshelves that had been thinned out to only a few items per shelf. One from each of our children and other relatives and close friends. After so many years it’s reassuring and comforting to know they still remember and want us to know they do by finding a special card to convey their love to us. These are staying up until I have to put them away.

    I know buyers want to look at the property and not the owner’s life when they visit, andwe do want the house to look like we are willing to move.
    The fact is we do have a life and family and friends and there will sometimes be signs of that around the place. People might just have to deal with it!

    • Teo Jansen

      I feel the warm family home in the third paragraph! I would put it as intro, and then to explain about the context. However, I liked it!

    • AnnM

      Interesting.. In trying to ‘set the stage’ it appears I put the empirical data before the feelings. However to draw people in I should reverse the order.


    • Glynis

      Great descriptions of everything from the small things – popcorn kernels on the floor – to the whole idea of the home. Enjoyable.

    • AnnM

      Thank you so much Glynis. Glad you enjoyed it. The subject today just hit home right away.

    • Sue

      I like disarrayed cushions 🙂

    • AnnM


    • Avril

      Ann, I like this. Did you intend to have a little lesson or moral to your story? I enjoyed all your details, and my observation is that you are showing, not telling, us that a home is not perfect. A family lives here, spending time together, taking care of each other, doing what’s important in their lives. Clearly, a “perfect” home would be unfit for a family.

    • AnnM

      Thanks Avril, No I didn’t have that intention really but it is true that if things are too perfect no one can relax, well not me anyway.

    • Miriam N

      I really liked this. Reminded me of my house most days. Good job 🙂

    • AnnM

      Thanks Miriam 🙂

  2. Teo Jansen

    Yellow… red… yellow… red… this minusculus light near the TV don’t let me sleep at nights. I try to keep my eyes out of it, but I can’t… it is hypnotic.

    The others light are still in green. Three of them are from the router too. One more from the cable system.

    The rest is pure darkness around me.

    The sheets on my bed are white, but you cannot notice now, not at midnight.

    The only thing you can notice are the thick black lines in the white ceiling. Those are the rafters of this ancient apartment.

    In other season of the year, you cannot hear nothing, but living near the beach, has it consquences, one of them is the night activity in Summer.

    Even if you don’t want it, you hear people talking in the bar of the corner, making toasts, laughing, singing… and later in the night, you can hear some of them throwing up in the street.

    Yellow… red… yellow… red. At least, when I focus my eyes on it, makes me forgive the noise. Makes me forgive where I am. Makes me forgive the pillow, the flowered sheet, the dirty clothes in the floor, the near undone bags next to the open door.

    • AnnM

      I like the feel that there is more to this story, with the unpacked bags mentioned at the end. Though the double negative in the one paragraph needs to be changed. “You cannot hear ‘anything'” would be better.

    • Teo Jansen

      Thank you, Ann! The funny thing is that I moved to a new country since almost a year ago and I have no room enough for all the things I brought in my new home.
      Thanks also for the detail to improve the write. English is my second language and I’m still struggle to make a better writing!

    • AnnM

      I married someone from a different country and emigrated many years ago. I have written a few short stories of things that happened early on. Write these things, even if only in a diary form right now. Others have found my stories interesting and I’m sure they will yours as well.
      True stories and feelings are always appealing. Keep writing!

    • Glynis

      Very descriptive. I like your short sentences. It sets a mood in itself. Nicely done.

    • Teo Jansen

      I discovered the power of the short sentences this year. If it is in the right place, could make a deep impact in the reading. so I’m using it more commonly since then! Thanks for the feedback!

  3. Avril

    I’m at work on a very quiet day at the hospital. We are the Radiology department. Lots of digital equipment in this small office, which requires that we have our own server in here. It makes a high-pitched white noise hum all day, which is not bothersome.

    The walls are an ice-blue that I think is only sold to old hospitals. I suspect the cold sterility would be depressing without our big window. Our picture window looks out to several big trees: cottonwood, maple, and elm mostly. Lots of clear high desert sky above.

    Our other window is small and slides open. That’s where my desk is, and patients register here. My small window looks thru our waiting room, thru an interior hall, and thru the ambulance entrance to the helipad.

    We are a small town hospital in a remote area, so the Care Flight choppers are frequent flyers here. Anybody hurt or sick out on a ranch or mine likely will not get here in time by car on dirt roads.

    Living in this community of 2500 means, when I look out to see who is being brought in by copter or ambulance, I usually know them. I’ve worked here five months and I’m still jarred by that moment of recognition.

    This office is cluttered with furniture, equipment, files, and people. We are a friendly, close group, so the close quarters are “cozy”. Our sole non-essential, non purely functional item here is our Ugly Chair, bequeathed by a retiring doctor.

    Our chair is a color that is a mixture of sea foam green and mustard yellow. We are envied for our inheritance, and our chair gets more visitors than we do. Several times a day other staff comes to this office on a flimsy pretence, just to sit in our chair.

    This is probably the smallest, plainest office I’ve ever worked in, and it is one of my all-time favorites.

    • Teo Jansen

      I love it how you structure it. From small to big. Starting from the little office and then you gave us a description of your town and also the everyday routine in the hospital. I enjoyed reading it!

    • Avril

      Thanks Teo!

    • AnnM

      I enjoyed reading about the stark, almost colourless hospital walls and then the real, warm human connection you have that makes the first thing less important after all.

    • Avril

      Ann, thank you =)

    • Glynis

      Whoops I posted in the wrong spot 🙁

    • Avril

      Wow, what a compliment! Thank you Glynis.

    • Sue

      Ew, ice-cold walls. I like the satisfying structure of this too and how colour starts and ends.

    • Avril

      Sue, I just started writing all these stories and thoughts I’ve had swirling in my head forever, It means a lot to me that I am getting encouragement and being taken seriously.

    • Susan W. A.

      Isn’t this environment amazing?! Congratulations.

    • Azeezat

      Very specific. The way everything is written, straight to the point / very as a matter of fact, and then the paragraph about the moment of recognition, was vet effective

    • Susan W. A.

      Loved…the paint color that’s only sold to old hospitals; the thankfulness for the large window; “I’m still jarred by that moment of recognition” (I like how you included this to hit home the emotion); mixture of seafoam green and mustard yellow (wow…how long did you look at the chair to figure out that color? LOL); that people come “on a flimsy pretence, just to sit in [your bequethed] chair.”

    • Adelaide Shaw

      I posted a reply earlier, but I put it in the wrong place. This puts me in the office with you. Very detailed description.

    • Jeralyn Lash-Sands

      Think it’s time to get out of the hospital and into full time writing! All my senses were favorably involved.

    • Avril

      Jeralyn, the thought fills me with panic and..hope! Thank you.

    • Jeralyn Lash-Sands

      Just do it!

    • Jerry

      I agree! Since we’re going to be dead a long time…we need to get’er done!! The only thing to fear is fear in it’s self!!

    • Denise Golinowski

      I enjoyed this peek into your world. Nicely done. I would warn against too many repeated words. Certainly some are good for emphasis, but use sparingly. I’m also curious to get a consensus on the spelling of “thru” instead of “through” in writing. Opinions, anyone? I’m probably old school, but I would advise to use the formal spelling unless you’re talking about a drive-thru or something similar? Again, thoughts?

    • Avril

      Denise, thank you and I agree that using words repetitively is not ideal. And “thru” is not a standard spelling of the word. On these prompts, I set the timer and then I’m off to the races. I stop when the timer sounds. I have not been editing, and perhaps that is a mistake? I wasn’t sure if editing would be “cheating”? I apologize if this has been discussed here before. I’m new to this group.

    • Denise Golinowski

      Actually, Avril, I’m probably in the wrong here. I’m just in the habit of editing everything before I post it. That may not be the rule here. Maybe one of the more experienced folks can clearify.

  4. Glynis

    My desk is cluttered, strewn with the detritus of a writer’s life. A rainbow of
    colored ink pens sits atop crumpled papers, the owner of those writing instrument hoping that the hues will somehow coax creativity from a tired muse. Or maybe she’s a muse who has been sapped dry by the procrastination of the creator and the minuscule bribe of a colored pen is not enough to coax inspiration to come out and play.

    I see the paper cup with the straw standing at attention, condensation wetting the bottom half. Somehow even a shot of nourishment in the form of an iced tea
    and pizza during an undeserved break in the non-action of my writing
    time can’t seem to uncloud the fog in this writer’s mind.

    Maybe a different color for the walls would help with the block. But I suppose if
    colored pens won’t help, why would colored walls? The inspiration comes from within, doesn’t it? So is the candle useless? The photos of my children? How about the aromatherapy spray in the translucent purple bottle?

    I love having my beautiful things around me, so whether they help with the inspiration
    or not, isn’t it good for the energy of the room to have things here that make me happy in my little writing space? Can it be called writing space when all I use it for lately is Facebook status updates and Pinterest recipes?

    Except that I just wrote this. So that counts. Right?

    • Adelaide Shaw

      Oh, yes, this counts. Who wants a stark attic room closed off from the world? When the muse comes she will find you anywhere. Keep your beautiful things around you.

    • Glynis

      What’s funny is that even though this was to describe the room I am in, I was partly imagining what other beautiful things I might add to this room. It’s a small space, but beautiful clutter is not a bad thing 🙂

    • Azeezat

      🙂 this made me smile wryly whilst reading it, because Incan so much relate to it. The whole trying to appease the muse with pretty stationery. I like how, admits the detail, there was humour too.

    • Glynis

      Thanks for the nice comments. I sort of smiled when I wrote it, too.

    • AnnM

      I can definitely relate. Sometimes everything around us seems to be how we think it should be so we can write but nothing comes, then when and where we least expect it the writing appears easily and fluently like the coloured pens on pretty paper. Keep writing, even if it’s only here for a while. This place I find inspirational myself.
      Thank you for contributing to that.

    • Glynis

      I agree that I am often inspired when I least expect it. Thank you for the lovely words.

    • Susan W. A.

