Break Up the Routine, Write Something New

Here we are at the end of another year. As usual, we wonder, where did the time go?

Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent / Foter / CC BY-SA
It is typically a time to reflect on our successes and get ready for a new year with fresh goals.

Before you start scheduling for 2015, I would like to throw an idea at you that will help break up the monotony that comes with routine. It could be a fun idea to spark creativity and show you there is more in you than you thought.

I'm finishing up a free online course 
through the University of Iowa, "How to Write Fiction". Even though I rarely write fiction, I thought it was worth my time to try something new. I learned to be challenged and stretched in areas that were not familiar - kind of like snorkeling or yoga for the first time. 

One lesson was on constraints and styles. The assignment was to write a scene of 10 sentences and include a numeral in each sentence (and continuing with patterns of 20, 30 sentences if desired). Or, write a scene with sentences containing the same number of words.

I chose the latter. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed doing this assignment! 

It happened that day I was aware of how it looks when colorful, autumn days suddenly shift to cold, blustery weather. It ended up having a poetic feel and totally out of my writing style.

Kathleen Moulton

Brown, shrunken mums in containers. Soggy jack-o-lanterns with misshapen faces.

Skeletal remains lost their splendor. Faded jewels of red and gold.

The man tries to collect. Let the wind take them!

Queen Anne shivers and shrivels. Canada goose watches the sky.

Pull back the royal curtain. See the river once hidden?

Happy dogs walk with women. Knitted hats and mismatched scarves.

The sun has a secret. It is cloaked in mystery.

Drops of rain turn white. Mums are hideous remnants lost.

And jack-o-lanterns seem to cry. The man’s leaves are gone.


Try something new this year. Let yourself get side-tracked just a bit. You will find there is more inside of you than you thought. If it doesn't develop further, the process will definitely clear out the cobwebs!

Have you had an experience similar to this? When you were pleasantly surprised with something you wrote?

After raising and homeschooling her 8 children and teaching art classes for 10 years, Kathy has found time to pursue freelance writing. She enjoys writing magazine articles and more recently had her story, "One of a Kind", published in The Kids' ArkYou can find her passion to bring encouragement and hope to people of all ages at When It Hurts


widdershins said...

This year I wrote more short stories, all on seemingly disparate topics. The funny thing was, they all fitted into the same 'universe' and are now the basis of a new series! Life's funny that way. :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Kathleen, great poem! I'm hoping to get sidetracked with my fiction writing. Lately, all I write about is content writing and marketing.

I once challenged my writing by eliminating the word 'was' from a story. Interesting exercise. I also took a drawing class and loved it. Learning new things and challenging yourself is a great way to move forward.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Kathleen, your post is inspiring, thank you for your great ideas. I will try them in the coming months.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

A warning here! When you start something new--like a new genre--be sure to read up on it.You might be surprised at how dissimilar the basics for writing it are from what you are used to doing!
And, yes. Thanks for the inspiration! (-:
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Multi Award-Winning Author of the HowToDoItFrugally series for writers including the second editions of the Frugal Book Promoter ( and The Frugal Editor ( )The latter is e-book only.for the time being.

Melinda Brasher said...

I'm not a poet, but nature brings poetry out of me too. :) When I returned to the Czech Republic the third time, I was sitting on the train watching the beautiful landscape roll past and haikus just started pouring out of me.

I also agree that it's healthy to try different styles, genres, mediums. Healthy and sometimes surprisingly productive.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Wonderful, widdershins! How encouraging to find they all fit together.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Challenging our writing is such a good idea. It keeps us on our toes! Thanks, Karen.

Kathleen Moulton said...

Linda, I'm glad you got some inspiration. Let us know how you do!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Thanks for the head's up, Carolyn. You are right!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Melinda, thank-you for giving us a peek into your experiences!

elysabeth said...

I enjoyed the writing. I have been trying to get back to my writing but have had other things creep up on me and staying ahead of life isn't that easy some days. I'm struggling everywhere but hopefully this year I have a better hold on everything and can move forward. Thanks for sharing some of the challenges from your class with us. E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
FINALLY HOME, a Kelly Watson, YA paranormal mystery

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