The Only Habit You Need as a Writer

by Guest Blogger | 98 comments

Joe here: We're very sorry to say that this is Marcy McKay's last post as a regular contributor (although, hopefully not her last post on The Write Practice!). She is leaving to spend more time with her family and to get ready for the publication of her novel, which will be released January 2016. Marcy, you will be missed, and I hope we can have you back soon to talk about your novel!

You've probably heard this before and know it deep in your gut. It's not earth shattering news, but people seem to be struggling with amnesia about it lately, so I'm going to repeat myself.

The Only Habit You Need as a Writer

How to Become a Better Writer

If you want to improve as a writer, if you want to grow in your craft, there’s only one way to do so, only one writing habit you need. You must…


I love this quote by Joe Bunting here at The Write Practice, “You have to write millions of words no one is ever going to see before you can write the ones that will change someone’s life.”

So true! Especially, if you want to be published, whether it’s fiction, or nonfiction.

Want to be a Writer?

Great, then write.

It’s truly that simple and really that hard. Why do you expect yourself to pen the most amazing novel known to mankind on your first try? You wouldn’t expect a medical student to perform brain surgery on her first day of med school? Would you think someone should be able to perform Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 their first time at the piano? How many hours did Michael Jordan spend to become one of the world’s greatest basketball players?

Each of those individuals had to practice hundreds, if not thousands of hours to excel.

It’s the same formula for writing: practice, practice, practice.

Don't Let This Obstacle Derail Your Writing Habit

Stop fearing fear.

Guess what? If you’ve just started writing and aren’t very good, that’s both reasonable and to be expected. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not a loser, or lame or anything else. Fear is part of the creative process, so stop letting it shut you down.


No problem. That’s the number one struggle for all writers. Keep going.


Figure out what your time wasters are, then stop doing them. Duh.


Perfectionism is procrastination on steroids. You’re an overachiever or people pleaser in other areas of your life, too. Don’t be you’re own worst enemy. Let yourself write bad stories, so you can later create great ones. Stop comparing yourself to others. This just hurts you. The only person you should compare yourself to is you… six months ago, one year ago, then five years.

No Time?

Be patient if you work three part-time jobs, care full-time for an ill parent, or a special-needs child.

Your may have to practice at a slower pace because of all your responsibilities. The Muse will bless you for your dedication.

Those folks have legitimate reasons, but the rest of us just have excuses. Stop playing on social media, turn off the TV, quit organizing your office. Drag your lazy butt out of bed earlier, or stay up later and do the work.

Take the blinders off. Face your fears, then conquer them.

How To Practice Writing

Read books or posts about writing, join sites like The Write Practice to learn, take courses online, or go to writing conferences.

Create a regular writing practice. Learn the nuts-and-bolts, then apply them.

Stop thinking about writing and just do it.

You Can Make Writing a Habit

Some people can get caught in paralysis of analysis. Yes, you need to study writing. Yes, you need to research your story, but don’t use this as intellectual procrastination for months, if not years. The only way to learn how to write is to practice.

It's interesting because you say you want to write, then do most everything you can to avoid it.

Don't do that. Write.

What change do you need to make to improve your practice? Let me know in the comments section.


For fifteen minutes, write a story about a writer and his/her practice, but make it someone completely different than you.

Share your story in the comments, if you’d like, and be sure to give your fellow writers some love, too.

Have fun!

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  1. Reagan Colbert

    Marcy, I am definitely going to miss your posts! Your style is blunt, honest, refreshing, and much-needed. This is honestly one of the best articles I have read on here, o you’ve made quite a grand finale!
    It took me being offered a publishing deal to finally wake up and realize I am good enough, and I can do this. Doubt had planted itself deep in my soul, but with God’s help, I’ve been able to conquer it, and my book is almost finished and then on the way to publication!
    Your articles, (along with everyone else’s) have played a huge part in my writing. I’ve never seen the quote you posted above, but it really is the story of my life, and I love it. I have literally written hundreds of thousands, (maybe millions), of words I would never show anyone, but now I finally have some I will, and almost a novel’s worth.
    Congratulations on your book, Marcy! God bless you on your journey, and I hope we’ll see you back on here soon!

    “Whatsoever ye do, do unto the glory of God”

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Congrats on your publication, Reagan! Tell me more about it: your book, the publisher, etc.? That’s too cool.

      Isn’t interesting, though, it took an outsider to make you believe yourself. I did the EXACT same thing with my literary agent. Oh well, it takes what it takes.