      Awesome…witty and reflective, no? Loved, among others….”the miniscule bribe of a colored pen” ; “straw standing at attention”; “during an undeserved break”; the list of potentially “useless” items for inspiring creativity; and the last line. : )

    • Glynis

      Thanks for taking the time to comment on my piece. I really appreciate it!

    • Sue

      Hehe. It most CERTAINLY counts! 🙂

      I love how when we can’t write we start thinking painting the walls would help. Anything to get away from the abyss!!

      I’ve been really struggling lately to get back into a regular routine. Sharing today’s writing prompt not only got me writing at least *something*, but it also made me feel a part of something bigger than myself.

    • Glynis

      I love that thought, Sue. Writing is a solitary endeavor — or so we think sometimes. But writing, sharing and then having a conversation about it is entirely different. And fun.

    • Teo Jansen

      Very inspirational. We are surrounded for so many things that our routine sometimes makes us forgive about them. What you did it is great to pick up all these elements and make a good practice!

    • Glynis

      Thanks, Teo!

    • Miriam N

      I liked this. Good job 🙂

    • Glynis

      Thank you, Miriam!

    • Avril

      Hi Glynis, OMG can’t all of us relate to this? Sitting there in your writing space, with every possible comfort and “bribe”, and…nothing! Love the descriptions, like “the paper cup with the straw standing at attention, condensation wetting the bottom half”. On a practical level, I find the daily writing prompts to be effective at getting over blockages. The topic is assigned, set the timer, GO! You MUST write something, whatever comes out, even if it is quite rough. After doing the prompt, while the hamster in my brain is still galloping on his wheel, I can usually grab my story and start writing, at least for another 15 minutes.

    • Glynis

      There is definitely something to be said for just getting something to move the block forward. Then there are times I can’t stop the waterfall that gushes. Thanks for your comments, Avril!

    • Darla Greven

      I love this! First, I can really relate to it as I was trying to describe “stuff in my office” and I like how you combined the descriptions with the imaginative purpose of the items. A question- What are the color of the walls?

    • Glynis

      Funny you should ask, Darla. I meant to put that in there, but I couldn’t think of a good enough description. I always call them something like burnt sienna–not orange, but not brown. A little too masculine for my space, but it would require too much work to change. I’m lazy 🙂

    • Denise Golinowski

      Of course it counts! We all struggle with those moments and I suspect that being surrounded by things both comforting and stimulating is beneficial. Give yourself permission to be yourself and then write on!

    • Glynis

      Thanks, Denise, for the encouragement! 🙂

  5. Sue

    I do not wish to linger too long on the cobwebbed ceiling, the pile of clothes on the dresser, on the even larger pile on the floor, overflow from the dirty clothes basket, shaped like a cobra would come singing out of it if lured by a flute. I wish I was in India. Anywhere, really. Oh, I know the desire to be somewhere else is just symptomatic of interior cage rattling. That cage and its contents would still be there, of course, but at least I’d be distracted by the fact that I was traveling.

    So instead, I’ll travel away outside the window. It’s winter and last night was cold enough that snow may have fallen 15 minutes away. It’s a winter blue sky, and it’s been raining enough to three-quarters fill the bird bath. Beyond the decking the sun lays the back of her hand across the great swathe of greenery – the large shrub by the side of the house, which has fluffy light yellow feather pods that the butcher birds hang upside down to eat. Beyond the shrub are the tall eucalypts. It is very quiet, sunny Saturday morning. Quiet, because there are no line trimmers, though if I peer closer with my ears it’s a myriad: a proverbial, cliched dog barks in the distance, as if on queue; cockatoos are screeching, whole others are doing the more low-level conversational croon. There are cars up on the Belgrave-Hallam Road where, 20 years ago and about 3 k’s south of here, a woman reported an encounter with alien beings. She still hasn’t changed her tune on it, either, revealed it as a fabrication. Who knows? Horatio’s philosophy would be even more narrow these days if he lived now, but I’ll side with Hamlet on this one.

    • Susan W. A.

      You brought me from daily reality (loved the cobra image and the recognition that the rattled cage often remains) to leaving that far behind.
      Enjoyed, among others…”enough to three-quarters fill the bird bath” (specific!); “where the ground is a little closer to the sky”; “the sun lays the back of her hand across the great swathe of greenery”; “cliched dog barks in the distance.”
      Some great examples of description.

    • Sue

      Thanks so much, Susan. I had no idea I was going to end up writing about the possibility of aliens, of all things!! 😛

  6. Lisette Murphy

    During the day the busiest place in the house has got to be the kitchen. Everyone has to be in the kitchen if they want food or to go out the garage or back door or make the cat shut up by feeding him. But when all is quiet and still in the kitchen, when there is no one, but one still soul, one may see and make note of the beads of light that streak the floor, table, a few chairs and the stout garbage can. An evening light shut out by the white blinds who forbid its presence. Slits for thread that hold the opposing force of plastic horizontal planks an entrance is provided. Still and yet in motion as the sun sets in the west, insisting on invading to full corners and cast out darkness one last time.

  7. Sandra D

    The scissors with their blue plastic handle and the steel blades for cutting. It is some cheap pair at some store, probably costed between two to seven dollars. I can fit three fingers in the oblong loop and my thumb in the smaller spherical loop. The plastic feels smooth, there is hardly any hint of bumps on it. When I open the blades though I feel the steel is resistent so that my hands feel tension in them as I widen the destance between thumb and fingers in the loops and the blades then separate, and the jaws of the scissors over wide ready to cut.

    And I can hear the two blades quietly rubbing against each other as they move apart, both as I open and then as I close them. And then when I close fast it makes a snipping sound that reminds me of hair cuts at the SuperCuts. And I am sitting here cutting in the air hearing the sound makes.

    The plastic handle seems connected at such an intimate level to the steel, it is not just a matter of popping off the button in the center would would invariably have a small screw seated there. I would have to also pry the plastic off. It would take a great leverage and not only that but something small enough to wedge in there and pry it apart. But still I think that might be interesting to do.

    I have pulled scissors apart before so that I have two separate pieces, somewhat like blades but duller and the scissors are lost, becoming a broken commodity. Still it looks different and that is enough of a reason to do it, even though it no longer is functional. It then has a different shape and that different shape intrigues my mind and I wonder if I can find some way to make use of it now that after breaking it apart.

    I had not thought of doing all this before now, but now I will be looking at this pair of scissors and I will probably be taking it apart in my mind. I will see the WestCott brand on it with an arrow through it denoting a weapon and also strength and thinking how it won’t be that strong when I have taken off its parts and its splayed out and dissected on my sterile looking plastic table, like a lab table. And every section examined before me. Then it will be something altogether different.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Sandra, what I like about this is your willingness to completely submerge your train of thought into one object and stay with it. As if completely mesmerised and unpacking the wonder and the many ways of seeing an every day tool. I like to do this with single blooms of a flower.
      Thanks for sharing.

    • Miriam N

      Thanks for your post. It really got me thinking.

  8. Adelaide Shaw

    Very clear description. I feel like I’m in your office with you. You have a keen eye for detail.

    • Adelaide Shaw

      The above comment is for Avril, not myself. I posted it in the wrong place.

  9. Adelaide Shaw

    Here is my 15 minute practice, no more, no less. It was begun at 11:00 and ended at 11:15. I’m off to bed now.

    I’m in the study at the computer which I share with my husband. It’s just 11:00 p.m., and he’s gone to bed. Probably asleep by now. The sounds I hear are the whirring of a fan which does a poor job of keeping me cool, the clicking of the keys as I type and a dog barking, probably the same dog who barks on and off all day. The room is cluttered with filing cabinets, boxes of papers and files which won’t fit in the cabinets, a comfortable chair, a desk and uncomfortable desk chair, a wall with four bookcases filled with books
    from floor to ceiling, most of them coated with a thick layer of dust. Who has time to dust books? The books cover all sorts of subjects which have interested us over the years, including novels which have been read and reread. Can anyone easily part with a book which was important at one time in one’s life? It seems we can’t. There are several pictures on the walls, two of flowers painted by my mother, two of fruit and flowers painted by me, a photo montage of family pictures, a triple fame with the photos of our three children as teenagers. Next to me is a cup of hot tea, at least it tasted hot 15 minutes ago when I started this. Just as I thought. It’s warm, but I don’t mind warm tea. I drink it anyway.

    • Joy

      Nice! It’s entertaining and descriptive at the same time. The mention of the tea at the end was a nice touch. 🙂

    • Adelaide Shaw

      Thank you, Joy. your comments are much appreciated.

  10. Dawn Atkin

    Odd shadows trace the long white wall. Shadows of treasures from our shared past. Exotic ornaments, small trinkets, crooked walking sticks, foreign instruments, kids paintings. All of them leaning in a row, testament to a life explored.

    The worn brown leather chesterfield cradles my nostalgia and creaks as I shift my body to gaze at the single line of weak winter sun falling into the room. The musk of leather polish floats by. I remember old tea shops and hand made slippers, slumping on ottomans and sliding backgammon pieces across worn boards with inlaid shells and scratched enamel.

    The steel angles that frame the retro teak topped coffee table streak out in to long skinny shadows across the burnt reds and muted dark stripes of jarrah floorboards. Like spiders legs reaching to touch the wall of fame. A spindly attempt to connect past and present.

    The air is crisp up here. Downstairs the fire glows and embers ooze their reassuring warmth in to the cozy living room. Yet I feel more peaceful wrapped in a light alpaca shawl peering into the collected shadows of the past. Flickers of memories scatter themselves in sepia and full colour.

    Elephant rides, snake charmers, chai-boys and carpet traders clamour into the room. Incense, dung and spices unravel from the base of my skull. I remember Frangipani tucked behind my ear. Images of my youthful long sun bleached tresses tease me further down the lane of reminisce: forgotten parts, regrets and jubilations sit there patient and immovable.

    I draw my fingers softly through my sensibly cropped middle aged locks and sigh. The sun arrives at my elbow tempting it to shadow etch itself in to the web of memorabilia and moment: this one life.

