Note from Joe: Today, I'm thrilled to introduce our newest contributor, The Magic Violinist. When she first asked me if she could contribute, I was a little skeptical. She's twelve, after all. However, after I read her post, I knew that she would be perfect for The Write Practice. She's a good writer, but more importantly, she has passion and discipline.

The Magic Violinist will be posting a monthly column on every third Thursday of the month. I hope you'll join me in giving her a very warm, Write Practice welcome. Take it away, MV.

Many budding writers often can't find the time to write. Their excuses range from “I'm too busy with work,” to “I have five kids to care for,” or “I have to get caught up from this past week's vacation.”

The truth is, there's always time to write. You just have to make the commitment and challenge yourself to write every day, even if you only write for a little bit. The people who really truly want to write will find the time.

Here are five ways to add writing to your busy schedule:

Metallic ballpen tips / biro Ballpen Ballpoint pen in silver with handwritten random blue text on quad-ruled paper

Photo by photosteve101

1. Whenever you have five minutes . . .

Whenever you have five minutes and there is a computer or some paper and a pencil nearby, sit down and write. It doesn't matter what you write, just write.

2. Blog

If you are a writer, you probably already have a blog. If you don't have one, make one and blog consistently about your life, your most recent writing project, your pet, anything. It doesn't matter what you write, just write.

3. Wake up early.

Even on weekends. Set your alarm clock and wake up before anyone else to give yourself some time alone so you can just write.

4. Free write.

If you're stuck in your novel and don't know what to write next, grab a clean piece of paper and a pencil and write down whatever comes to mind for ten minutes. Most likely you'll realize what you have to write next. If you still don't know what to write next, you haven't written for long enough. Write for another ten minutes and keep on writing until you've overcome your writer's block.

5. Block out distractions

Take your laptop to a quiet coffee shop and turn off your internet. Use a program that will turn off your email, Facebook, Twitter, and anything else that will be a distraction for you. After you've done that, just write.


Turn off any distractions and write whatever comes to mind.

Write for fifteen minutes. When you're finished, post your practice in the comments. Be sure to comment on a few other practices as well.

Have fun!

The Magic Violinist is a young author who writes mostly fantasy stories. She loves to play with her dog and spend time with her family. Oh, and she's homeschooled. You can visit her blog at You can also follow The Magic Violinist on Twitter (@Magic_Violinist).


  1. Ben Walker

    I remember as a child going to the library and pulling his books off
    the shelf and opening them. It was magical. The smell of time and dust
    and mummies were in the folds. The characters came out to play. And I
    was changed. I gathered up my best story, re-wrote it by hand. I must
    have rewrote it a dozen times as I did not want any errors or scribbles
    on the pages. I sent it to him and then set up camp by the mailbox. I
    was hoping I would hear from him. I was also expecting to never hear
    from him. But then one day the mail had a thick, very expensive looking
    envelope in between the ‘Money Stretcher’ and an electric bill. I
    flipped it over and the return address was that iconic signature –
    Bradbury. Inside was a card with his family crest embossed in gold.
    inside the card was a very nice note from the man himself. Not only had
    he read my story, he wrote the card and sealed the envelope and
    probably took it to the post office on his bike. I need to dig that
    card out. It needs to be a constant reminder to me that when you dream,
    and when you are as patient as that little kid waiting by that mailbox,
    even the smallest of gestures can mean the world to someone.

    • Mariaanne

      Oh that was magical. I like the line “The smell of time and dust and mummies were in its folds.  I can see the boy writing the story and mailing it. And to get a note from Ray Bradbury!! You’d better start writing because you are a good writer and also because those mummies are going to get you if you don’t. They know that Ray Bradbury has read your stuff and they are worried.   

    • Ben Walker

       I can envision him hopping onto his bicycle and delivering the envelope to the post office.  Everything was hand written – which makes it that much more precious to me.  Thinking of it all transports me and I am still that little kid camped at the mailbox.  Yes – I must get on with it I suppose.

    • Oddznns

      To get a letter from Ray Bradbury! To have thought of sending it so him… That was a big dream. Wow!

    • Ben Walker

       I believe his address was actually in an early copy of The Martian Chronicles.  It truly was amazing.  But he really was that kind of man.  I have read many accounts of his generosity.  It meant everything to me to know that he read my story.  He was very encouraging.

    • Themagicviolinist

       Wow, getting a letter from RAY BRADBURY! Awesome!