      Best of luck with your novel and future books!

    • Reagan Colbert

      Thanks, Marcy! That is interesting… It always helps to know there’s another writer who’s been in the same place!
      My book is a Christian romance novel called ‘Things Unseen’ It’s based on Hebrews 11:1, and is about a young woman who’s paralyzed and learns to trust God. She brings her doctor to Christ and ends up falling in love with him.
      I’m working with a Christian self-publisher, Xulon press. I found them by accident, and they are an amazing company.
      Thanks for asking. Talking about books is almost as good as writing them! What is yours about?

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      My novel is mainstream and called, “Pennies from Burger Heaven.” It’s about eleven-year old Copper Daniels, who is homeless and alone. She spends her nights sleeping beneath the Warrior Angel statue for protection and her days battling the mean streets, hell-bent on learning what happened the night her mama disappeared.

    • Reagan Colbert

      Wow, that sounds like a great plot and a touching story, something I’d definitely read. Praying everything goes well with publishing it, Marcy. Hope to see you back here soon!

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Thanks, Reagan. Best of luck with your publication, too.

    • Susan W A

      Congratulations! I love that you found a great fit in your publisher just by accident. Best of luck.

    • Reagan Colbert

      Thanks, Susan! The Lord really does work in mysterious ways, and it’s amazing to see Him at work!

  2. Ruth

    Marcy: Thanks for all your great posts and the very best of luck with your new book. Editing is a special category of writing but hang on till the end of it! We look forward to hearing from you again one day soon!

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Thank you, Ruth. I love the TWP and do plan to come back. I appreciate your well wishes and enjoy your comments and insights. Take care!

  3. Debra johnson

    Marcy, you have been a great addition to my daily reading list and you will be missed
    ( hopefully not for long) because you will be back and share how things are with you and your book… Keep your eyes focused upward and God will guide your steps… much luck to you…..

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      What a lovely sentiment, Debra. I needed that reminder. Thanks so much.

  4. Marcy Mason McKay

    Joe Bunting!
    I’m sitting here in Texas weeping at my laptop! Thank you for your generosity with the TWP and all that you’ve taught me. I look forward to sharing what I learn post-publication with your awesome community. Thank you!

    • Joe Bunting

      We will all be waiting!

    • Danét

      Raven sat at the edge of the cliff knowing she had to jump; to free-fall completely into the unfamiliar within. She remembers it was messy and unconventional and inappropriate for the trek she’s set years ago when she’d left the dream of being a writer, to forge the path of logic, success, and the ‘real world’. Definitively, she’d put away all those aspects of herself that wouldn’t serve the goal of climbing the corporate latter. And she had buried them deep within, neatly folded and tucked away.
      Still, the writer within haunted her from nestled deep within her soul, calling to her to return. When you’re not living into your calling, all the success, money, status… even fun parts are flat and lack luster…
      So a few short years ago, in a brave act of self-love, she stepped-out of her ‘power suit’ and sat, a blank page, herself, before the typewriter. Scenes, observations and dialogues showed up and flowed from her finger tips. It was good writing. Some articles were accepted and published. Her writing group believed in her and encouraged her in refining her craft.
      But this morning, like the string of consecutive mornings over the past month, her writing, like her life the past 15 years, felt a little hollow.
      Raven had at last accepted herself as a writer and immediately jumped in with both feet, and though not as hardline in measurable progress, she had felt she was progressively moving forward.
      But now, ‘the writer’ was asking more intimacy from her; to not just reach in and unpack the hidden, tucked away aspects of herself in some tidy way, but to tear it all open and surrender her writing voice in favor of the true voice within.
      She knew only one thing… She didn’t know how. And her skills and control, that had served before could not help, but hinder her now.
      She stood ready. And dropped back, trusting the currents the true writer’s voice to catch her and take her home.
      She was Raven – the writer.

    • Susan W A

      Stunning … Powerful self-reflection ; beautifully expressed; I can feel Raven’s commitment to her true self.

      So glad you’re making the time to post your pieces.

    • Danét

      Thank you, Susan. I am loving experiencing everyone’s creations here. There is simple raw innocence behind the writing that comes through from the spontaneous response to the prompts… Like kids that spontaneously start dancing when they here the music…

    • Susan W A

      Yes. Wonderful analogy. : )

    • Beth Keller

      I felt compelled to read about Raven. I’m already invested in her.