    My tea has gone cold. For a moment I’ve lost all of me into the trail of all of me. I smile at the shadows. The way they dance along the wall and crawl across the threadbare rugs we carried for miles and months in canvas sacks strapped to old-school backpacks. Camel wool and natural desert dyes. Faded indigos, burgundy and mustard green yarns knotted and weaved in old alleyways in ancient cities live on. Telling silent stories and growing thin beneath contemporary retro styling and the imminent possibility of fresh new tiny feet.

    I wonder will these old treasures fit in the lives of my babies – now men. And will they blow raspberries on fresh baby skin and wonder about the hands that wove the rug beneath them.

    Odd shadows trace the long white wall. Shadows of treasures from our shared past. Exotic ornaments, small trinkets, crooked walking sticks, foreign instruments, kids paintings. All of them leaning in a row, testament to a life explored.

    The worn brown leather chesterfield cradles my nostalgia and creaks as I shift my body to gaze at the single line of weak winter sun falling into the room. The musk of leather polish floats by. I remember old tea shops and hand made slippers, slumping on ottomans and sliding backgammon pieces across worn boards with inlaid shells and scratched enamel.

    The steel angles that frame the retro teak topped coffee table streak out in to long skinny shadows across the burnt reds and muted dark stripes of jarrah floorboards. Like spiders legs reaching to touch the wall of fame. A spindly attempt to connect past and present.

    The air is crisp up here. Downstairs the fire glows and embers ooze their reassuring warmth in to the cozy living room. Yet I feel more peaceful wrapped in a light alpaca shawl peering into the collected shadows of the past. Flickers of memories scatter themselves in sepia and full colour.

    Elephant rides, snake charmers, chai-boys and carpet traders clamour into the room. Incense, dung and spices unravel from the base of my skull. I remember Frangipani tucked behind my ear. Images of my youthful long sun bleached tresses tease me further down the lane of reminisce: forgotten parts, regrets and jubilations sit there patient and immovable.

    I draw my fingers softly through my sensibly cropped middle aged locks and sigh. The sun arrives at my elbow tempting it to shadow etch itself in to the web of memorabilia and moment: this one life.

    My tea has gone cold. For a moment I’ve lost all of me into the trail of all of me. I smile at the shadows. The way they dance along the wall and crawl across the threadbare rugs we carried for miles and months in canvas sacks strapped to old-school backpacks. Camel wool and natural desert dyes. Faded indigos, burgundy and mustard green yarns knotted and weaved in old alleyways in ancient cities live on. Telling silent stories and growing thin beneath contemporary retro styling and the imminent possibility of fresh new tiny feet.

    I wonder will these old treasures fit in the lives of my babies – now men. And will they blow raspberries on fresh baby skin and wonder about the hands that wove the rug beneath them.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Whoops sorry. I’ve double posted . And I can’t delete/edit on the iPad.
      Odd shadows… Seems like I’ve odd shadowed my post. 🙂

      Cheers Dawn

    • Sandra D

      Stunning imagery!

    • Dawn Atkin

      Thank you 🙂

    • Franci

      Wow – so beautiful. I love the reminiscent tone. I felt as if I were right there in this room of old treasures. Nice last paragraph!!

    • Dawn Atkin

      Thanks Franci.
      Yes I like the last paragraph too.
      I find it intriguing with this type of free form writing that often there is a gem at the end. One that pops out of its own accord.
      Cheers Dawn

    • Susan W. A.

      Wow….beautiful. A real lesson in “showing, not telling.” Brilliant. This touched me deeply. I grew up in Singapore, and your images felt familiar to me. The reminiscing strikes a cord. My father and sister both died in their early 40s. Now my mother is 82 and is having major health problems, which brings the thoughts of one day having no one to turn to to say, “Do you remember when…..?” Finally, I have a 12 year old son (only child) who has very little idea of my childhood (I’m not a good storyteller) and who hasn’t had the type of rich experiences I grew up with.
      My comments are not about me…they are gratitude to you for sharing.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Thanks Susan.
      I’m sure you have some eclectic and moving memories and details that could lace the sensory detail of your own writing.
      Regards Dawn

    • Susan W. A.

      Thanks for the challenge. Your comments brought some details to mind.

    • Avril

      This is so beautifully written. I can see and feel that room, and smell it too. Reading this was like stopping in to see a friend who has such a comfortable room, that I never want to leave. Your descriptions are of things and places exotic, yet the actual feeling is domestic and comfort, and happy. Thank you for sharing, and move over. I’ve brought hot tea, and I want to sit in the Chesterfield.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Come on over… 😉

    • Glynis

      I really like these descriptions. I could smell the leather and feel the warmth of the fire. Beautiful.

    • Denise Golinowski

      Another wonderful refuge redolent with memories! So many solid, evocative images.

    • Dawn Atkin

      Thanks Denise.
      Oh so many stories to tell… 🙂
      Regards Dawn

  11. Franci

    These panels of cedar envelope the warmest spot in the house. It’s a corner I curl into, just a three and a half foot drop from the ceiling’s steep slope. A wooden ladder attaches the lofted nook to the floor of my bedroom. The light mimics the temperature’s warmth up here. It has more of a modest glow than a shine as if it’s somehow removed from everywhere else; as if it has the power to also remove whoever it casts itself upon.

    With the slightest backward tilt of my head I see various faded crayon and marker scrawlings crossing the ceiling panels. Scribbled song lyrics sing out from the knotted cedar with the potent memories they’ve taken hostage. Boys’ names and inside jokes with friends play along the panels, bordered by hearts and flowers and swirling suns. A purple “Jackson” flows across a panels’ corner in bubbly middle school cursive and a faded silver Sharpie cloud traps him there. More clouds and suns and moons represent the entire rainbow on those panels.

    Because I’ve always thought of clouds when I’m nestled up in the corner. “My very own castle in the clouds,” I always felt it to be. A photo tacked to the ceiling captures two wiry, beaming then-ten year olds, a friend and myself, floating in the cotton candy clouds of a sunset. Her trampoline had sent us there each day of that summer.

    There isn’t much room, but enough for me to stretch out onto a tattered afghan and throw pillow. Enough to bury the heap of weathered pointe shoes that feel too much a part of me to banish. Enough to keep a stack of favorites for rainy days…Mary Oliver. Vonnegut. Dr. Suess. Enough for this graduation photo of that one I left behind to take up all the thinking room. There’s enough room up here for the castle to breathe life and relevance back into each crack and crevice of the would-be forgotten.

    • Kylie

      Wow! I read this 15 mins ago and phrases from it are still dancing through my mind. Your words have such a descriptive power, I was there. Thank you 🙂

    • Franci

      I’m so glad to here that, Kylie! I appreciate it.

    • Azeezat

      I love this, it has such beautiful imagery, that for a moment the gloomy weather outside sorted of faded away into golden afternoon sunshine, and thoughts of those cotton candy clouds.
      Very strong descriptive language.

    • Franci

      That’s so kind, thank you. I’m glad it brought you there!!

    • Susan W. A.

      Amazing. Transported me there. You have many intriguing phrases which made me really want to fit into your skin to feel what you were experiencing. Also liked the image, “Her trampoline had sent us there each day of that summer.”

    • Franci

      Thanks so much, Susan. That image is a fond memory for me 🙂

    • Teo Jansen

      I like the way you associate this space with awesome memories, specially the last part. It got a powerful emotional hook. Well done!

    • Franci

      Thank you much!

    • Dawn Atkin

      Hi Franci,
      Thanks for the view in to your space, your life.
      Scribbled lyrics, suns and moons and pointe shoes.
      Memories taken hostage and singing in silence from knots of cedar.
      This is a delightful piece, that, without actually saying it, seems to reflect fondly while at the same time the narrator is growing up.
      Regards Dawn

    • Franci

      What a nice comment. Thank you! As you said about the ending of your post – sometimes meanings just come out of something we write without direct intention to do so. I suppose that’s what I was subconsciously going for, because when I posted it I realized the direction it was taking. Almost like magic.

    • Avril

      Hi Franci, this is lovely, just lovely. Please keep sharing with us.

    • Franci

      Thank you so much! I enjoyed your post as well. very meaningful.

    • Glynis

      So beautiful. I felt completely and comfortably nestled into this cozy space. Lovely writing.

    • Franci

      Thank you, it is certainly a cozy space, I hope I do it justice 🙂

    • Michael Follen

      I began to remember a ceiling I had above my bed growing up while reading this and it kind of enhanced the imagery. I want my own nook after reading this.

    • Franci

      Lofts certainly are the absolute best.

    • Alex Young

      I love how comfortable this was to read 🙂

    • Franci

      Thank you very much!

    • Denise Golinowski

      What a delightful refuge! You’re a lucky soul to have it and it comes through beautifully.

    • Franci

      Oh thank you much! I do believe I am very lucky for it 🙂

  12. Azeezat

    The curtain at the window was what one might call make shift. Simply a bright azure and turquoise duvet cover, folded in half- with two industrial paper clips hanging from the hooks where a net curtain ought to be supported, the bed sheet was gripped in each corner.
    Though the window was open, and Eniola could not only see a 15 cm by 200cm strip of cloudy grey sky, but also feel the cool stirrings of the morning air, heat still cloaked her neck in its tight enfold, and the smell of unwashed bodies that had sweated through the night, still assailed her olfactory nerves.
    She sat up, cramped on the double bed, and listened to the call of morning larks, and the trills of tiny red robins as she wondered what had roused her from slumber.

    Peering through the smudged window pane, holding her face a bit away from the greasy finger prints one of her siblings had left on the glass pane, she studied the landscape. Though not yet apparent in the sky, the sun shed some light on neighbouring homesteads, and from the second story of their own homestead Eniola could just make out the brightening of the horizon in the east, a dark curl of smoke rising up, and what looked to be like the lazy flicker of flames.

    Curling her tongue in her parched mouth, she ran a hand over her face in despair. Inhaling once more it occurred to her, that yes, just underneath the musk of the room’s sleeping occupants, was the acrid smell of burning.

    It was likely the cause of her awake state now, and with the smell assaulting her nose she would find it hard to go back to sleep.

    Again her eyes travelled back to the makeshift curtain, bright and cheerful in colour, if not somewhat gaudy, it had been something her mother had chosen, before the infighting of the tribes had stolen her from them.