  2. Anna

    I especially like the tip about turning off all the other distractions (Facebook, Twitter, e-mail)– I have lost valuable time while on social media! Thank you for your article and ideas. 

    I happen to have a daughter who is a cellist (Are you really a violinist? At least it’s a really cool name), a writer, and is home-schooled, too… so you’ve already won  me over. But maybe I’m just a little bit biased. 🙂 

    All the best to you, Magic Violinist!

    • Themagicviolinist

       Thank you, Anna! And yes, I really am a violinist. 🙂 I’ve been playing violin for five years now.

  3. Alison Schultz

    Somehow I know nothing’s going to be the same again.

    Maybe it’s the pity party. The way people look at me now, it’s like I’m a helpless little kid. Sometimes I may feel pathetic, but I’m fully capable of helping myself!

    It’s also my emotions. You could make me laugh, make me smile. Even make me angry if it was bad enough. But you couldn’t make me cry. I’d bite my lip through any pain, physical or otherwise. But now I’m a wreck. Simple as that. Who knows what’ll happen next and send my emotions spiraling out of control?

    Screw both of those. I can’t even think straight. Gives me a stupid headache and I feel like throwing up if I try to think past a simple “do I need to do something” or “is that ok”. To a girl who’s used to basically dissecting the world with her brain, being unable to constantly comprehend is terrifying and miserable.

    At least my shoulder’s almost better. A few more days and I’ll be able to move it completely. But what good is that to me when I can hardly get out of bed? I haven’t checked my phone or email, haven’t even gone downstairs to get a drink on my own. The only times I’m up are to use the bathroom or adjust the blinds. If I try to do much more, the slow spinning of the room sends me back to the gentle comfort of my bed, feeling more sick and alone than ever.

    Now I sit up in my bed, pushing aside the dull headache and just listening. Staring at the blank wall opposite me so my thoughts don’t carry me away. Not that they really could.

    There’s the rough motor of a car as it comes to life, then fades away. The soft ticking of the clock in David’s room. A softer buzzing of a TV somewhere in the house. Someone switched basketball on. I try to push that thought away.

    Mom and Dad are arguing downstairs. At least, I think it’s Mom and Dad. The female voice could be anyone’s. Its owner doesn’t completely come to mind, but then again, neither does anything else anymore.

    Stupid concussion. Stupid everything. If I get over this—people keep saying “when,” but it sure doesn’t feel like I will—I’m not diving again. Nuh-uh. Let someone else risk their freaking life to get a loose ball. It’s not worth it anymore to me. Let them fight for a rebound against someone twice their size. I’ll gladly stay back. Let me shoot, let me pass, but I’m never letting this happen to me again.

    If I try hard enough, I can visualize a high school coach trying to get me to be more aggressive. After the struggles Jackie’s dad has gone through with that this year, it’s likely someone else won’t have as much patience. Let them try their best. I’m not risking this again. So what if I’m benched for most of the game? I’ll be able to think freely, won’t I? Better to be sitting on the bench with a small chance to go in than being stuck in bed with no chance.

    Even if I do happen to fight for some possessions, it won’t be as hard as I can. Even if I do pursue a couple loose balls, I sure as hell am not diving. I’ll be playing basketball, but not like I have been.

    Somehow I know nothing’s going to be the same again.

    • Marla4

      Wow! Gorgeous writing. Love this character.

    • Oddznns

      They say don’t use so much Internal Monologue, but in this case it’s so good. It’s pulling me into the character, getting me interested in why she’s so depressed. And the whole story just unfolds. Great.

    • Alishajoy

       adored this!!  My son wrote a similar letter recently and his response was  form letter 6 months later.  He was still thrilled but a hand written letter on quality stationary…ooo what a treat!

  4. Katie Axelson

    From one total nerd to another, welcome to the Write Practice, Magic Violinist!

  5. Christy Boston

    Very good points!  I especially like number 4.  The other day on my lunch break I just sat in my car parked under a tree in the office parking lot – and wrote.  All I had to write on were old gas station receipts, but I managed to come up with the outlines for the next four chapters of my WIP.  Sometimes when we least expect it, the ideas just start to flow, usually when we “just write”.  I am happy to say that my most recent spell of writer’s block has now come to an end! 

    • Themagicviolinist

       I often write on napkins at restaurants. My friend and I always joke around and say “Maybe if we start our novels on napkins we’ll become the next J. K. Rowling!” Thanks for posting!

  6. Missaralee

    Hi Magic Violinist! Great tips, my favourite is always to free write, even if I’m not really stuck.