    • Danét

      Yum. I love that response. I think there is a little Raven in every writer. I know that for me, I wake each morning and walk to the edge of that cliff and boldly free fall into my writing with the thrill of trust under my wings… I write, in awe and reverence to the unknown. I can’t wait to see the how the words will form, what message they will deliver me, and how I will be reintroduced to humility and grandeur – again, today.

    • Danét

      Thank you for so generously sharing your book, “Writing Naked: One Writer Dares to Bare All” Great title. I downloaded it and can’t wait to read it! And may I be so daring… I also joined you facebook page where I can continue to develop as a fan. Thanks

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Wonderful, Danet. I look forward to getting to know you better!

  5. Petra V.

    It seems I’m “guilty” in all 4 points you mentioned above… Reading through the post I think I must change on things, to become a better writer. Thank you for reminding me that I should go on and create!
    I’m wishing you great success with your upcoming novel!

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Hi Petra,

      We’re ALL guilty of those creative monsters I talked about. Don’t try to tackle them all at once, just focus on whichever one you feel like you need to do. Writing is about small steps. Whatever it is you’re trying to create…you do it by one word at a time. Good luck!

  6. Stephanie Sanchez

    I send you my thoughts and well wishes. You have helped me so much over time. Thanks for all you. Shutting the phone off due to my procrastination. 😉
    Much Love,
    Stephanie <3

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Hi Stephanie,

      I’m delighted I’ve helped you, and appreciate you taking the time to say so. Good for you in shutting off your phone. This isn’t rocket science. We all just have to take a honest look at the stuff we do that keep us from doing what we want most — write. Much love back to you.

  7. Beth Barany

    Marcy, Love your no-nonsense attitude! I look forward to our time together tomorrow 9/25 at #askaWritingCoach live Twitter chat 3-4pm PT where I get to be nosy and ask you LOTS of questions. HEHE

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Me, too. FRIDAY, 9/25 (not 9/28….silly me). Looking forward to dishing with you!

    • Beth Barany

      Yay! Looking forward to it!

  8. Krithika Rangarajan

    I am reading an awesome book titled Page by Page by Heather Sellers…her No.1 tip is: Butt in Chair 😉

    It reminded me of your ‘Just practice’ tip and hence thought I’d share #HUGS


    • Marcy Mason McKay

      I haven’t heard of Page by Page, but LOVE the title. Thanks, Kitto. You’re a doll.

  9. Kenneth M. Harris

    Before I start my comment, I would like to take this time to wish you, Marcy, the very best. I never got a chance to really speak with you through the practice. Congratulations. Who knows, maybe one day we both might be a guess on the Charlie Rose show discussing our novels. What a dream, Right!
    Rocksann had gotten tired of Peter calling her and emailing her. He knows that I write all three days a week with no interruption, she told herself. He got a lot of nerve to even text, she thought. he knows that I don’t text, thought and shook her head. She pulled the paper out of the typewriter. Yes, she used the typewriter to get her story on paper. next, she would transfer what she had typed to the computer. Peter was tired of hearing about her writing. He sat on the bottom of the stairs
    I might as well accept the fact, she is and always will be a writer, he thought. He looked up toward the window on the right and saw her stand. Well, he thought, she finally probably went to the little girl’s room. She always used that line, he laughed to himself.
    He looked up at the window on the right again, she had just sat back down. Oh Well, he thought. I should be proud of her for spending all day three times of week to write her novel. She does give me one day. He stood, picked up a rock, and threw it toward the window. She stood and looked from the window and waved to him with a pen clutched in her hand. He mouth the words. She was always able to read his lips. ” I will be back Thursday and we’ll go dancing. After dancing, we’ll go to your favorite ice cream shop and last of all, the movies. she looked at him and frowned and used the sign language that she learned. You interrupted me, but that’s fine. Have to go. Come on Friday. I write all day on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, please remember Peter. He smiled and jumped up in the air. He dashed across the street, looked back and saw the left side of her head leaning. She’s writing, He thought.

    • anna

      I love the last two lines.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Thank you, Kenneth, for such sweet words. I look forward to appearing on the Charlie Rose show with you!

      For your story…there were several things I liked about it: 1) that the writer only wrote 3 days a week. It sounds like this is a successful schedule for her and dispels the rule YOU MUST WRITE EVERY DAY. 2) I like that Peter respects/resents her writing…VERY true to life. 3) I like that you made him deaf and how they communicated with each other. I get the feeling these two really KNOW each other.