    The material had small pieces of lint gathered from to many washes with harsh chemicals, and it was tattered in places, yet still it clung to the industrial clips that supported it.

    • Susan W. A.

      I enjoyed imagining this woman’s (girl’s?) life experience. Some of the phrases I liked, among others: “She sat up, cramped on the double bed, and listened to the call of morning larks, and the trills of tiny red robins”; good foreshadowing with wondering what woke her; “peering through the smudged window pain” (although I would leave off the second “on the glass pane”; “could just make out the brightening of the horizon in the east’; the parallel between the curling smoke and her curling tongue; I could see her “[run] her hand over her face in despair”; “she would find it hard to go back to sleep”… we all know that feeling of wanting more rest but knowing we won’t get it (I could feel her underlying frustration); the sudden “punch” to my gut when I, as the reader, discovered the tragedy of her missing mother.
      Most of my examples above are ones in which you use “regular” vocabulary, but they all contribute nicely to setting the scene and the mood.

    • Azeezat

      Thank you so much for your feedback 🙂

      It’s so strange in that the exercise called for specific writing, and most of the details were- but then my imagination ran away a little bit- (I think I often have trouble with characterisation – and I’m so pleased to find that through these few lines you could sort of conjure up life experience …)

  13. Susan W. A.

    mmmmmmmmmm…the refrigerator hummmms. It is only a year old, but then again it seems that large household applicances aren’t made to last like they used to be; at least that’s what my father told me. Otherwise, the kitchen is a sanctuary, a room of warmth and calm once everyone has gone to sleep. The laughter and clanking dishes from earlier in the day have receded into the cupboards, to be released again next Sunday when family and friends gather.
    For now, though, the quiet provides a treble clef for the crickets outside and the squeak of the card table subbing as a kitchen table until the right one is found. The pen gliding on paper, pages turning to be read again. My eyes soak up the words from the page over and over, starting, skipping to favorite phrases, restarting. “I like this, ” I think. “It flows; the choice of words is inviting.” Flip. Flip. Re-reading. “Maybe this will be the one.”
    A long slow meditative breath in, which brings with it the aromatic Indian spices on the still-unwashed dinner plates, which brings me back to the daily reality. “Better wash those up before I go to bed.” But the house is quiet, and I don’t want to wake anyone. Instead I’ll ready the coffee pot for the morning. The rich, finely ground coffee beans reassure me that a good start to the next morning will await me.

    • Sue

      “The laughter and clanking dishes from earlier in the day have receded
      into the cupboards …”

      Oh, I loved this! Gives such a feeling of flow, of day into night, of the house settling. Lovely

    • Susan W. A.

      The phrasing of your comments is meaningful to me. Thank you!

    • Teo Jansen

      The intro really got me! I like the way you made the environment only with sounds: the refrigerator, the crickets… I really enjoyed reading it. Coffe cheers!

    • Susan W. A.

      Thanks for the kind feedback! I’m glad you enjoyed it. Love your “coffee cheers”! I think nouns as adjectives is effective in quickly enhancing the feeling of a phrase .

    • Darla Greven

      Such depth. Its so interesting to read your well described sounds and thoughts! I tend to think mostly of the visual description. (Now I want to rewrite mine adding sounds!)

    • Susan W. A.

      Wow. Thanks for the great compliment! Love that it sparked an idea for you.

  14. Kim Robinson

    I stare at the blank page on my computer screen and all I see is an excuse not to write. The lower corner beside the row of icons on the task bar read 2:41 AM.

    Man, I’ve been up this late and haven’t gotten a single thing written? And here I thought the old saying “staring at a blank page will get you to write more” or some other nonsense like that.

    I stretch my back against the dollar store, foldable, plastic chair and look at the maroon walls in my small, boxed in office.

    Maybe that was the problem, the color of the room. I read somewhere that painting the room green will promote creativity in the brain, or was it blue? Or maybe I should think more about concepting the adventure story floating around in my head instead of wasting my time with looking up articles that hold no real value to me. It’s not like banging my knee on the metal supports under my desk help me any better.

    I run my finger across the glass plating on the top of my desk where all my clutter rested and gathered a nice roll of dust. Some Spring cleaning might be needed, or rather Fall cleaning. Do people actually say that?

    Maybe I should consider redoing my whole office. And there I go again, thinking up another excuse to avoid writing, but it’s with good intention. Afterall, I think it’s time to upgrade my coupon book to an actual mousepad.

    This actually proves how lazy I can be.

    • Sue

      Haha, this is funny after just reading Glynis’s piece where she’s wondering about changing decor when she’s struggling to know what to write, as well.

      I like the way you have written this, with your thoughts going from one thing to the other, struggling to settle on any one thing, which is such a frustrating feeling when you’re trying to get into that flow space, isn’t it? Especially at 2.41 am 🙂

    • Kim Robinson

      I thought it was funny as well after I wrote this haha. Either way, thanks for the comment!

    • Glynis

      Obviously, we were thinking along the same lines, Kim, and I relate to every word 🙂

    • Kim Robinson

      Glad to know others share my weakness in choosing to watching Tomadachi Life playthroughs on Youtube over writing my first serious story, though I somewhat doubt that anyone share the specifics.

      I thought your piece was also great. I really liked how you used a lot of variety in your words to describe the surroundings as well what is going on in your head. I hope to obtain and retain that skill myself if I keep practicing.

    • Miriam N

      I’ve had those days before. 🙂

    • Kim Robinson

      Don’t we all. Earlier today, I was about to begin working on some more concepts and the idea getting some peach flavored tea dawned on me as subtle way to delay progress. I think it’s fair to say though that I came out on top, with some peach flavored tea as bonus. haha.

  15. Marcy Mason McKay

    Running out the door, Joe, but great post. It reminds me of something my agent once told me. “The setting alone doesn’t let us experience the details. I want to see it, feel it,
    hear it, touch it, smell it.” Your showing others how to do just that. TY.

  16. Stella

    We moved into this house a few days ago and I chose the bedroom with the skateboard fan as the office/spare bedroom. The window looks out on a woods across the street where birds flit in and out and the sun beats down today.

    The shadow on the wall is the blades of the fan as they make the air whisper past my head. It reminds me of a helicopter and I listen for the whop-whop-whop of it, but only hear the air conditioner drone.

    I can hear the radio in the other room as I look at my screen and watch the letters pop up when I touch the keys. It is quiet in the house.

    I smell the odor of fresh paint as my husband paints the hallway outside this room.The dining room and hallway were a burgundy/brown and now are a crisp, bright white from the primer paint. It will be a polished, clean silver when he is done.

    • Sandra D

      I feel like I am not a good writer so I don’t like to critique normally, but I decided I should start anyway. I like your writing style and this room sounds interesting to me. It has an officey/home feel. I love the helicopter sound of the fan and also in the next paragraph, “I look at my screen and watch the letters pop up when I touch the keys.” Pop is a wonderful word. I also like the word primer paint, it is specific and it brings me a lot of images of painting.I don’t like how you start the last two paragraphs, “I can hear…” and “I can smell.”
      Maybe one of them can stay, but both of them sounds a little corny to me personally. I like the final paragraphs beginning more. But I’d probably try to rework the sentences somehow?

    • Jeralyn Lash-Sands

      Oh, I liked it. Made me want to move in as it felt familiar with all the descriptions. Well done.

  17. Miriam N

    Well here is my practice. I hope you like it

    The room glows with the fading evening light. I watch as it slowly glides along the room like a spotlight. How could I possibly not feel at peace here? As the light moves it falls upon my cluttered writing desk. Colored pens and mechanical pencils most without lead and dry of ink.

    I breathe in the sent of the book I’ve been reading, the wondrous smell of a finished work. How many hours had been spent on this? How many nights had the author spent merely taking in the calm of the evening?

    My eyes shift toward the many posters strewn about the walls. Old mother’s day gifts written in a childish scrawl. Quotes from my favorite authors and idealists. Inspirational quotes and calm pictures. How much they meant to me could not be measured in money.

    I lay back to gaze at the roof of my room. It is a mountainous terrain where my imagination often found stories in my younger years. They remind me of grandma’s and snickerdoodles. of reading with my family and waking in the morning. What a wonderful place to sit and think and flow in the forgotten memories of my childhood.

    The light is nearly gone now and my room dyes the pale pink of a sunset. The pink reminds me of the love my mother always shows in everything she does. It also speaks of those many times I’ve rebelled simply to get my way.

    I turn over and place my silken blue covers on me. As I close my eyes I begin to be wrapped in the busy thinking before bed. Slowly I drift to sleep, thinking of the many memories of my past.

    • Sandra D

      “How could I possibly not feel at peace here?” I felt this line distracted me from the paragraph. I’m not sure why, maybe because a rhetorical question takes time to ponder and consider. I would suggest something (I am not as good at words as I think you) but like you said, “I watch as it slowly glides along the room as a spotlight,” I’d say, “The light is like a moving meditation for me, as I breathe deep.” Or something, basically showing how it brings me peace.

      I liked your writing though. The sound of the words you put down sound pleasant to my ears.

    • Miriam N

      Thanks for your feed back. I’ll look over what I’ve written and make changes according to it.

  18. Darla Greven

    My strong arms carefully push my whole body from my wheelchair
    to the brown recliner in my office. The
    sudden chill of the overstuffed fake leather cools my upper back and
    feels good. Even though my sensation suddenly ends at my hip line, I have
    learned to adjust since my spinal cord injury 10 years ago and my brain now calls this
    “normal”. I lean back against the coolness and the whole chair tilts back
    a bit, positioning me to look at the yellowed knotty pine boards of the ceiling above and
    I quickly pick out the unique knots and grain that look so much like a cartoon deer
    head. How silly of me to feel like I am greeting an old friend.