    I’ve been trying out free speaking, rather than free writing lately to get ready to compete/participate in my first season of slam poetry. It’s a contingency against stage fright/sudden memory loss. 

    My Practice: Stage Fright

    When I thought about getting up on stage unprepared, I put myself to the test and free spoke a line about winging it. So winged jays flock to mock me as I pee my pants here on stage. I’m prey to their calls and so I pray for words to wash down and out. They don’t come out the way they ought. All tangled and absurd like lemons making waves in amber seas. But I see that I can talk the talk, to mention enough and cover the time and to present an abstract thought to take your mind away from your own concerns and isn’t that what it is to be entertained? I’m dragging you out of your seat where you bite your nails and wonder if you turned off the water to the sprinkler before you left today or if you fed the cat at all today. You are worried about that report due Monday and the promotion that you’re sure not to get and the price of a new muffler for your beat up Toyota. I’m thinking about what it would be like to sink into the wooden boards of this stage and disappear. But I came here for you to see me so here are my words: “I don’t know anything. I am no original. Everything is meaningless.” All I have is an internal thesaurus and a penchant for prose and assonance. I rhyme to fill time and to switch that spot in your mind that is much too serious and bent on grown up things. A  rhyme is the play stuff of children who sing and jump to words that sound the same and sing-song their way through breaks and play and work too. Call me childish and I’d take it as a compliment. It’s an offer to play, to seize the light of day and to while away hours pretending to be all those people I’ll never be. I’d play at being poet laureate here on stage, free speaking wonderous lines that’ll have you amazed the way I say what I mean and don’t break the rhythm of thought. What a genius I would pretend to be, as a child who can be anything and has no taste for compliments or closeting potential. I have no reason to fear a platform to spit words and make worlds. I’ll just let it flow and if you’d like, we can all pretend to be in our underwear.

    • Joe Bunting

      First of all, I would not expect you to be a slam poetry kind of person, Sara. That’s awesome.

      Second, free speaking? Do you record it and transcribe or just let it come out however.

    • Missaralee

      They also have storytelling slams in my city and I’m thinking of recycling some short stories for that too, but one thing at a time!

      I like to use the Evernote app on my iphone to record if I get an idea about a specific project and I’ll transcribe it later.

      The microphone does make me a little shy, so I also just start speaking without recording and try not to worry about “losing” good turns of phrase. It’s liberating to just practice without producing, more like playing than exercising.

    • Marla4

      I love this, particularly the part about the audience!

    • Mariaanne

      This is really good and different. I like the part about it being playful, childish, but the very last line is the best. It reminds me of things I dream but a little different.  

    • Oddznns

      Missaralee, this IS a poem all by itself. All you got to do know is move it around intat stanza’s and chop away a few bits.

    • Themagicviolinist

       Free speaking. That sounds interesting!

      And our home schooling group had a poetry slam once. It was awesome! Some people read already written poems and some people wrote their own. Thanks for commenting! 😀

  7. Zelia

    Great post. Looking forward to all you write. Gotta go and write in my journal. I haven’t touched in over a year. Thanks for the push to write.

  8. Chihuahua Zero

    Hey, fellow young writer! I’m in high school, and you’re already ahead of the game. I sort of neglected my novel over the summer, but I’m easing myself back into writing regularly, on top of more school work.

    About the “five minutes” thing, that’s something I have done over the years. I work fast, and therefore have more time near the end of class to jump into writing mode. At school, I wrote about 3-4 pages. One of a TF2 fan-fic, and the beginning of a short story inspired by a dream.

    It’s a start.

    By the way, one of my characters is named Scout. She’s sort of an oddball.

    • Themagicviolinist

       Ha ha! Our Scout is kind of an oddball, too. 😉 But we love her just the same.

  9. JB Lacaden

    Awesome post. Awesome writer. Looking forward to more of this, MV 😉

  10. Valerie

    Wow MV such wise words from a 12 yr old. I shall do my best! Thanks and well done. Looking forward to more from you 🙂

  11. Wendy Wallace

    I love the idea of writing for five minutes.  I don’t know if anyone else is like this, but sometimes I psyche myself out of writing because I make it into a big production. Writing for five minutes here and there makes writing more like part of my day rather than a special event. Thank you for the idea! I look forward to reading more of your columns.

  12. Marla4

    Welcome, Magic Violinist!  Great first post.

    We got to go down to town hall tomorrow, me and Mama and
    Brodie.  We’re the last family they’re
    talking to, and the worst affected, if you ask me.

