Writing 101: It Helps to Read the Directions

Writing 101 June 2014 ClassSilly me, the last post I wrote, which I thought was for the Writing 101 challenge, turns out to be based on a prompt posted not only yesterday (doh!), but one that was not even part of the Writing 101 challenge at all.

Boy oh boy, I need to read directions more carefully. You’d think I’d be better at it since I used to write directions for living.

The writing prompt I was supposed to be responding to is:

Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

[The clock starts NOW!}

So I’m going to free write this blog and see what happens. Free writing for me might be a little scary (for you, the reader), because my mind goes all over the place at the drop of a dime. Maybe that’s why I became a writer, because I’m always thinking, and sometimes it can be pretty bizarre stuff.

Right now, I’m thinking what a dolt I was for not noticing that the instructions for Writing 101 said the prompt would be posted at 10am. That should have been my first clue that the prompt I was looking at around 7am wasn’t the right one. But my day started at 6am and I was so excited to start the challenge, I wanted to get it done before my regular writing session (you know, working on “the book,” or in this case “the novella” that I’m giving to my newsletter subscribers in July.)

The other thing I’m thinking about is lunch, because I just finished a writing session (where I finished the novella. Yay!) and now I’m hungry. Does anyone else get munchy while writing? I’m wondering if it’s a subtle form of procrastination that my mind is constantly craving something to eat while I’m writing, so I’m always getting up to get a snack. 😀

Years ago I used to eat M&M’s and drink Perrier while sitting at my desk writing. It felt like part of my “routine.” Like I’d convinced myself I needed to have a handful of chocolate nearby in order to write. Thankfully, (for my waistline, not to mention my lipid panels), the need for M&Ms has gone away, but I still like snacks while I write.

These days I try to reach for healthier ones like almonds, or sunflower seeds, maybe even a bowl of popcorn. Of course that means there I am, supposed to be writing, and instead I’m firing up the popcorn popper to make a bowl. 😀 (Just as a side note, I don’t like microwave popcorn. I prefer the old fashioned kind–kernels cooked on a thin layer of oil in a plastic contraption that doubles as the bowl. Just like Mom used to make.)

I do add a little salt (not much — my husband says I put none, but he’s wrong, there is some), but I try to stay away from butter. I’m trying to be good. 😀

So, then me and my ginormous bowl of popcorn (because it’s just me here to eat it all while I’m writing), go sit at the computer and write. Then of course I need to get up for a drink, because popcorn is dry.

Usually I drink tea. I love green tea and I probably refill my mug about three times during a writing session. I also get up to reheat the tea a lot, because even in the summer I like my tea hot. Something about holding the warm mug in my hands speaks to me, I can’t explain it. It just does.

I like black tea, too, and some flavored teas (like the mints or that orange spice one from Bigelow called Constant Comment — no idea what that means. The tea is commenting? I’m commenting about the tea? Who knows, but it tastes great.)

So, was there a point to this little deviation into a discussion about snacks? No probably not. Just doing what the prompt says and letting my mind go where it wants.

Oh yeah, I was thinking about lunch. Lunch today is going to be left over pizza from the weekend (yum!). I know, I talk about eating healthy and now there’s pizza for lunch. Well, you’re allowed to splurge every now and then. My pizza does have broccoli on it, so it’s sort of on the healthier side.  At least there’s a vegetable in it other than tomato sauce.

You know, twenty minutes feels longer when you have a timer going, doesn’t it?  I just checked, I still have five minutes to go.

What now? We’ve covered lunch, my weird writing habits involving food, and the fact that I wrote “THE END” on my new project today. That makes me very happy, BTW. I love when I finish the first draft because I find that the hardest thing to do. I love revision. Revision is so much easier because the words are already there. You just need to massage them a little. It’s that blank page that intimidates me all the time.

So, I’m looking forward to the revisions. That’ll be my writing task for the rest of this week. I’m also teaching a class over at LRWA, so that’ll keep me busy as well.

It’s a really nice day outside today, so I may go outside and read. I just started a new book on my Kindle last night. “The Atlantis World.” It’s the third book in a futuristic thriller series by author A.G. Riddle and it’s really good. If you haven’t heard of it, definitely check it out. Very creative premise that keeps you guessing until the end.

Two minutes to go…

When I’m outside I’ll probably water the plants. I grow vegetables in growboxes on the porch (so the bunnies and deer don’t get them) and I also grow flowers from seed for putting into the flower beds along the walk. Growing from seed can be time consuming, but with all the warnings about pesticides hurting the bees and everything, growing from seed at least you know your flowers aren’t dangerous to them.

I’m growing sunflowers and zinnia mostly. The bees really love them. The birds, too!


There’s the timer. That means time to wrap this up, and time for that lunch I was nattering on about. Mmmmm, pizza!

Until next time (which I guess in this challenge would be tomorrow), enjoy the rest of your day, and thank you for reading this far. You’re very kind. 😀 Hopefully tomorrow I will read the correct prompt and not have to do two posts on one day.


  • i got here from writing 101, and i have to say that your free writing is great (but what else should I expect from a proper writer ;3)!! slightly hilarious and extremely interesting at the same time – i loved it!!


  • 🙂 I liked it. This shared a lot about you that you probably don’t share and lets people relate. Very nice. I’m doing the 101 as well. Hope you don’t mind a Follower.
    Much Respect


    • Thanks! I wasn’t sure what to write about (that’s why I’m doing the challenge, to get better at blogging), but it was fun to just let the thoughts go wherever they wanted.


  • Free writing in general is easy for me since I keep a journal and it’s how I like to start my writing before I get to the fiction. Though sometimes I go overboard and just keep free writing and run out of time for the fiction. I guess that’s my own way of procrastinating — maybe I should set a timer 🙂

    This little tidbit caught my attention: “Revision is so much easier because the words are already there. You just need to massage them a little. It’s that blank page that intimidates me all the time.”

    Oh I am so the opposite! I LOVE the blank page, so much promise and potential. I find it inviting. It calls me to write. But revisions? Um, not so much. I can revise if it’s short, i.e.: poem, short story, but I’m having a hell of a time revising my WIP of over 100,000 words (why did I write so much?) I’m at the giving-up point and have started writing something new. Hopefully I’ll get back to the revision process on the WIP#1.

    Well, enough about me … good luck with tomorrow’s Writing 101 and don’t forget to read the instructions! 😉


    • The daily journal is a great idea. I sometimes free write journal entries from my character’s point of view when I’m still trying to figure them out. That works great.


  • I wouldn’t call it a ‘daily’ journal, more like a few times a week journal 🙂 By the way, that is a great idea and I’ll have to remember to try that with my characters!