No Excuses !





Three words.

No excuses.

You can write today for 15 minutes, I promise you.

Don’t pay any attention to your thoughts and just look around the room or place where you are right at this moment. What 3 things do you see?  Write them down; the three THINGS you see and don’t think any more about those words.

I saw a spiral, a face and a shade.

These were actually:

Spiral rings of a notebook

A face on a spray bottle

A pink and yellow shade on a lamp.


But I don’t care what they are. I’m going to use those three words and just write one word after another until I’ve used all three of those words.

If I finish using those words and don’t know where else to go, I’ll look around and describe three other things with adjectives describing them, such as  “metallic” (spiral  rings), “shadowy” (face on a spray bottle), and “mauve” (shade on a lamp).

I will then use those adjectives in the next part of my writing.

If I think I’m done, so be it.

If I want to continue writing, I’ll either let the story spin itself out on its own, or I’ll look around the room again and see what’s happening. There will be 3 verbs that describe the action.

The spiral rings are vibrating.

The face is staring.

The lamp is burning.

And so on until I can’t say I have nothing to write about or be inspired about today.  I won’t edit, I’ll just give life to something on paper.  Then I’ll look back at the writing, read through it once or twice and get an emotional vibe from it.  I won’t worry about using every single word I generated from the previous exercise in my story.


Hell to pay.  Helen was in the passenger seat and her brother Farrell was swerving violently left, then right as he did so often when he wanted to punish her. She cupped her hands tightly over her eyes until  she could see dancing spirals of light, and bent her head down over the glove compartment.

Farrell’s face was flushed and his pupils gigantic. He swigged down at least half of his water bottle and accelerated to about 90. They were on the deserted stretch of 86 between Mattapa and the old Oshee Pass and no one was going to care that he was terrorizing her. He could get away with it, he always did, and she could do nothing about it.

“Would you like me to slow down, Helen?  We could stop now, find some shade, and break out the lemonade you packed. Or….we could just push you out of the car right now, and leave you all alone in the desert without a thing to drink. I could do that, Helen, do you know that? Do you understand how bad you’ve been”?

What is that metallic taste on my tongue, she wondered, what did he put in my drink? Is it the taste of my fear or is it poison? She was always left to guess whether this was the time she’d finally be murdered, in his mauve Porsche or in the shadowy alleyways he’d make her walk down when they took Harley out.

Her seat was vibrating. She felt his rage scorch her skin but she would not open her eyes.


Then I’ll go back to the first three words and find the letters that are musical notes in each word, and let them be a melody for either a baseline, a chord progression, or a melody.




(A) (C) (E)


(A) (D) (E)


After I play around a bit riffing on the notes, I will look back at the story and  begin to write a song using the story as a jumping off point. No rules. It doesn’t have to make any sense or be related to the story unless I want it to be. By now I’m in a creative mood and if I doubt it and begin to paralyze myself with judgment, I will remind myself that WRITING IS A PRACTICE.  The only think I can do WRONG in my writing practice is to NOT WRITE. Then I don’t get to practice. I don’t approach this as “I must write something wonderful in this moment”, but simply as “I will write something in this moment”.

Slow down

Can’t do nothing about it

It’s a showdown

Someone’s gonna get burned

Time to

spin a spiral around you

I’ll find you

Cause you’ve a lesson to learn


Then I take a walk, or a nap or I go to bed that night feeling good about having exercised my writing muscles. How else am I to get strong?

Thanks for listening.