    Our house sits on the butt crack of the state line.  Our kitchen’s in Mud Town, Missouri, and Mama’s
    bedroom’s in Toad Suck, Arkansas.  And
    yeah, those are real names.

    The rest of the folks they got jawing about the divide don’t have
    half the trouble we do.  The Kesters are
    having some kind of identity crisis because when the walk across the street,
    they’re in a different state.

    Big deal.

    I eat breakfast in Missouri, and when I stand in the hall, I can
    straddle two states.  Try topping that.

    Wasn’t much call to complain until Arkansas started charging us
    property tax, and then Missouri sent a bill, and Mama, she works at the Snuff
    and Stuff, and yeah, that’s a real name, so she don’t have a whole pile of

    So, she called the mayor, who put her off.  Well, fine, then, she said, so she called the
    governor of Arkansans, where we always thought we lived, and who happens to be running for re-election, and his guy
    come out and had his picture taken, straddling the hall like I done going on five
    years, and he put it on the World Wide Web, and now the mayor’s all up in our
    business wanting to fix things.

    “I don’t like this dual citizenship,” Mama said to the reporter
    who come down from Little Rock.  “I feel
    like a man without a country,” she said, and then she ran her fingers across
    her throat, for effect, I believe, and squeezed out a little tear.

    And then I said, kind of smart-alecky, “You ain’t a man at all,
    Mama,” and she backhanded me there on live TV, which I believe I could use in
    court against her, if I knew which state to prosecute her in.

    Now, we’re heading to the town hall, where there’s twenty
    cameras going, at least, and Brodie, he don’t talk much, so he’s hanging back,
    making faces like his mind ain’t right, which it is, and I’m walking beside
    Mama, like I know how to fix this.

    Which I do.

    Somebody needs to move our house, which we could do ourselves if
    it was a trailer, but we upgraded from wheels five years ago, when Mama got a
    settlement after she got low sick from eating at Coffee on the Fly, and no I’m
    not making that name up.

    When we walk in, the three of us, and the Arkansas governor’s
    there, his hair all slicked back, and he’s got a diamond stickpin on, from a
    rock he found at Murfreesboro, where you can dig for your own diamonds, and that’s
    no joke.

    The Missouri governor ain’t here, which don’t surprise me, since
    he ain’t up for re-election this year. 
    That’s just one of the things you got to know when you live in a house

    Mama’s wearing too much makeup, and she’s got on a dress,
    something I ain’t seen in a while, and she’s carrying a hankie that belonged to
    my Memaw.

    She marches up front and sits at a long table, where they’ve set
    out Planter’s peanuts, from the factory down south, and Coca-Cola in little
    glass bottles.

    We wait for the governor to call her out, which he does after a
    really long introduction – he’s against higher taxes.  Who knew? 
    And she stands beside him, and you can tell she ain’t impressed.

    “I met Elvis once,” is what she’ll tell me later.  I hear it every time she meets anybody with
    any sparkle. So her bar is set real high.

    Mama draws herself up and starts to talk.

    “I been an Arkie since I first drew breath,” she said. “And I voted
    for Governor Sidell last time,” she added. 
    “Which I know now may have been collusion or fraud or some other kind of
    crime, since I don’t know which state I’m supposed to vote in.

    “But I know my daddy fought for this country, and my granddaddy’s
    people come here so long ago, there’s a whole road named after us. And now
    Missouri, which was near ‘bout all Union during the Civil War, wants me to pay
    double taxes on my house, which is all I have since Merritt walked out on

    “So I don’t know what you geniuses up there on the hill plan to
    do about it, but I got heart palpitations because of it, I surely do.”

    And then the mayor said, “Mrs. Hagan, not to belabor the point,
    but you still owe the county back taxes for three years.”

    Which was not the right thing to say at all.  Mama took out her hankie and wiped her brow,
    and swigged some Coke, and slumped into the fold-out chair.  She laid her head down on the table, and the
    bowl of peanuts spilled when she pounded her fist on the shiny wood.

    And then the governor stepped in.

    “My mother was a waitress,” he said.  It was a line he used in almost every
    speech.  “And I know the hardship and
    tribulation of the single mother.  Had it
    not been for my own mother’s hard work and diligence, I would not be where I am

    “This woman,” he said, and pointed to the lump that was now my
    mother, “works in a factory all day, and comes home to a house that’s divisive.

