How To

I dream up some topic–a word, a phrase, anything will do. I announce the topic and write my own beginning on the topic. I invite you to use the comments to do the same.

Use the principles of writing practice according to Natalie Goldberg to write the first 50 words on the assigned topic. The principles of writing practice involve just writing without judgment or internal editing. Write anything, just write. Write fiction, memories, poems, thoughts, reflections, whatever the topic brings forth for you–just write it.

A principle of writing practice is that you don’t comment on other people’s writing – either praise or criticism. If you are free to just write, whatever comes out is whatever comes out. Positive or negative judgements are not part of the process.

Please, if you get started on something and it’s going well, finish it on your own. Don’t put more than the first 50 to 100 words here. If you’re a blogger, and you finish a piece that you started here from one of my prompts, please leave the link to your blog so we can all follow to the end.

It is so much fun to read all the different things that writers come up with in response to a writing topic.

Thanks for writing!

24 Responses to How To

  1. Cyberray says:

    thanks for your interesting posts

  2. Jen says:

    Can we only post for a topic on that same day like some of the other collaborative blog projects out there, or may we submit our writing at later dates than the posts?

  3. first50 says:

    You can look around and find any topic prompt that suits your fancy at any time. I don’t always post a new topic every day, but there are plenty of old prompts to stimulate your creativity. Please feel free to comment on any of the topics here.

    • Diana Boyan says:

      About wind…My husband is a pilot and he hates the wind. Why you ask, because it’s caused many a plane to crash. It’s called wind shear, and turbulence is caused by the wind. God put things on earth for you to beware of, the wind is one of them.

  4. Edna says:

    I love this! What a fun challenge and such a good idea. I sent your link to my son who is also a writer. He and I have just finished our first books. Mine is now in the editing stage … his already has the distinction of some rejections.


  5. first50 says:

    Congratulations on your book and your blog! I’ll be dropping in to see you there.

  6. Claudia says:

    Virginia, are you at SXSWi?? Look for me, if you are. Were you at the Over 50 panel?

    Claudia from Fried Okra Productions

  7. Robert says:

    I do not consider myself much of s writer, so only wish to show my appreciation to those of you who are, You bring joy into others lives and that seems to be what the world needs now.

    • Alice, you would be surprised at what you can put down on paper. I have published 18 novels. When I am stuck for a beginning but have the body and ending in mind, I will often write ‘Once Upon a Time” and that gets me started. Later I go back and edit that out and keyboard in a real beginning. Fred

      • Alexa Page says:

        I love the “Once Upon A Time” series on ABC. I don’t know if its the fact that our favorite fairy tales are retold for adults with crazy twist, or if its because the evil witch Regina be dressing her TAIL off! That show really inspires me every time!

  8. Alice says:

    A wonderful idea you have here. I’ll keep it in mind for more practice.

  9. mary winfield says:

    No time. No space. Einstein said that- and I use that to comfort myself these days, as esoteric as it sounds. It assures me that just because I cannot see it yet- in reality, it exists nevertheless- around some corner, waiting to be experienced in real time, in my then-current space. Good things- conjured from imaginings in this present…all that anyone really has.
    The ego of ‘me’ flouders painfully these days, when I can no longer ‘support a starving child’ for $5.00 a week, or ‘donate to help in the fight for organic food’ or ‘buy a week’s meals for a homeless person’. I used to feel good about doing those things. Now I leave them to the Universe, abandon them to the care of others- those who have made better choices, planned more wisely, or are now coming into their best-dreamed ‘present’.

  10. Carla Hurst-Chandler Greencastle, Indiana says:

    Just found your website…wonderful way to limber up before writing…Thanks :)


  11. rebecca says:

    Crystals hanging on the porch were spreading rainbows on the walls of the bedroom. It past seven AM. I try to get the feel of the day before getting out of bed.. I couldn’t get the feel. I dyed my hair red that day, antidepressent red I call it.

  12. Dixie Dickson says:

    Come in this house! Look at you, you’ve got grandma beads!
    Grandma beads? Where?
    There-under your chin, on your neck. You’re so dirty you got “grandma beads”!
    Wow, how’d I do that?

    Hot sweaty days of summer. All day long in a sandbox building a whole city. Twigs for trees, swimming pools made from tupperware bowls, a church with a steeple. A city I got lost in for hours And, I got “grandma beads”!

  13. Terry says:

    Just came here to get inspired again. Just finished writing a memoir about life with my husband who died July 21, 2012. I finished this memoir one year after that heart breaking event. Now it’s being printed so that I can gift our immediate family with a copy.
    I have finally gotten the energy to start writing again. Thanks for the push to start again.

  14. Edwin Jeter says:

    How to, the endeavor learners actively engage most of the time is stimulating. Without it there would not be many worth while challenges, and the knowledge seeker’s enthusiasm would relent. It is significant in many areas of life to determine how to do things better. Enhancement productively answers how to.

  15. Patty Christopher says:

    This is my first interaction with this website and I find it very interesting. I wrote 50 words on the prompt “The Bills,” and I’ll do more. That was fun. Here’s my 50 words:

    It was less complicated back then. We didn’t know what would become necessities. We didn’t realize that years later we would be paying lots of money for a cell phone, a microwave, or a computer. We had more left over at the end of the month for saving… or squandering.

  16. Judy Holzwart says:

    The key here is brevity..we must get used to being able to write the suggested 50-100 words and make a point, thus using our words wisely, and “turning a phrase” while challenging, becomes art.

    • first50 says:

      @Judy Holzwart. Actually, Judy, I encourage you to take the idea you begin here and continue to work on it elsewhere – perhaps your own blog or your journal or your writing group. I only want the “first” of your story, not all of your story.

  17. I have a blog on writing I would like to share: It’s about my writing adventures as well as others. Moderated comments.

  18. Mabel Grimes says:

    Hi! I love this idea, and have been following since I found your blog. I recently wrote a short story based on your prompt, “hot,” but realized as I went to post it in a comment here this morning that the subject of “hot” doesn’t come up in the first fifty words of the story. Is it still permissible to post? I’d link to the rest of the story, so the connection would show up there. Thanks for you response, and for running this sweet blog.

  19. says:

    Fern. Delicate to view. Hidden robust in the roots. Tolerance of placement, happiest in filtered shade. Elimination only reenergizes the vigor and tenacity. Fronds shape artistically. Understated beauty, frames another bloom with selfless purpose. Invites the viewer to drink in its tranquility, always in abundance. Quiet freshness in a cool location, respite in waiting.

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