      This story made me smile. Thanks! 🙂

    • Kenneth M. Harris

      Marcy, would you believe that an old man like me, slightly became emotional. You have made my day. Thanks so much for those wonderful words. You know, it is so amazing that all of us writers can think of a plot almost in a moment. If we like the story, we could go further with it. The prompts are awesome! I have learned so much since I have been a member. Really enjoy your success, you deserve this. KEN

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Awww, that’s so sweet, Ken and I meant every word of my compliment. Keep writing and keep sharing your work with others.

    • Susan W A

      The push and pull of relationships … honoring oneself while respecting the other, finding ways to give that are meaningful to the other, not just oneself.

      I, too, enjoyed how you presented the exchange through the window.

  10. Carol Clark


    She wakes at 5 AM without the beeping of the alarm, because
    she went to bed at a reasonable time. Around 10:30 PM. She’s ready to go, primed to
    write, but first things first she must head down to the kitchen to make
    coffee. And of course, feed kitty.

    Once her coffee is ready with cream she heads upstairs to her pristine office. There are no stray papers laying around, just folders with WIPs. All books are shelved. The sun is
    not up yet, and she can already feel the fresh joy of turning on her
    desktop. But before she flips the switch, she does some meditative breathing, and is confident she will have (3) good hours of writing this morning.

    When ready, she switches the machine on. It beckons her to open Outlook and read
    e-mail, but she holds off. She readily resists the temptation, instead opening both Word and Scrivener. It is still dark out, and her window is open from the night before. As she continues on her story project from yesterday, she hears the first bird. The very first one. And like her words, his call his followed by
    one other, then another. Soon the birds
    are rejoicing that it is morning, and their conversation continues in a worthy dialogue.

    The woman writes for an hour, without tugging at her chest or coughing. The words flow
    freely. She goes downstairs to make a fresh cup of coffee, and heads out to the deck with kitty. One must take in Nature freely and accept all one is given. After 15 minutes, she heads back upstairs and writes for one-half hour. It is only then that she opens email, and since her messages are sorted by subject she reads only the necessary ones. No straying off into others’ newsletters, reading of all their successes. 20 minutes of email maintenance, then it’s back to her story.

    She revels in creating her setting and developing her protagonist. Today she will work on the middle of her story, and work for one more hour. By 11AM, she has completed almost 3 hours of writing, and she is highly pleased with her work and herself. The woman treats herself with a lunch at her favorite Vietnamese restaurant, then returns home for a nap. She listens to classical music, “Christmas De-stress” even though it’s September.
    Why not? When she awakes, it will be time to read.

    Reading and writing are the mainstays of her life, and she gives them all the
    time and attention they deserve. She is submitting a story a week, and works on her poetry, too. Her husband sees a happier, more satisfied wife, and the months get even
    better as acceptances start appearing in her Inbox. Life is good.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      OMG! This is the write IIIIIII want to be! This inspired and encouraged me, Carol. Thanks for sharing the sage of the perfect writer!

    • Carol Clark

      I’m glad you liked it, Marcy. Now we both have something to aspire to! Thanks for your comments, this is the first time I’ve posted here, and ironically your last. Good luck and Best wishes. 🙂

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      That is poetic, Carol. Your first time and my last (though I’ll still be around). TWP is a very welcoming community. You’re going to like it.

    • Susan W A

      The peace of knowing you’re worth making the time, space and progress you deserve; creating an environment in which you and your words can thrive; delighting in and celebrating with the simple pleasures of life. Love the details.

      Great that you posted for the first time. You’ll love this community. So much to learn through the variety of styles and perspectives that come together.

      [funny… my practice for this prompt (not posted yet) starts out very similar to yours.]

    • Carol Clark

      Thank you for your comments, Susan. I will look for your post!

    • Danét

      What a wonderful, peaceful and inspiring invitation your story is. I love the importance of balance and peace with the focused commitment to her craft and giving expression to the artist within which you have so beautifully offered here. Thank you

    • Carol Clark

      Thanks so much, Danet. I’m glad you found it inspiring. This is what I hope and dream for myself, and for other writers.

  11. Claudia

    Thank you for your post above, Marcy. You’ll be missed.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Thank you, Claudia. I feel the same way!

  12. Anna

    Josh was stuck. Really stuck. Every day at 5:00 a.m. his
    alarm went off. He made his bed, started the coffee and showered. Then came the
    problem. Coffee in hand he sat down and stared at the computer screen. Words
    wouldn’t come. Day after day.