    “We, as a state, should not allow one of our best citizens to
    live this way.”

    Well, Mama didn’t work in a factory, but she perked up just the
    same.  She sniffed, and snuck a peanut,
    and looked as offended as a honorable woman ought.

    And then the mayor jumped up.

    “My thoughts, exactly,” he said. 
    He was stalling, his fingers wiggling, his eyes darting about. 

    “That’s why we…”

    The governor took over then. 
    “That’s why we’re moving Mrs. Hagan and her fine family to Arkansas
    proper.  And we’ll donate her house
    divided to Missouri, to do with what they will.”

    Mama stood up and grabbed the governor, who she didn’t vote for,
    since she ain’t registered, and hugged him around the neck.  Her makeup left a stain on his lapel, and the
    photographers seemed to love that.

    Me and Brodie stepped into the picture then, and Brodie made a
    face like a frog, and it was on the front page of the Times Record the next

    So now we’re packing.  Our
    new house has a washer and dryer, and we don’t owe a thing.  It was a repo, but that don’t bother us
    none.  Mama, she’s off registering to
    vote, and me and Brodie are in the garage setting off the last of the fireworks
    we hid here when the mayor declared a burn barn right before the Fourth of

    “You really think we ought to?” Brodie said.

    And I said, “I surely do.”  I waved my hand across the boxes already stacked in the garage, in a place that used to be in Arkansas, and now was not.  “Go ahead,” I told Brodie.  “All this is Missouri’s problem now.”


    • Mariaanne

      I love this like usual.  You have great dialogue as usual, but this one is the funniest one of yours I’ve read so far.  Comparing everyone to Elvis , setting the bar high, that’s priceless.  Love it.  

    • Marla4

       Thanks Mariaanne. 

    • Oddznns

      Ah they really real names? Toad Suck and Mud Town. This is so funny! It reminds me of Garrison Keillor )?sp?)

    • Marla4

      Thanks Oddznns.

      Toad Suck is a town in Arkansas. It was named for the steam boat captains and crews who came to town, hit the taverns, and drank so much the townfolk said, “The suck on the bottle til the swell up like toads.” Mud Town is a community here, but not as well known as Toad Suck.

    • Mariaanne

      I recently read about a dog who licked toads to get high.  Apparently some toads have a chemical on their bodies that is a hallucinogen and people used to lick them too.  Maybe that is where the name of the town comes from.  

    • Marla4

       I’ve heard that.  It might be why Toad Suck got it’s name.  I believe the town just earned the honor of worst name, or something similar.  They do have a great festival each year, and celebrate the town, which I think is pretty neat.  You’ve got to own it, I guess.

  13. Mariaanne

    This is something I’m trying to get straight for my blog.  Some of you may have seen it here before in a past reincarnation. 

    Uncle Billy had taught us to drive his cadillac by the time I was twelve and he wanted us to go down to Mr. Aspenwall’s field and pick some corn for dinner.  That sounded like stealing to us but we were staying with him for a week and we supposed to do as we were told.   

    “What if they catch us?” I asked

    “Then you’ll go to jail so you had better move fast”, he said.  

    My little sister looked like she was going to cry.  

    I wasn’t as afraid of going to jail, but I was terrified of running into Jules.  Jules was the gardener for Uncle Billy and Mr. Aspenwall.  He sat in the corn and drank paregoric when he wasn’t working. 

    “Jules?”, said my cousin Barbara to Uncle Billy.

    “Don’t worry about Jules.  You can out run him even without the car”. Uncle Billy wasn’t going to give up, so we got in the car and went after the corn.  

    I drove down the road by pressing the accelerator half way down, letting it glide and then pressing the breaks, before stepping on the accelerator again. My sister looked like she was going to throw up on the white leather seats.  She had car sickness, because she was sensitive.

    “If you are going to throw up.  I am going to make you get out of the car, and Jules will get you for sure”, I said.  That didn’t seem to help.  She just got whiter and her eyes looked wider and darker.  

    When we got to the turn around. I stopped and we all jumped out except my sister who was still sitting there white and pop-eyed.  We grabbed ear after ear of corn and ran back and forth dropping it into the trunk.  It was hot. Their were worms on the corn, but still we picked and ran.  

    “What you doin”? came a low raspy voice from the next row of corn.  The three of us drew up and dropped the rough green ears that we were holding.   My sister sank down in her seat so that no one could  see her.  