    I breathe in deeply and blow out my tense air. How many
    times have I repeated these exact motions and thoughts in this exact order?
    Sometimes it’s different. Sometimes I’m alone in this room with its chaotic
    sprawl of important papers hiding in stacks of junk mail, unmatched desk
    supplies, neglected books patiently waiting for their turn to be read, and the
    household minutiae that belong somewhere else but have become invisible. And it
    all makes me tense. But today as I plop down in my chair and greet my deer
    friend (I think I’ll call him “Rudy”), all I really see is my husband
    sitting at his computer and we begin to laugh out loud at the ridiculous photo shopped images he found on a website. And there’s nowhere I’d rather be than in this cluttered room.

    • Susan W. A.

      In a matter of one short writing, you brought a wide range of emotions and thoughts… some familiar to me, and some teaching me another person’s profound experience and personal journey. I loved your descriptions of the details of the cluttered room, and how you used the cool sensation of the couch to offer your reader insight into living with a serious injury. There was a contrast there which struck me. More details of the every day life stuff, and a more subtle way to describe a life changing event. I enjoyed it.

  19. Michael Follen

    Here is a focus:

    In the center of the kitchen table sat a terra-cotta pot with a long armed green plant inside of it. It almost looked like a photo snapshot of a firework exploding with its limbs reaching up but then arching back down to earth, forced by gravity. The skinny long blades were a pale matte green with beige marks occasionally from when it had been bumped into over dinners or slight over waterings. A few happy new born leaves growing up from its center had still not stretched their full reach, reminiscent of chicks who had not spread their wings and flown from the nest. The tips of the new comers were small spirals that looked like green snails, only the heads of these snails were long and nose dived time to the plants center nest.

    Also, I thought I would add this poem I wrote about the same plant that also was my own practice of focus:

    I find a droplet of water,

    sliding down a leaf’s green center vain,

    following it’s guidance,

    it finds rest at it’s bow,

    poising in quiver.

    I imagine where it came from:

    Did it fall from the skies?

    Is the plant perspiring?

    I imagine what would become of it:

    A whip of wind could launch it to earth,

    or the sun could add it to the clouds.

    It has likely slipped down many leaves,

    It’s life cycle.

    I leaned close to inspect,

    inside that shiny little crystal ball,

    and found a white dot,

    I peered closer and it grew to cover the little droplet.

    In that little drop,

    The white dot grew to a face,

    and I saw myself,

    poising in quiver.

    • Susan W. A.

      Lots of creative descriptions. Among others, I liked how you compared the “few happy new born leaves” to baby chicks’ “a burnt red colored ring at the base of it from the merlot I had the night before”; “I dumped what was left on top of the burnt ring in the mason jar.”
      I especially liked the poem. I’m glad you included both pieces; they complement each other well. Some phrases that drew me in….”following its guidance”; “poising in a quiver”; your ponderance of the droplets travels in the water cycle; “inside that shiny litlle crystal ball”; “I saw myself”–> the deeper meaning that brings forth.

    • Michael Follen

      Thank you for reading and giving great commentary. I’m glad you liked it 🙂

  20. Anonymous

    my bedroom walls are a

    brownish tan. the fan is on the chair in the middle of the

    room hisses as the blades swirl back and forth.releasing a

    draft of cold air that slightly makes me shiver. on the

    right a sunflower shaped mirror reflects on the bland

    tan walls. i can hear the rain tapping on the ground

    outside my bedroom window. the desk i share with my sister

    is green and old fashioned with antique elements. i cannot

    see all the beautiful detailing of the desk because its

    cluttered with my stuffed animals, books, random papers,

    empty glasses, my painted money jar and other knick knacks. my room is only moderately clean. I’m worn of living in a mess. my mind is a mess everything is. i lay down in my bed that has two different blankets that are multicolored. one is colorful with bright oranges and light blues and has happy animals on it. and the other one is dark with greens reds and purples with triangle shapes with black stripes. the bed is cluttered my laptop is awkardly placed on my lap as i type away. why i am depressed? i cannot write i can not think. i can still smell the dust that gathered on the blades in the fan it is a unpleasant sensation it dances on your nose seducing you to sneeze. i feel uncomfortable.

    • Joy

      Thank you for sharing this revealing piece of writing. It is hard to write the deep, personal stuff. It’s easier to hide from it, but there is honor in writing the truth. Keep writing. You have talent.

    • Susan W. A.

      The way in which you presented this really speaks to the emotions of it. Some of the details I enjoyed, among others…. “a sunflower shaped mirror”; “the desk i share with my sister…with antique elements”; “I’m worn of living in a mess”; “awkwardly placed on my lap”; “it dances on your nose seducing you to sneeze”.

    • Sandra D

      The sunflower mirror and the bright colors and knick knacks reminded me of an old friend of mine’s room. She had sort of a child’s room though she was a young woman, that seemed to me like her eternal struggle to maintain her innocence in a threatening life.

  21. Jeralyn Lash-Sands

    I half expected the answer to be simply, sit down and write!
    Great advice, however I think you were too kind in declaring the writer “lazy” when describing dialogue in oppose to writing the actual dialogue.
    BTW: I did indeed write a short story, editing it with your Lets Write a Short Story, but left it in the proverbial drawer to mellow.

  22. poorna_katha

    It is a sultry summer morning. It is hardly 10 am and I can feel the rivers of sweat pouring down my back. We are hoping for our first monsoon showers – that sudden burst of rain, coming from dark, swiftly moving clouds. In ten minutes, the day can go from intense heat to delicious coolness. Fat, frantic raindrops will fall first, making a clumsy drumbeat on the roads – a rhythm easily matched by our heartbeats. And then, the hissing rain will follow. Like a thousand snakes in symphony.

    The earth will respond with a delicious smell. The smell of summer, the smell of forgotten heat, the smell of hope, of cooler days to come. Even stodgy old men, with stiff collars and stern expressions, will unbend and relax. Wait a while and see them splash into the puddles on the street, and for a brief, blinding, moment be transported to their childhood.

    It is the season of paper boats, made with school notepaper. Dislike Math? Use the pages on fractions and see your imagination float, and gently bob along the swift stream formed by the rain. Your English teacher gave you tough time? Tear out the pages on Shakespeare and listen to your heart sing – light and fresh from the showers.

    It is also the season of green. A million shades, from the shy, pale, green-yellow of pipal and mango, to the strong green-black of the sturdy grass that explodes everywhere. It is the season of planting, of a fresh farm cycle, the beginning of a few months of intense work in gracefully swaying paddy fields.

    Somewhere, in my imagination, I have moved back, to the previous years. The memories of monsoon making me forget the stickiness and discomfort of this morning. Monsoon magic has left fairy dust on my day, and I spend a few more minutes squinting hopefully at the far horizon.

    • Susan W. A.

      Your descriptions, which you hold center stage throughout, are as lush as the environment you describe. Your words transported me there. I like how you developed each paragraph, giving attention in each to one aspect of the effect of the monsoons. I grew up in Singapore, so your piece brings to mind the impact of the monsoon season.
      Some phrases I enjoyed, among others….”the day can go from intense heat to delicious coolness” — could just be a regular phrase, but I could feel the change; the raindrops making a “clumsy drumbeat on the roads”; “like a thousand snakes in symphony”; your descriptions of the shades of green; “Monsoon magic has left fairy dust on my day.”

    • poorna_katha

      Thank you Susan! I lived a while in Singapore too 🙂

    • Susan W. A.

      Interesting. Love the coincidence. It was a magical place to grow up.

    • Sandra D

      I liked the word phrase, “Even stodgy old men with stiff collars and stern expressions, will unbend and relax.”And the splashing in puddles, and let your imagination afloat, gently bob along. These are fun words and images of water and play.

    • poorna_katha

      Thanks, Sandra!

  23. Denise Golinowski

    When you pass the door, you can’t miss the photo printouts of chubby-cheeked, sparkling eyed adorableness taped all over it. A visual chronicle of my grand-daughter’s first year. From the teary-eyed father, my son (how did he get old enough to have his own daughter?) holding the stunned looking knit-capped newborn to last week’s successful donut sneak attack, chocolate icing squished between plump fingers and smeared on pinchable cheeks. She twinkles at passersby inviting the
    inevitable “aww.”

    Thank heaven she didn’t get my three-dimensional gene – I hate photos of myself – I don’t translate well into two dimensions. My grand-daughter makes that transition without missing a beat. You can almost hear her giggles as she bites into her purloined
    donut or her almost speech as she holds out her finger-paint daubed hand to the

    With limited real estate on a standard office door, I’m going to have to reconsider sizing of future additions, possibly rearranging or, painful to consider, removal of some older pictures. Rest assured that the deletions will be carefully tucked into a folder or book to be treasured, or pulled out, to her utmost embarrassment, at the appropriately vulnerable times in her life. After all, it’s a proud grandmama’s prerogative, right?

    • Susan W. A.

      Love this! I’m not a grandmother yet (my son’s only 13), but I can relate to this passage. Among others, I enjoyed: “adorableness”; “pinchable cheeks”; “She twinkles at passersby inviting the inevitable ‘aww”; your description of translating from the 3 dimensional to 2 dimensions (or not); “purloined” …thanks for using that word. I should have known it, but I had to remind myself by looking it up; “limited real estate”; the future o selected treasured photos.
      You sound like a wonderful grandmama [except for maybe the blackmail part. heehee : ) ].

    • Denise Golinowski

      Thanks, Susan! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m completely enjoying my little Allie-cat.

    • Sandra D

      I really enjoyed this piece. You did a great job of capturing the lifeless feel of the office job.

  24. Alex Young

    I’ll pick a less dull room next time =P Comments/tips very welcome!

    light shone with a lifeless glow. Fluorescent lights replacing natural light
    for the past year have a way of making the air feel just a bit more
    stale, as if the very molecules in the room stopped moving. Everything
    about it is uniform. The desks. The cubicles. Even the people walking
    about the halls. Suit buttoned, back straight, shoes shined. It’s as if
    they were printed right off the assembly line. Now don’t get me wrong,
    the livelihood provided was great. Everyday I get to sit in the office
    and look at my sticky notes. They tell me to be kind, show empathy, be
    helpful, be appreciative. All the notes in a line, the dry-yellow color
    trying it’s very best to brighten the grey walls surrounding all but one
    side of me. After the first hour I decide it’s time to stand. An
    article from a couple weeks ago mentioned that sitting all day increases
    the risk for high blood pressure and heart attack.
    Maintain your health!
    Weekly emails are sent out to workers reminding them to stay active and
    eat healthy. Everyone uses the gym. I notice the ceiling in which the
    lifeless lights are hoisted. The ridges and grooves in the mineral
    fibrous material added just a touch of diversity to an otherwise uniform

    There are windows, too. The blinds are kept open allowing a view of the
    organic tree divide which separates our building from the next. Natural
    light. But most days feel like cloudy days, and most people seem like
    cloudy people. A touch of lime-green paint was added to the support
    pillars, and orange lines disorganize themselves along the otherwise
    black carpet. A phone on the desk rings, and I lift it. No one speaks.