    His first novel had done well, but sales were
    tapering off. He knew he had to recreate it, come up with another idea, or a
    sequel, or something … but … he was stuck.

    Oh .. he had ideas, plenty of them. The problem was, he was
    afraid. Success out of the chute with his first novel, created in between
    classes and on holidays during his sophomore year of (Engineering!) school. He’d
    finished school, but he’d never used his degree for anything. His book, after a
    slow start, had taken off. Calling himself a writer, he’d used to royalties to
    purchase a small house and set up a home office. After several false starts and
    misshapen, convoluted plotlines he was forced to admit it. He was stuck. Really

    Something had to give …

    • B. Gladstone

      Good Start Anna! Very realistic. Don’t know if you plan to work further on it but if so, you need to make a correction on the following sentence, “Calling himself a writer, he’d used THE royalties to purchase…”

    • Anna

      thanks! I guess, in a way, I’m Josh without the success. I’m pretty good at beginnings, but I’m not a good finisher … so … we’ll see

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Your story (which I totally dug) brings up an interesting, but not often discussed point. The curse of success. You illustrated this beautifully with Josh, and I hope he gets himself unstuck.

      Well done.

    • Anna


    • George McNeese

      I agree with Marcy. I think as writers, we get so hung up on instant success that we forget how long it took to reach that point, in the midst of everything going on around them. That is something rarely talked about. People automatically assume writers have all this free time. We have to make free time, and make the best use of it.

    • Susan W A

      ooohhh… stuck, really stuck. Lots of ideas but no way to put those out into the world. Imagine all the reasons for getting stuck, and here’s one more that Josh is experiencing. Love that Josh was an Engineering (!) student when he wrote his first novel. I can imagine some of the internal conflict between writer and engineer, especially since he has called himself a writer.

    • Kenneth M. Harris

      This was and is still me as well. I have not been published and I feel as though that I cannot consider myself a writer until I have been published. My degree is in fiction writing, but I am employed in a company to pay the bills, etc., The job is and has been wonderful for me for the last 25 years. Writing practice is my savior to really get back writing. It’s almost like starting over again. THanks so much for this piece of writing. Getting back to your great piece. There are so many of us who are JOSH. Thanks so very much. KEN

  13. B. Gladstone

    Traffic was a standstill on highway 826 and the much needed rain is about to come down. Dina’s thirty minute drive back home has now turned to fifty and she was not even half way near her exit. She reached across with her right arm to her purse on the passenger seat and pulled out a notebook and fished for a pen in the glove compartment. She had a flash back of when she was eight years old, when she was looking out her bedroom window and seeing in wonder the rain drops run down the glass and wondering when mom was coming back. Dina’s phone rang and it was her son. “Hi Diego! Is everything ok?”

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Nice job! This was short, but packed A LOT in there. 1) I’ve made Dina’s wretched drive and could identify with that. 2. I felt her longing, and 3). I love how you connected the past to the present. Totally cool. Thanks.

    • Susan W A

      This really brought me into Dina’s situation and kept me wondering what was going to happen. The reference to her experience as an eight year old shared a complexity of her backstory in just one sentence. I enjoyed this.
      One suggestion would be to change the two verbs at the beginning to past tense (“… much needed rain was…” and “drive back home had…”)

    • Danét

      Great peice. I was there with Dina, immediately, feeling into being patient with the ‘wait’… I’m going to take her lead and start carrying a notebook and pencil in my purse. Thanks

    • Susan W A


  14. Anna Teodoro-Suanco

    I will miss you, Marcy! Wish you lots of energy and all good things with your new book.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      I appreciate that, Anna. Good luck with your writing, as well!

  15. Amber

    Thanks for all your tips Marcy! They are always helpful and supportive. Best wishes to you and your new book!

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      I’m so glad you feel that way, Amber. Thank you. Good luck on your writing journey, too.

  16. JD

    Rhoda shifted in her chair and stared through the window. There’s a world happening out there, yet here I sit. Waiting. For what?

    “How’s it going, honey? Making much progress?”

    George Parker had been Rhoda’s TA in second year literature—a budding writer—for some thirty years now. Sometimes buds just never flower.

    “Ideas, George, full of ‘em”.

    “That’s my girl.”

    She turned to watch him at the stove. Why had she married him? Seemed like a good idea at the time, something to inspire the author within. But it turned out that living with a writer who never got anywhere did not inspire success in her own efforts.

    George believed in outlining. He would outline the plot, scenes, character development and deeply described locales. He would explore the inner workings of even minor characters and create richly conflicted backstories. His writing was voluminous. But, the work never got past its logical frame. He never found the spark to inject life into a story.