    Jules swished though the corn until he was standing before us holding a little brown bottle of paregoric in one hand and a hoe in the other.  My heart banged.  I felt like I was suffocating, but I knew not to back down from anything like a wild dog and Jules seemed to fit into the same category as a wild dog.   

    “What are you doing”? I said back to him. 

    His eyes were yellow where the white part should be and full of red veins.  His hands and wrists hung down too far from the grimy cuffs of his shirt.  He smelled like sweat and licorice. 

    “Hoin weeds in this here cornfield, Mr. A’s cornfield. You all ain’t posed to be in here, an’ what you doin’ with Miss Jackie’s caddylack?” 

    “We are gathering some corn, like our Uncle told us to”,  I said.

    “Well I reckon I can stop hoin’ for a while and hep ya’ll” he said.  

    He staggered around and knocked over several corn plants but he did help.  When we got the trunk full, he said

    “Y’all got a dollar?”

    “For what? You’re not supposed to drink paregoric.  It is for sick people and veterinary purposes”, I said.  

    “Ain’t for no paregoric child.  Jules just needs some tuney fish”.  

    Well that sounded okay so we all checked our pockets and gave him almost fifty cents.  

    He took it, bowed his head, and thanked us.  

    • Marla4

      I like this. I had a little trouble keeping the names straight, but that’s an easy fix. You might stretch out the last little bit, to keep the tension going. I love the protagonist.

    • Mariaanne

      Thanks  I had more in the beginning with the names that explained who they were.  I can fix that.  I think the rhythm is off too. Well I’m going to keep working on it. Thanks Marla

    • Marla4

      It’s a vivid story.  I can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    • Oddznns

      This is funny. Love the bit where the kid tells Jules he shouldn’t be drinking paregoric. What is paregoric incidentally?

    • Mariaanne

      Well in the olden days when I was a kid (50s and 60s) paregoric was still foe sale in drugstores. It’s tincture of opium.  It’s like laudanum (that you read about the Victorian’s using as a pain killer) but not as strong. They put it on our gums when we were teething to stop the pain (and probably to make us stop crying and go to sleep) and in the 60s you could buy it by signing for to use with animals.  We always had it on hand.  Now of course if it is even made it’s not available without prescription.  Jules is a real character and he was addicted to it.  He also drank. We were terrified of him because he would “talk out of his head” at times.  I need to work more on the story. I can’t get the tone of voice that the child uses there right.  She,  actually my sister, was always parroting what she had heard parents say and it embarrassed the rest of us, 

  14. Bookworm

    I’m new as well! This is my first time posting, but I’ve been lurking in the shadows enjoying the blog. I applied thwaspish today. I was riding in the car and had nothing except a notebook and a pencil. I didn’t know what I should write about, but I wanted to make myself write for practice. So, I saw a bridge and pictures someone standing with their arms outstretched on it. The story turned out to be a bit depressing, not like my normal stuff. And I have no idea where the zombies came from. Anyways, here it is: The Last One

    The last one

    I stood leaning over the edge of the bridge, my arms outstretched to hug the sky. It was a dark gray, the color Jim’s face turned when he ate turnips. Jim. He was gone. Like all the others, he was gone. 
    As I thought about the last few months, I was strangely calm. It didn’t seem right. I mean, if you had witnessed all your friends be raided for their brains by the undead, then shouldn’t you be scared, horrified?Maybe I was mad. That’s it. Stark, raving mad. I guess that’s what you get for being half zombie. They can’t kill you. But water can. 
    I took one last look around at the world. It wasn’t much. Everything was gray- the sky, the land, even I was gray. But the sea wasn’t gray. It was a bright blue, the color that Anna’s eyes used to be. Anna had such pretty eyes. 
    I lifted my cracked feet, toughened after I had been forced to go barefoot. I closed my eyes and leaned back, reliving the happy memories from the Before. A sob choked in my throat. I’m the last human, I thought. “The last one!” The words tore through the gray sky, ripping the last shred of hope from mankind’s clutching fingers. And then, before the echo faded back into silence, I jumped.
    My last breath wasn’t memorable. It wasn’t sweet, nor did it smell like roses. It was acrid smoke that burned the back of my throat. By the time I thought to gag, I was underwater. 
    The pink dumbbells I had stolen from the gym dragged me down. The zombies wouldn’t get me. No, the honor of devouring the past human belonged to the tiny fish dancing in my hair. 
    I felt like I had been underwater forever. My body ached. I was tired, so tired. My eyes hurt; they had no desire to see the pretty fishes. I closed them and the last silver droplets of air escaped from between my lips. 
    The last one. The last one. It was a drumroll ripping through my head. The last one. You are the last– The words disappeared. Everything disappeared. 
    The waves above turned gray. 