    • Susan W. A.

      I really like this. I felt myself back in a cubicle environment. I spent more than enough years there to know exactly what you’re talking about. Your descriptions are interesting and grounded in reality, to the last detail. Loved, among others…
      how you didn’t just say the room was stale, but that it was as if the molecules had stopped moving; also, “it’s as if they were printed right off the assembly line”; and loved the part about looking at the sticky notes all lined up and what they tell you to do (the cubicle environment requires one to be surrounded by inspiring words) and standing up because of having read the article.
      Nice job.

  25. Biblio Matsuri

    I’m in my bedroom at home. It’s a decent size, high ceiling, but there’s so much assorted clutter and junk that it feels small. My furniture is all hand-me-downs, and the desk is far too big, solid and squarish with a light wood veneer. It’s cool and slightly rough under my wrists, and a thin black wire from my earbuds catches under my hands as I type. On one side, there’s a printer – also secondhand, big and black with all the labels and stickers still on it. There’s a yellow one with set-up instructions. It’s been there for years, is covered in dust.

    There are green status lights washed out by the sun: my computer is on, my monitor is on, my modem is on. The USB adapter is gray, one light constant orange, one flashing green with the modem. A thick yellow Ethernet cord connects the two, collecting dust.

    There’s a black mouse with a red scroll-button. A broken clock, red plastic washed out pink by years of sun. The paint on the walls has faded too, from summer’s azure to the powdery blue of a smoggy day just starting to go orange around the edges. The paint on the windowsill is flat white, nothing to fade, but it’s discolored all the same from the chemical and particles coming in through the cracked-open window. The screen keeps the bugs out, but the building is old and the window is old. Even when it’s closed, smog comes through from outside. I can hear the freeway and a major thoroughfare. They’re not far.

    It’s summer. The sun is bright and hot, so I keep the blinds closed to keep the light out. I shut the window to keep the cool in.

  26. TJ


    I wanted to keep reading, to get know the old doctor’s story, and maybe the genesis of the chair. Please don’t keep this unique writing style to yourself.

    P.S. I ignored the mechanics. This wasn’t an editing exercise.

  27. Sandra D

    My room. The room with the computers, with their buzzing sounds- like a hive. They almost match the hum of the air conditioner that makes this room too cold even in the summer. I bring out a long sleeved overshirt many days, just for this room.

    I slide in my rolling chair, ergonomic back support for when I had that bad week, as it rolls on its mat, and tucks me up to the long plastic tables we got at Costco for 40 bucks. They’re nice cause you can wipe them clean with a wet rag. On them is my dual monitor computers with a red bursting super novae for a desktop picture and a bunch of folders and icons to I don’t know where.

    There is a mass of clutter on these tables, under them, every where. I seem to have an ability to not see any of it anymore and go on click click clicking like some mindless drone ant in search of crumbs for their queen. Three plants pushed to the corners of the table. All sitting on plates so the water doesn’t leak. One empty plate remains. A couple weeks ago there were four. I walk up to them with trepidation as I carry the pot of water. Will another drop dead soon? I pour the water in the pots and hope they can hold on.

    Stuff my kids dumped on me and I place on my table, not knowing what else to do with them, pushed in beneath my monitor and behind the keyboard. A glue stick, red wire formed heart, one green marker, a spring, a spoon. When something lands on this table, it may never leave. The stack of books stuffed between computers Larry Niven, Robert Randall, Michael Critchon, others, all never started, and I don’t know how they got here.

    Lime is the color of my wastebasket and lamp. Lime is for the vital energy that I can’t seem to summon up every morning. The feeble attempt to get everything done, and often find at the end of the day I don’t have any idea what got done.

    The room is crammed with too many thoughts, his and mine. Lot’s of strange technical things lay on his desk. I don’t know what they do, either from out of a space movie set in the future or my local dentists. He also has a divine speaker system. I say divine because it must be since it cost twice as much as mine. He has two boxes of memories from his last job that he left two months ago, but have not been unpacked. I kind of doubt it ever will. And I could go on and on about this room because it is the sort of place that goes on forever if you know what I mean.

  28. Vicki Baldwin

    An ancient clock hangs on the wall. It cannot tell the time
    as its hands are not moving and the pendulum hangs as quietly as death itself. The
    clock gives off a smell of age and dust. I touch my fingers across the old clock and discover a cover of gritty dust. There is no sound since the pendulum is not moving. This
    antique clock has reached the end of its life but it will always hang in its
    place of honor.

  29. Nancy Herkness

    Super advice! I call it “the telling detail.”

  30. seahorse123

    Currently I am in my living room. Through the window all I
    can see is the thick blackness outside. The only source of light is my computer
    screen and the light that is on behind me.
    The shadows that are cast by the light are long and at the very corners
    of the room are the darkest spots.

    Little trinkets from different Indy Car races are placed around the room. Picture frames, fake tires, and model race cars fill the room creating a race track theme. Behind
    the decorations is a wall cover with dark colored paneling and pictures are
    strewn about the room of family, friends, pets, and other things.

    A Steinway piano sits in the back of the room covered in dust. It is still as beautiful as
    the day we brought it home. In front of it sits an antique chair that is
    yellowed with age. The dark grain of the wood that holds the chair up perfectly
    matches that of the piano.

    The entire room smells of cigarette smoke and
    with the window open it smells of the crisp night air. Up the staircase I can
    hear music playing and the T.V. going. The stairs are covered in carpeting that
    is an off-white color. The space is truly an amazing place for relaxing and
    writing to my hearts content.

  31. Lisa

    The cursor blinks lazily on the blank word document in front
    of me. Describing what I see in detail of my surroundings in front of me for
    fifteen minutes is akin to eating a four course meal slowly, when you haven’t
    eaten for days. All I want to do is devour all the scenes in my room.
    The lamp in front of me reminiscent of the Pixar lamp, but black, shines its light
    toward the window next to me; a senseless act considering the blinds on the
    window are open and the sun is bursting through the window. The two sources of light
    engage in a competition with each other for the right to illuminate my desk.
    On my printer to the right of me, the two lights converge mixing ever so slightly.
    The cool blueness of the sunlight and the warm glow of the incandescent bulb in
    the lamp fight for supremacy. Neither realizes they have created an imperceptible
    line of demarcation on the printer where the warm light ends and the cool light
    begins. A white piece of paper, resting blithely on the lid of the printer,
    acts as mediator in the dispute. Its blue lines gradually tuning a slight shade
    of purple where the two lights meet.
    As I glance at the two spectralgladiators, I’m see more than what a mere casual glance offers. I see how the two lights lend their flavors to the objects on the desk. Only a couple of feet separate the lamp from the window. A blue vase sitting sentry on the desk in front of the window reflects both contenders on each of its sides, like a
    tug of war being waged and the vase is the flag in the middle. On the lamp
    side of the vase, a warm blue the color of the sky outside glows brilliantly as
    if lit from within. On the window side, the sun and its cool blue drown the
    color of the vase, stifling it’s brilliance as if jealous of the manmade hue.

    My purple pen sitting on a notepad in front of the window, looks like an old
    bruise about to turn green. Even my laptop cannot choose a side in this epic
    battle, one side a shade of black like that of my hair, warm with just a kiss of
    auburn; the other side a dull, lifeless charcoal.
    My fifteen minutes are up now. I’ve written more than I thought I could, my faithful lamp and the eternal sun looking in through my open window fueled my muse giving me reason to honor them. The cursor still blinks lazily, caring not either way who wins.

    • Sana Damani

      It’s amazing how you could write so much about something so simple and mundane as a lamp and make it so entertaining 🙂

      Also the similes in this piece are brilliant:

      “My purple pen …like an old bruise about to turn green.”

      “…fifteen minutes is akin to eating a four course meal slowly, when you haven’t eaten for days.”

  32. Imantra Org

    If you want to become a better writer, then simply follow these rules. It will give you many benefits and this is good for the writer as well. Thanks for sharing it.

  33. Kenan Aden

    Another day is about to be over soon. Since there are so much to do and so much to learn and yet, so much to feel I am not sure if I want another day to be over again. Life is fast out here. I am trying to catch it as much as possible. For instance, the street that I am watching from my office window is like a silent story teller. Stories are running in a car, or bicycle, or just on their feet every second, every day. I would die to watch all those stories as a whole just like the God does. Here Samantha is bringing other files to work on right before the day is over. That means, I am full for tomorrow, too. Samantha is the secretary of our office. She is the cutest in my city, at least for me. Her wavy hair smells like the springs from my childhood. Whenever I see her I feel this blood rush on my face. God, I am trying to no be very obvious, but I can tell I am very obvious from the look her face.

    My desk is messy like always, it is a sign of my great mind. Just kidding, I am lazy and forgetful. I think this job killed a big chunk of my brain. I got files from Sam and put them over the other ones on my desk.

    I looked at the street one more time. Why doesn’t it seem this beautiful when I am actually in it? Maybe, I am not happy with my life. Maybe, it is time for me to make a huge change, leave the job, leave the city and start over again like a real man. No, I cannot. My love is in this office, in this city.

    This room is a big office for a person. I have gorgeous paintings on the walls of my room. I spent almost an hour for this special one. The one that is front of me. I watch it like I watch TV. It is a garden in Ancient Rome. There are these heavenly girls carrying beautiful flowers to a river for a ceremony. It is the story that I made up but it is fun to think about it.