    Rhoda watched him grabbing things out of the fridge. She smiled. George was really a perfect house husband. He cooked, he cleaned, he sang while mopping the floors. Outside, he tended raised beds with an attention that he otherwise reserved for plotting. But where the garden rewarded his effort with copious amounts of produce, George’s laptop sucked his words into a void, never to be shaped into anything resembling the novel he so desperately wanted to finish.

    She squinted as the last rays of sunshine flooded the kitchen. It was a beautiful, golden light. What was mundane moments before had become magical, illuminated as if to say, now, in this fraction of time, is your chance—look at the world you inhabit—anything is possible. She glanced again at George. Oblivious. Slicing bread.

    Looking around the room, Rhoda felt elated. The butcher block seemed made of amber. Stars were caught in the cut crystal decanter. Sunlight flooded into the pantry as if to coat the white woodwork with fresh cream. She marvelled at the perfection of breadcrumbs picked out in the light—and then she saw the laptop, its case covered in a thin layer of fine dust caught by the dying rays.

    The sun fell behind the Harbinger’s place across the way and the kitchen was suddenly dark. George paused to flick the switch and continued preparing a cheese tray.

    “It’s been a long day, Rhoda. We deserve a treat. We’ve been working so hard. Writing can’t be easy for everybody!”

    He pour them both a glass of wine. After a moment, she lifted her glass to him and they clinked.

    “No. I guess not.”

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      J.D. – what’s so terrific about your story are the details. So many beautiful, heartbreaking details. And, you make two excellent points: just because George plots and plans and it so meticulous, doesn’t mean he gets anywhere with his writing. Just because Rhoda married someone with so much potential, doesn’t mean that inspiration rubs off on her. Wonderful! Thanks so much!

    • JD

      And thank you, Marcy! Your feedback is actually the first I think I have received–I’m stuck in the realm of too many ideas and a sense of urgency about putting them down in a form that differs from my academic and business writing–I’m somewhere between George and Rhoda. Your very kind words are inspiration. All the best in your own next steps! JD

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      My pleasure, JD. Creative writing is quite different than academia and business writing, but keep at it. You’re talented and will get the hang of it if you continue to practice.

    • TBL

      I clearly felt the twist and turns of Rhoda’s thoughts in this piece. The description was spot-on.

    • JD

      Thank you so much!

    • Susan W A

      Wow, I love this. Your comment to Marcy about delving into a writing form that’s different from your academic and business writing surprised me. (That’s more of my writing background, as well.) Your piece is lush, with exquisite details. I’ll mention a few, but more than just these swept me along with Rhonda’s emotions. Some caught my emotions for the idea and some for the phrasing.

      -“There’s a world happening out there, yet here I sit. Waiting. For what?”
      -“He never found the spark to inject life into a story”
      -“George’s laptop sucked his words into a void”
      -“What was mundane moments before had become magical, illuminated as if to say, now, in this fraction of time, is your chance—look at the world you inhabit—anything is possible.”
      -“as if to coat the white woodwork with fresh cream.”
      -” the perfection of breadcrumbs picked out in the light”

      I could have chosen any number of other sentences to highlight.
      Well done.

    • JD

      Thank you so much, Susan, sorry not to acknowledge such detailed feedback sooner! Much appreciated 😉 JD

    • Danét

      This is wonderful and totally relatable. I love the movement in Rhoda’s perspective from looking through analytical eyes to softening into fresh, present moment, awakening eyes.

    • JD

      Much appreciated – the feedback I am getting is truly inspiring me – thx!

  17. Danie Botha

    Thank you for the reminder(s): So, go WRITE!
    It definitely works–write something every single day.
    And, as you reiterated–don’t write “alone.” We need fellow writers. Well, for one thing, not only to write every day, but to write better. To grow and improve.
    Success with the future endeavours!

    • Susan W A

      “write something every single day” How many times have we heard that? And yet some of us don’t.
      What is your daily writing practice like?

    • LilianGardner

      Susan, this is easy but why do many of us consider it difficult? Mine, I admit, is more often an excuse. for not writing at least a paragraph daily. I’ll have to get someone to kick me each time I procrastinate.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      I really appreciate that, Danie. Write + connect with others. 🙂

  18. Coach Brown

    Great advice. Until the words flow through the fingers of a writer thoughts and ideas remain bottled up dreams and concepts. Write…let your thoughts and ideas flow onto paper to be shared with others. That’s what makes one a writer… The more you write, the better you become at the “art of writing.”