    • Mariaanne

      That was chilling as last living soul on earth stories are and should be.  “My last breath wasn’t memorable” and the pink dumbbells are  a good line and a great detail.  

    • Bookworm

      Thank you guys! I was nervous about posting one of my stories, but I think it turned out good. I like the irony of the last sentence too; I think it ties it all together.
      P.S. It’s nice to see that there are other teens here too. And Magic Violinist, my best friend plays the violin. It’s such a beautiful instrument.

    • Mariaanne

      Don’t forget to remark on other people’s writing. We do this together and for each other.  You are a very good writer and I would appreciate your comments.  

    • Joe Bunting

      Preach it, M.

    • B00kWorm

      Sorry Mariaane ….. I’m just getting started posting on here. I’m new and I love reading other people’s stories on here- like you said, I need to provide feedback.

    • Karen Carroll

      I really like your last sentence. It’s like the only thing left that had any color was now drained of it, just like the last human that had any life was drained of it. Cool parallel! 🙂

  15. Thundersam4711

    Way to go Magic Violinist !!

  16. Nics Cahill

    Welcome Magic Violinist – I adore your post.

    Free writing, is indeed one of the freest things one can ever do to allow the mind to soar.  Lastweek I had a deadline for the BBC but my mind was filled with stuff, so far removed from my actual work.  I opened a notebook, moved away from the computer screen and wrote for several minutes, everything in my head stumbled out.

    Then I closed the notebook,opened my macbook and began to type.  Within a couple of hours the first piece of work for my deadline was ready.

    I am looking forward to your posts.  I love the freedom and peace in your writing, keep this always.

  17. Oddznns

    This is THE PLACE for total nerds. What can I say Magic Violinist … Joe is young and wise. You are too! Thanks for contributing.

  18. Puffy

    Finally, a writer that’s in my age group! I was beginning to think that I was the only kid hanging around here :I And you’re also homeschooled…

    I’m SO happy there’s someone like me here! 😀 Congrats on your first post, MV!

    • Themagicviolinist

       Hooray! Another fellow home schooling kid! I’m really happy, too. 😀

  19. TheYoungOne

    Yay! Now I don’t feel  like the youngest person here anymore (actually, I’m not)! And I’m homeschooled too 🙂

    • Themagicviolinist

       More home schooling people! Awesome! 😀

  20. Zoe Beech

    I am so inspired by your passion… Hope that some of it can ignite us too!  Welcome!

  21. Chihuahua Zero

    One of my writer friends say that she has no time for writing because she has so many AP/Honor classes and extracurricular activities, writing isn’t practical.  

    She has some time, but she can’t use it for writing regularly or her grades would suffer, and she would miss out on scholarships to college. Not to mention she had said in the past her father doesn’t really support her writing.

    In fact, she’s a little offended by this post, because of the implication that “[she doesn’t] truly want to write” just because school is a higher priority than her passion.Do you have any advice for her?

    • Joe Bunting

      Great question. Anyone have an answer for her?

    • Mariaanne

      I’ll tell you one thing.  I’m 62 and I bitterly regret not writing because I had school, a marriage, dying grandparents, another marriage, a child, a career, dying parents.  Now I’m retired and I’ve forgotten more than I remember. Write every day for a few minutes. Keep a journal.  It’s particularly important when you are young because you forget so much. As your life passes  you think, “I’ll always remember this” and can write about it later, but unless you have an exceptional memory you wont.  Write no matter what.  If I could make one talented young person believe that I would be happy.  

    • Jen Recato

      Your four words encouraged me: Write no matter what. It hits me because it came from someone like you. I will surely find the time to write.

    • Kathy Leicester

       Yep. My advice: WRITE. If you don’t, it’s because you don’t want to. Forget the dream of being a writer, forget that burn deep inside that commands you to write. Have a good career. Be happy. Do good things.

      Make you angry? Good. It’s supposed to. After you get angry, you get two choices: self-pity and action.

      Self-pity should be indulged in for about fifteen minutes. I mean serious, out-loud self-pity. Some with a flair for profanity find that hurling f-bombs repeatedly until you laugh is helpful. Go for it, for fifteen minutes (and if you’re hurling f-bombs, where no one else can hear!)