    I have a coffee table front of my table and two chairs for my guests. There are expensive but fattening snacks. And there is this beautiful Persian rug that I never want to step on.

    Oh God, Samantha is coming again. From the door she is talking to me.

    – Honey. Don’t you want to go home? The twins are home from school already. Let’s buy some food on the way home.

    I guess I forgot to tell you, I am the boss and she is my wife. We have twin daughters and a dog. I have to go now, but be back soon to tell you the rest of my story. The only story that I am watching but just like the God.

  34. harry

    The way the sun hit the blinds I knew that it was a clear day outside, my head started to fill up with ideas of what I could do with my day. What I difference a good day can make. I glanced around my room, the first thought that came to mind was, “how am I living in the chaos”. It had look semi tidy the night before but now it was as if god was shining a light at all the clutter that was holding me back in life.

    I simply jumped out, I had to..this had to be the first thing on my list. So many post it notes scattered all over my desk but not a pen in sight. As I opened the drawers, I was shocked at what I seen, had someone else been living here and just dropped everything in. The sun had done more than simply brighten up the sky, it had shone a light
    right on my life and I became alittle sad within. I had wanted so much in life but
    never seemed to follow through. So I walked towards the window and opened the
    blinds up wide, “What a lovely day outside” I said as the sun rays hit me in
    the eyes. I turn back around to face my room and could see instantly what
    needed to be done. Everything was going in some bright shiny new black bags.

  35. harry

    excellent post

  36. Michelle Downey

    The noise of persistent clicking from the data analysis next me consumes the quiet office on this bright Monday morning. I’m in the zone of unproductiveness as I listen to her working hard on the numbers that might save this failing company.

    My jadedness has evolved into pure lethargy for my position. I spend my days fulfilling drive-by requests while my inner designer slowly suffocates from the lack of stimulation.

    Now it’s 11:02 and I finally start to hear the clock watchers pipe up from their first of many coffee injections. In 15 minutes, I’ll have my first meeting of the day where I’ll listen to the big wigs redescribed what has already been said the week before. Proving nothing has been done or produced.

    It’s now my turn to speak and I exult at the attention. I say what I’ve been working on all week, and then bask in all the applauds for the work that will never see the light of day.

  37. Happy Coconuts

    I love my Mum’s kitchen, the warmth, the smell, the feeling of home. I love the wonders that hide away in the white cupboards that sit on the brown tiled walls, never really telling you what she has tucked away behind the lazy suzie. I love the smell of all the spice jars, lined up so neatly in the spice cupboard over the old white 6 burner gas stove, and the natural healing books stacked neatly in the corner. All her collected items, placed neatly reflecting life, an old silver coffee pot, and a bowl of dried acorns, an antique jewellry chest next to an aged well used coffee grinder. Everything so neatly placed. You know that if you switch off the light, and sneak in the room, Mom’s kitchen would be alive, almost like a disney movie, cluttering about, opening up the doors to let all the chinaware and cutlery have their fun.

    I can just sit and listen to the sound of crickets outside, as the warmth of the night air wafts into the room to enhance the fragrance of the day’s cooking, and the odd mosquito ringing in my ears…as I slap my ears in frustration.

    I just love that kitchen. Often times, I will sit late into the night working on my computer, so oblivious to the sounds that they fade into normalcy. When writing everything just stops, even the clock, as if giving me limitless time to spend in my euphoric bliss.

    One night, working late it was probably about 12ish, I started to hear these really strange noises, like an old plastic bottled being twisted to get the last drop of water out of it. It made me jump, not a normal sound for me to notice, so looking round I wondered where it might be coming from. Then it happened again, but this time it was like a groaning sound, almost painful as if something trying to get out of a rubbery box. It stops, I go back to writing, then, a large groan and something this point I wondered if the house is haunted, then more things dropped, like a stone knocking on it’s way down a shoot.

    Then it happened..the fridge kicked in and started doing its thing, and it was at that moment that I burst into uncontrollable laughter, all this time I had a haunted fridge. Now, the fridge has become part of my nightly noise ritual, making its noise becoming almost comforting, just letting me know that everything in my Mums kitchen is alive and well.

  38. Lisa Koester

    It’s a rainy day and I am at my desk in my well-lit, small home office. In the background is my music playing-chanting the gayatri mantra, if you’re familiar with yoga or indian type of music. The air is lightly sented with Frankinsence, which I use in a diffuser to set the mood. It’s chilly this time of year, but the coziness of the rain falling outside and the chanting help clear my head and my space to access my inner guide about what I want to write about. I write because it stills the panic welling up in my throat about my upcoming talk-I have no idea where to start. Somehow, committing words to paper (or in this case, laptop screen) helps soften the urgency as the email notifications continually show up on the lower right hand corner of my screen. Occassionally, I take a deep breath, sit up tall, and look over my right shoulder where my vision board stands, freshly updated for 2016. Pictures from glossy magazines, encouraging words of inspiration, photos of my dream kitchen with white carerra marble, all gracefully attached to the cork board bekon me. I continue writing as I try to push my thoughts away. Thoughts can be so distracting. And I marvel in amazement at this online community of writers, each of us strugling in our own way. Supporting one another. If only Ernest Hemingway had such support!

  39. Sana Damani

    I’m curled up under my blanket, hiding from the cold weather and the responsibilities of adulthood. I’m surrounded by books I love, but I cannot focus on the words. One is an unfinished work by a master, the other tells the story of humanity to a child. They lie abandoned, unloved, unfinished. But the books love me unconditionally; they will still be there, when I wake up tomorrow and the day after. I wish people were more like books. I wish I treated both better. I pick up a book and put away my starving computer, for a while immersing myself in a life that belongs to someone else, hiding once again.

  40. Sana Damani

    I’m curled up under my blanket, hiding from the cold weather and the responsibilities of adulthood. I’m surrounded by books I love, but I cannot focus on the words. One is an unfinished work by a master, tossed carelessly on the mattress. The other tells the story of all humanity, and also doubles as support for my phone charger. The books, I know, will still be there when I wake up tomorrow and the day after. They love me unconditionally. I wish people were more like books. I wish I treated both better. I pick up a book and put away my starving computer, for a while immersing myself in a life that belongs to someone else, until I’m ready to be me once again.

  41. Kris

    Resting on my knees, I huddle over a keyboard in the dim florescent light. An obsidian black, pantry-like computer desk with swing out doors engulfs half of my body from sight. An almost angry stare is the mask I don, as I carefully punches keys formulating my thoughts on a monitor. Parallel to stairs, the boxy architecture reverberates the sounds of loud noises and laughter that is belting from joyous children and their frantic caretaker. Broken. Once again my focus fades, while my attention drifts to the bolstering requests of the grammar school aged youths and my sister’s rebuttals and appeasements. The smell of rich, starchy butter frying has my stomach churning like tiny ninja-men are doing somersaults into my acidic juices. Looking at the time, i knew it time to wrap up. Frustrated, but still confident, I resolve to submit this without to much worry.

    P.S. I’m a sixteen year old kid trying to improve. Appreciate comments and/or criticisms. Thank you!

  42. Mandy Sue

    Around me, the room is in disarray. Well used textbooks with the edges slightly frayed, a red plate with the residual crumbs from a piece of crispy peanut butter toast, a half drank cup of coffee that is no longer steaming with the warmth of a fresh brewed cup, and the clutter of randomness that only comes from a room that has more than just one role.

    There are shelves that reach up towards the ceiling and are attached to the stark white desk. This is the main hub of the room. On this desk, I have surrounded myself with the trinkets that have significance. Significance that is only found in the eye of the person who has history with each separate piece.There is a white canvas placed on the highest ledge with vertical blue violet stripes that hold the slight handprints of a loving niece. This canvas was made with care and is a reminder that family is near and abundant with love. A diminutive piece of wood is on one of the lower left shelves. On this piece of wood is an array of shells that were plucked with immense consideration from a nearby sandy beach. These shells were set in place with hot glue, to create a small piece of dainty art. Although, seemingly simplistic, this one piece holds so much amusement and memory of a relaxing, sunny day, that one cannot help but smile when their eyes fall upon it.

    The 27 inch computer screen, with its brilliant light that illuminates the whole room when all the glow of the day has gone, is the window into the vast expanse that is the internet. Here is where I settle, after a lengthy day of scurrying at work, to escape for a while. The responsibilities shift to homework and the need to fill my sponge-like brain with more knowledge. Here, I have assignments due, deadlines to meet, content posts to finish, and responses to satisfy.

  43. Jonas

    I stare at a wooden drum that has fallen on the floor. It looks like a fallen tree with it’s stout trunk resting on the ground. It seems ominous in a patch of shadow. Its brown polished exterior looks black and evil. The patch of creamy leather strung across the top blends in with the smooth tile staircase. It looks like a large nut rotting on the ground, dying.

    It longs to be lifted up and beaten to produce a song of joy, but it stays on its side – its oblong shape leaning against a wall. It has furry skin stretched upon the top that looks tired and in need of being beaten.

  44. Liya age 12

    A hot, thickly furred, yellow puppy is lying stretched out in the corner. He enjoys lying there on hot afternoons when the sun warms the ground, and the breeze slows down to only a gentle ripple in the heavy air. The droopy eyed dog curiously looks up when the door opens. The sounds of chickens clucking, faraway roosters crowing, and the husky sounds of palm leaves rubbing together seep through the door. The puppy sighs and lays back down.

