17 January 2009

Get Your Writing Juices Going

We all need help with writing ideas on occasion. I recently received a great tip from About.com’s Fiction Writing blog. It is called Winter Counts Creative Writing Exercise and comes from Alan Ziegler's The Writing Workshop Note Book.

The exercise requires you to divide your life into segments of five years and then write a few sentences about an event that occurred during the winter for each segment. For more details about the exercise and about Alan Ziegler, check out the blog at About.com.

Here are my Winter Counts. (Yes, I realize that you get a rough estimation of my age from this.) Feel free to share a few of yours! And here is a little tip: If you find yourself stuck, start with the end and work your way back. The key is to start writing.

0-5 years
I remember I had a yellow snow suit. My sister was born, and I received a blue dollhouse for Christmas.

5-10 years
My sister and I pulled the best prank on my parents. My mom made life-size dolls for us one Christmas. One day while my parents were lounging on the couch watching television, I dressed my sister in the doll’s clothes and put her hair in pigtails like the doll. Then I ran to my parents yelling that the dolls had come to life. My sister wobbled into the room like she was a scarecrow. My parents, seeing her out of the corner of their eye, jumped off of the couch yelling. We still laugh over this one.

10-15 years
We lived in an apartment with a sunken driveway that would get terrible snowdrifts. My sister and I loved to dig tunnels and “snow dens.” The world felt a million miles away within the snow. All sounds are muffled and the light has a bluish tint.

15-20 years
I unintentionally spun my car 540° two different times. The first time a guardrail between the road and Portage Lakes stopped me. The second time was at an intersection. I spun, found myself in the opposite lane, so I just kept going.

20-25 years
I enjoyed building miniature snowmen on my boyfriend’s car. At the time I was living in an apartment with him. I went to school during the mornings and worked until 8:00 pm. He worked from 11:00 pm to 7:00 am, so we did not see each other much. To let him know I was thinking of him, I built the snowmen when I got home from work.

25-30 years
My daughter had RSV for her first Christmas. She vomited blue, which is worse than pea soup. I did indeed think she was possessed until I remembered that she was drinking blue sports drink since milk made her cough. My mom will always remember that telling of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas!

30-35 years
I saw thirty inches of snow. The snow fell in one day on York, Pennsylvania. The city was shut down for two days while plow trucks were called in from other cities to help dig us out. You think you can imagine thirty inches of snow until you actually see it. You then realize that your imagination wasn’t even close.


  1. Congratulations on your new blog. I love reading book reviews -- and your are quite informative and insightful.

    I turn 70 next month, and this list of 1000 books is daunting. Do you realize that if you find time to 10 a year, you'll need 100 years to get through the list! Guess I'd better get started.

    By the way, you sure have a lot of snow in your life.

  2. Thanks, Tom! I really appreciate the encouragement. I hope you stop by often.

    Ohio has been buried in snow this January, so maybe that is why so many of my winter thoughts have to do with snow.