      Then, use the anger to ACT. Pack up, move, get up FIVE MINUTES early and write three sentences. Do this for a week. Remember Ernest Hemingway spent some time as a medic in the Spanish war–still, he wrote–a sentence here, a sentence there.

      Write from the extremes of emotion. Or don’t write at all. But don’t agonize, or pretend that your studies prevent you from doing so.

    • Miriam N

      Amen to that. Thanks Kathy.

    • Cho

      (I thought I posted this from my phone already, but it’s not showing up, so sorry if I just missed it)

      Just so we can all be on the same page, the rant about this is on my blog. Click on the comment title name thingy.

      Notice how I called it a rant. Please approach it with caution.

    • Joe Bunting

      I totally agree with what you said at the end, Cho. It’s clear you’re passionate and a very talented writer. 

    • Aqueos

      Uh, she said she had time on the weekends.

      She also didn’t post it here as she was afraid it would inflame the comments which clearly is happening. 

      Writing isn’t just impractical for her during the week, it’s plain out detrimental.

      Honestly your post isn’t doing a good job of representing hers, it’s not a very accurate representation.

    • Themagicviolinist

       See number one.

      Here is some more advice for her. Keep a journal. At the end of each day after all home work has been completed, she should write a little bit about her day or how she’s feeling, really anything. Right before bed she could write a little bit of a story or poem.

      Also, if she really truly wants to write, if it’s her passion, she needs to follow it. That doesn’t mean flunk school and hang out in your bedroom and write all the livelong day, but that does mean maybe she should drop one or two extracurricular activities so she has more time to write. On weekends or days that there isn’t any school, finish up any school work and write. During the summer she’ll have plenty of time to write. 

      I hope this helps! 😀

    • Themagicviolinist

       See number one.

      Here is some more advice for her. Keep a journal. At the end of each day after all home work has been completed, she should write a little bit about her day or how she’s feeling, really anything. Right before bed she could write a little bit of a story or poem.

      Also, if she really truly wants to write, if it’s her passion, she needs to follow it. That doesn’t mean flunk school and hang out in your bedroom and write all the livelong day, but that does mean maybe she should drop one or two extracurricular activities so she has more time to write. On weekends or days that there isn’t any school, finish up any school work and write. During the summer she’ll have plenty of time to write. 

      I hope this helps! 😀

  22. Dawnstarpony

    blocking out distractions is definitely the hardest one for me o_O it’s so hard to block out twitter XD i mean seriously i’m logged in from twitter as i post this comment…

    • Themagicviolinist

       LOL! I’m only 12, so I can’t even HAVE things like facebook and Twitter yet. The only distraction I have is gmail, and that isn’t that bad for me. 😛 Maybe that’s why I get so much writing done . . . 😉

  23. Bree

    I think this is a big thing for many aspiring writers. They figure they’ll write when they have more time. When they finish school, when they finish college, when they retire, when their lives aren’t so hectic. And many of them wake up one day and it’s nearly too late, and they don’t know where the time went. “Just write” is probably one of the best pieces of advice anyone can give an aspiring author. 🙂

    • Themagicviolinist

       I often hear that from people. They always say, “I wish I had written more when I was younger.”

  24. Pilar Arsenec

    Wow, what an amazing and talented young lady you are. Thank you for inspiring me.

    • Themagicviolinist

       Thank you very much! 😀

  25. Shelley DuPont

    As a new writer/blogger, there is so much advice regarding focus, i.e. niche and sub niches.  Often, I am discouraged because I can’t seem to develop one.  I have a few friends who read, but that’s about it.  I come to this site to feel like I belong somewhere.  I’ve got to learn to just go with my gut.  I’m so relieved to hear that writing about anything is okay.

  26. SteinFussel

    free writing from today: A long time whent by when all he saw
    the drill and asked himself what to make of it. The orange tent
    showed to be blue from the inside with a rubber strap attatched to it
    for what he had no idea. Did you call grandma? The bird in the sky
    took a left turn and landed on the yellow tent, peeking up to him in
    wonder. Where have you been? Can#t tell you. Been off to wonderland.
    Call it what you will. Narnia, Neverwhere, Phantasia, Lesuth. Keep it
    a secret. It is yours alone. His purple sleeves turned green when the
    bird touched them, making him feel warm and cosy. Not a long time
    after that the thunderstorm hit the place hard and destroid every
    evidence there might have been of his existence. Tell me what you
    want from me. I will try to help you if I can.

    • themagicviolinist

      This is very poetic. I think you can turn this into something really great! 😀


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