    • Susan W A

      flow … flow … yes, I can see your words swirling down onto the page, ready “to be shared with others” ! Isn’t that grand? … “to be shared with others” !

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Oooooh, LOVE this coach, “Until the words flow through the fingers of a writer thoughts and ideas remain bottled up dreams and concepts.”

      Bottled-up dreams and concepts. Very powerful image. Thanks!

  19. Danét

    The changes I am making to improve my writing are: 1. Write immediately after morning meditation… no matter what. No matter what! 2. Join this writing community and share my writing. 3. Follow the suggestions and directions so generously given here. 4. Be visible as a writer – share what I write and take all feedback as coaching/coaxing my creative voice to grow and expand and join with other voices.
    Participate in the challenges offered. Do my best.

    • Susan W A

      … and c e l e b r a t e
      Sounds, awesome to me, Danet.

    • Danét

      Thanks, Susan. It’s feels wonderful to here your encouragement. And to celebrate, I wrote and posted my peice about the writer in the comments below. Thanks again.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Good plan, Danet. Write…do your best. I would add enjoy yourself as you learn and grow. Good luck! 🙂

  20. George McNeese

    Paul stammered into his house, laying his briefcase along the doorway. He dragged himself into the kitchen, undressing himself, leaving only his paint-stained t-shirt and plaid boxer briefs. His easel stood with a torn sheet hanging. He gazed upon the blots and streaks of lilac and electric blue, totally ready to shred it like his other pieces. He reached for it, but stopped midway. Rather, he reached for a fat paintbrush, the bristles submersed in dirty water. Paul dipped the brush in a red-violet mix and flung it wildly across the board. He dipped his brush again, and smeared the blots into lines and curves. He spiked the brush into the dirty water, then grabbed a pencil-thin brush from the easel. He tapped it into black paint sitting in the cap from a glass jar. He drew lines going down an orange oval he painted before. He drew ten lines from the top of the oval to the bottom.

    • Susan W A

      Captured my senses … visual, the intensity of emotions, tactile

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Wow, George. To me, this is a visual version of writer’s the Ugly Middle. You’ve got something on there, but feel it’s all wrong, so you trash it to start over. I’m glad this painter did not do that. Great work. Thanks.

  21. Susan W A


    Thanks for all your contributions to this community, and for sharing more on your site. Best of luck to you!

    I started a practice for your prompt, in several ways, but didn’t finish any. Nonetheless … I’ll put my words out into the world in the small packets they’re in right now.

    By the way [thanks, Pamela Hodges], I did some fun doodling, which I doodle-titled “doodle scadoodle” and “doodle-doobie-doo” while I was thinking about these pieces. One of my doodles is a elongated “JOY” with a smiley face for the ‘O” and I developed a cool alphabet font.

    Here are my snippets:

    #1. That lively, colorful notebook happened upon in the stationery aisle of the pharmacy is just perfect. 5″x7″ is an interesting size; ideal for carrying around and big enough so the words don’t get squashed up. This notebook has a nifty inside front pocket to stash some special little note and a cool sparkly black elastic to hold firm the covers so the pages don’t get crumpled.

    #2. Up with dawn and the early birds, quite literally. The alarm clock is set, but never a need to wait. The nudge of the sun’s faintest light freshens my mind and invites me to begin the day. The cool, smooth travertine supports my path to the brew button, the finely ground beans offering an olfactory celebration.

    write write write, writer
    joy joy joy, delighter
    letter upon letter follows letter
    pen glides, color rides the shape of the words
    words words word provider
    ideas swirl, toes curl, smile unfurls
    the satisfaction of images sensed, deeply transformed into the established lines and rounds of words on the page.
    words freely flowing, volunteering to shout and whisper and hint at the message so the reader can sense and ponder.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      Hi Susan,

      I enjoyed all your snippets, but #3 was by far my favorite. I FELT it….the joy, the delight, smiles unfurling. The format was cool, too. There was a lot of creativity packed into it. Thanks.

    • Susan W A

      THANKS, Marcy! I enjoy writing in that style, playing with words and images.