  45. jasmine

    Small roach infested freedom. The floor is roiled with their little corpses, along with clothes and shoes that just can’t manage to find their own way back in their places. My desk is cluttered with all kinds of ambition: the failed kind, the hopeful kind, and the raw talent kind. This room smells like bodily molding depression, damp and think. Sleeps rarily caught here and when it is, it’s catch and release. No mental health, no emotional stability, nor even a poor womans meals can be captured (ah, to be twenty something and struggling). there is order to this mess, a desperate attempt to have normalcy and pride in apartment where half of all the lights don’t work and there is a leak in every room. I almost think I deserve to be here. don’t I? it is the degraded like me, it is unhealthy and unkempt like me. I am here because every decision I have ever made led me to this apartment where my body waste from apathy and exhaustion I can almost feel my sweat and heated stickiness sew me to the couch. this poor, little, hilariously crafted Ikea couch. my apartment has a worn trail of my presence even in my absence: my ass print on that hilariously crafted couch, my mud track from the door that I am too fatigued to remove, and my holy Mecca where the entertainment is stationed. my best friends TV, PlayStation, and laptop. if my best friends aren’t working, even for a moment, my whole world goes bleak. Oh yeah, my bathroom! I forgot, i almost never go there, except to look optimistically presentable and stable in 10 minute or less. This small, roach infested, unhealthy, and unclean apartment. the outside elements ranging from barbecued aromatherapy to Houston’s infamous thunderstorms and noises ranging from childrens laughter to foreign music to hardcore f@&king can all be heard and felt in my apartment. But this is where i can afford to find solitude, even in the internal and external chaos. (P.S. these are desciptions from my first apartment ever i had a couple of years ago. Im much happier now and in dramatically better living conditions)

  46. Jûňąïď Şhąhïď

    Amazing, the content is perfect and super quote images are used. I am always try to write specific and brief with the formula of 7 c’s. But always looking for some more tips to become better writer.

  47. coco

    the carefully placed flower vases stood at the corners of the room reflecting images on the bare paintings.
    jazz music in the background as a couple walked right in chattering about what to have.
    A strong smell of coffee as two guys from the table of three had their pie quietly beside a beautiful stunning lady glancing at her phone typing and masticating.
    I stare at the guy at the corner who’s glued to his laptop and wonder what’s going on in his mind
    then I wonder what’s going through everyone’s mind

  48. RizzyJoy14

    (I still have a long way to go. So please it will be my pleasure if any of you guys correct my errors!! And bare with my English, it is not my first language so I still find difficulty in writing the language. But I would really appreciate it if you’ll tell me new words and correct the grammatical errors^^ BTW, this blog is great!)

    Everything’s quiet, just a noise coming from the fan can be heard througout the room, which has a lot of scattered clothes on the floor, a big, long brown cabinet, and a lot of things are tossed aside which makes the room a little messy than it seems.

    I’m sitting and leaning into the bed’s side, while my stepmom is sound asleep.

    It’s already 3:11 am, and here I am, typing and having fun with my phone.
    Considering that I’m a night owl, I tend to sleep late.

    The air that is coming out from the fan has been stroking my hair this whole time and it’s making me feel comfortable but sleepy at the same time.

    I covered my mouth as I yawned, tears starting to form on the both of my eyes.

    “I should go to sleep now… It is very late. This is not good for my health.” That thought started to crossed my mind. When I think about it, that little voice is right.

    I decided to follow my little voice inside my head. As soon as I did that, I turned off my phone, stood up from the floor where I was sitting before, and went to bed.

    My stepmom’s sleeping position is on the right, while mine is on the left.

    Variety of personal hygienes are in front of me, untill slowly, my sight is becoming blurry and dark and before I knew it, I already fell asleep.

  49. maria Schmidhuber

    I’m string in a warm and tall stool in my kitchen. I just had dinner . It was better than expected. Full of warm, buttery vegetables and a fried chicken that made me feel like I was having a barbecue during a warm summer day. I’m listening to my aunt, who is here for a couple of weeks from Mexico and my older brother talk about their likes and passions for board games. They are so into their conversation that I can barely hear my thoughts. I only listen, not because I don’t want to be involved but because I admire the excitement in their faces. The desire to tell it all before the topic changes.

  50. Chris

    Sue, I’m not out for your sympathy and you were never one for loser sob-stories, but my living room has gotten to be a bunker for every silent evening. Without fail, from seven to eleven, seven twilights a week, I want you to know that since you walked out, I sit buried in this armchair of dry, cracked leather. It feels brittle at my hands, and though I do know, like you always said, that it needs the special cream to restore the sheen, well Sue, I forgot where we put the special cream, and I’m too flat out to try finding the special cream, and really just too locked down to care about the special cream. I guess I should also shift myself to clear away the cup of cold coffee, the plates of cold, half-eaten toast, and straighten up the greasy remotes splayed across my chairside table, ‘cos you always were the straighten up things person in my life, but all these are just motions happening in my head now, since no-one else is here to nag me no more. With my TV on stand-by, my body’s gonna stay on hold until the final moment and the pills have done what they say they’ll do – when you take more than the prescribed amount that is. I sure hope this straightens things out for you Sue, then later on, when all the fuss has died down, maybe you’ll find where we put the special cream and get this sofa looking real nice.

  51. Jordan M

    The night darkens deeper. My eyes ached and dreary from a full days of jobless work. I scan my room laying crumpled on my side on a heap of blankets and tarnished, mearky yellow, flat dead lifeless pillows. No sofa. T.v. …… My hallway door half open letting through an ever so soft flow of air. A yoga mat pinned to said door, to cover up the tattered mess that lay beneith. From when i used to throw knives into it, out of determination to be a skilled warrior type man, boredom, and lack of respect for the council property i was thrown in. The mat, also a bid to encoarge the practice (yoga) that i used to reguarly partake in. A fruit basket hangs percariously and ruggishly from the ceilng dead in line where the wall would be in my open livingroom and kitchen. A small hook, hand srewed in at an angle, grips and holds the entire weight of the three tiered basket. underneith army grade green camoflaged paracord, about 18″ long, with a total disrespect for style, is tied to the hook and basket. ends burnt shut to stop the knot slipping.
    On the rope are three kitchen pegs one of witch my pink plastic rosemary bead necklace thron over dangling all the way
    Down, cross touching the three cloves of garlic and unripe mango sitting in the basket, waiting to be eaten. …. fuck im bored.. and not in a great place to write right now. This will take foreever at this rate. Describing every little thing, its emotion, description, feeling. think it would take eternity. can anyone give any pointers and is their any established writters that see any glimmer of hope in my writting.. im unexpirenced. dont think i have a style. im full of ideas. But in writting this i just feel as if im reeling off infomation like a robot. Im thinking of writting choice books as i liked them as a kid and still enjoy thwm now.
    Maybe do a few bloggs. *whatever that actually means .
    Dont think i have patience for full novels. I lack concentration and flow off into to many avenues.

  52. Sydney Bonner

    On my right, there are two pale grey walls facing each other scattered with a few pictures that give me a good smirk every so often. Especially the smallest one I scored of Prince, always staring boldly at me, with purple and teal ceramic glass in the background behind him. Just shy of Prince are two quotes in the center. One reads in white letters “What happens in the mountains stays in the mountains” on a black background. The other one says in green letters “Reading is sexy.” Go figure. You could say these are a few reminders of what has keep me going and what is to come. On the far right of my desk are a few “emergency books.” These are for those days I might need a good reference to read, or maybe even for a little inspiration. Gotta keep the creative juices flowing. Shoutout to my boy, Stephen King.

    The second half of my desk might as well be devoted to succulents. A couple of cacti string lights that need know batteries, hint hint. Below is an incredibly tiny mason jar, maybe the tiniest one I’ve ever seen filled with three even smaller succulents that I am still shocked can all fit inside this one jar. One cactus inside could be considered as a spiky yellow and coral tortoise shell, as I’m sure those exist somewhere on the planet. The other two are a little more normal and green. Who’s to say if they’ll ever grow as vast as their brethren on the open desert wastelands? The real question is whether or not someone can remind me to keep adding a teaspoon of water a month.

  53. Olivier Doyon

    All around me I find my room to be in an exceptional disarray, although not one which is particularly surprising. The clothes which lay disorganized in the corner, thrown there unfashionably, have begone to form their own structures – ones which a particularly bold contemporary artist could perhaps bring to life in an abstract and extremely displeasing piece. Elsewhere, the story is the same: several discarded mugs sit idly by, with only a few drops of cold tea remaining in each. The sharpness of the light, powered by those environmentally-friendly LED bulbs that are all the rage these days, project an almost surgical appearance to my bedroom. My work desk, which I long petitioned to keep as a sole safe-haven from the uncompromising orderliness that stands as the rule of law in this household, is filled to the brink with useless checkered paper, large colorful binders and an uncomfortable amount of assorted school supplies. An unread letter from the conservative party sits on this same desk, next to a few books dedicated to my next week-long obsession.



  1. Простой способ писать лучше ● Журнал «Редактор» - […] статье «Простой способ писать лучше» Joe Bunting говорит о том, что один из самых простых […]
  2. SEO Copywriting Top 10: July 30 to Aug. 6, 2014 » SEO Copywriting - […] Joe Bunting writes How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step for The Write […]
  3. Top Picks Thursday 08-07-2014 | The Author Chronicles - […] matter, so Joe Bunting advises specificity to instantly improve your writing. Chris Winkle tells us when to cut a…
  4. How to Become a Better Writer | Jenna Gee - […] “How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step“ […]
  5. The Best Way to Become a Better Writer - […] How do you get started writing? How do you become a better writer? […]
  6. newsletter (Feb. 16): declutter | the learner sherpa - […] Want to be a better writer? One single piece of advice: Be specific. […]
  7. How to Write Well -Part 2- | Look! The Mind of Matsuri - […] Related Articles: –A Guide to Becoming a Better Writer: 15 Practical Tips –How to Become a Better Writer in…
  8. So you want to start a blog... - Erin Whalen - […] How to Become a Better Writer in One Simple Step: This blog post offers some great advice on how…
  9. Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words - […] discuss seven words you should avoid, but if I had to give you one piece of advice about how to…
  10. How To Become A Piano Teacher In Ireland - Piano - […] How to Become a Better Writer in One, … – Want to write better stories, essays, and blog posts?…
  11. Top 12 Nitty-Gritty Editing Tips That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful - Spunky Misfit Girl - […] Write Practice blog has a great post about this by Joe Bunting here. One of the points Bunting covers…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Say Yes to Practice

Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts:

Popular Resources

Books By Our Writers

Surviving Death
- Sarah Gribble
Vestige Rise of the Pureblood
- Antonio Roberts
A Shadow Stained in Blood
- Ichabod Ebenezer
Share to...