  22. Danét

    Hi guys. I just started the 14 prompts workbook. I am so grateful to have a place to share my writing and get feedback. Thank you. If there is a different place on the site that I am specifically supposed to post for each prompt, I wasn’t able to locate it myself. So, if that is so, I would love some direction. Thank you. Meanwhile, I’m going to risk it an post it here. Here is my writting for the first prompt “Feeling Out of Place”

    Outta Place

    Within me a little lion roared, “Be brave, Danét. Take an adventure in that shiny new car of yours. So off I went, king in a foreign jungle of highway.
    But right now, I was feeling more like the cowardly lion in Oz. As I’d headed down 95, I felt like an eagle, trusting the current of Beatle tunes to carry me to the undetermined destination. Funny how quickly the tide can turn.
    It began with a few drops on the windshield, but quickly turned to massive down-pouring rain. That adventurous spirit took flight, while I tensed up. The lion turned to a kitten. I was alone. My only companion, my brand new “Hot Lava” Scion IQ; the intelligent little car. This was my first road trip by myself. Semi-trucks commanded the freeway, big looming walls closing in on my tiny cocoon, blocking me between them, forcing my compliance. Huge sheets of rain slid from the roofs of my captors. I eeked along. My little red car, a tiny speck of blood floating in a crevice of the large moving canyon, while the heavens filled the riverbed, ignoring such a tiny speck.
    Breathe, Danét.
    Squinting through the darkened blurred windows to make my way had amplified the enclosure. Apprehensive of a sudden move from either side to change lanes, I kept my eyes straight ahead. And to further squish me into ant form, my mind began erecting fences of fear, for God’s sake “Could they see me?” “What if my little car starts floating?”
    Breathe, Danét.
    “Swish, thump, thump, swish …the windshield wipers a metronome pacing my heartbeat, my vision clearing with the steady breathing ….
    Ah, here I am… Floating along with my protectors by my side, and the sun braking through at last on the horizon.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      What a fun adventure in your new car. I felt the rain, the fear and the exploring down Highway 95. Thanks for sharing.

    • Danét

      Thank you for your comments, Marcy. It’s a little scary to be visible in the raw state of discovery through spontaneously responding to these prompts and letting the writer in me show her face. So encouragement like this sure feels yummy. I’m having a ball.

    • Marcy Mason McKay

      It IS scary to be visible because at some point, you WILL get criticized or rejected, but that TRULY is part of the process.

      However, what’s worse than being visible and risking that vulnerability is to remaining invisible and not honoring your desire to write.

  23. Jason


    It’s almost one month into his fall semester and Jayson has failed to recognized his shortcomings before rising to a needed standard. The past two years, Jayson has passed through his classes like strolling in the park near his apartment home. Outsider perspective on Jay can be seen as if the boy is intellectually resilient for acquiring knowledge or he was simply not challenged by his education to commit effort.

    As you are reading this, he is piecing together his puzzle of ACTION. What is the puzzle of ACTION, you may ask? It’s the plan. The hail-Mary pass so the team gets the winninf touch down. The plan is an adrenaline fueled mother rescuing her trapped baby from a flipped car.

    The original game plan was to give up, quit classes, and sign up to become a truck driver. Jayson’s insecurities had taken over and led his thoughts. Before he made any sudden emotional decision based off fear, he called his girlfriend. She convinced him, being the logical thinker in the relationship, his actions and past antics have led to this. He was out of practice and lost high momentum. “It’s not the end of the world” She said confidently knowing her lover was rushing through solutions for his insecure problem.

    So starting immediately Jayson analyzed his weak points. This all related to the boy failing to put work in. Just hard work. Difficult, strenuous work was needed. The first shortcoming is the skill of writing. He proposed the idea to himself of not having written a proper thesis and backing up the argument with body paragraphs in years.

    He googled methods for beginners to write and found TWP (The Writing Practice).

    Now he will press submit, perhaps in hope the blurb written for his rusty abilities will provide enough confidence in writing future papers.

  24. Beth Keller

    This is my first try at sharing.
    Mary was a hesitant writer; unsure she had anything new to offer the world. Her blog seemed repetitive and her enthusiasm waned every time she sat down to write lately. She had received little feedback about her blog recently. At the beginning she couldn’t wait to steal away to let others into her world; eager to enlighten anyone who would listen to her knowledge, thoughts, and opinions. She still loved gardening and wasn’t convinced her writing was important to anyone.
    As she sat ready to login and make a final entry, Mary had a feeling of loss. What good is my knowledge if it dies inside me. No, she couldn’t stop writing; she had to continue her blog. “At least I’m putting the words into the universe,” Mary said aloud.

  25. Elizabeth

    the quit organizing the office hit home. Will try to put blinders on to write more.



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