Unlock the Muse – May 26, 2020

While many places around the world are reopening after the pandemic closures, there are still so many people getting sick and even dying from this disease. People are returning to work, engaging again in normal activities. But there is still so much anxiety and uncertainty. But here’s my hope for you: stay strong and be resilient. Adapt and change where you must, but stay true to who you are. Hold on to your dreams and goals. They’re still worth pursuing.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Describe your mother: her smell, walk and talk. What are your feelings toward her? Did she change much from the time you were a child to when you became an adult?

After you write about your own mother, do this exercise for the main characters in your current work in progress. Is your hero a mama’s boy? Does he hold resentment for his mother? Give your characters an emotional back story.

It’s the final week of May, and therefore, it is play week. Here’s a roll of the dice from Rory’s Story Cubes to inspire your creativity…


Happy writing.

Unlock the Muse – May 19, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the world. Even with things beginning to reopen, nothing is as it once was. And likely never will be the same again. There is still so much uncertainty about what will happen in the future. I can’t help but be concerned about what will happen with our schools come fall.

Uncertainty and anxiety have made creativity more difficult for me. I try to be strong and keep working on my writing, but the interest often isn’t there. Maybe this is okay, and I shouldn’t push myself so hard to write when the words just aren’t there.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Start a writing ritual. Many authors (Jack Kerouac, Stephen King, Somerset Mougham) have used quirky rituals to help get them in the creative mood to write.

If you’ve used some sort of writing ritual before, but maybe find that is isn’t working for you, create a new one. Use the energy of this “new normal” we live in to build something new. And so, clear your work space, clear your schedule, clear your mind. Find something meaningful in every moment, and just write.

I’d love to hear about your writing rituals. What works for you? What doesn’t?


  1. (Of a person or animal) able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
  2. (Of a substance or object) able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.

The word resilient, meaning “springing back,” dates from the 1640s. It comes to us from the Latin resilientum, “inclined to leap or spring back.” (from etymonline.com)

Resilience is the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions. We’re all living in difficult conditions right now. It isn’t over yet. It’s okay if you haven’t been able to “bounce back.” I know I’m not there yet.

Stay strong, and happy writing!

Unlock the Muse – May 12, 2020

Last week I talked about resilience being the ability to bend without breaking. But I think it is even more than that. Resilience is about bending without giving way under the pressure, without losing the core of what makes you who you are.

Things are beyond hard right now. For a lot of different reasons. It’s impossible not to be changed by what we’re going through. But stay strong, be resilient, and hold on to who you are.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Is there a child around the house or in your life? Write a poem or prose piece about him or her at this age. Hold onto it, and give it as a gift when the child is grown.

Have children at home? Children grown and gone? Maybe your “children” are of the furry variety. Whoever that child is in your life, write something for the person they are right now, and for the person you hope they will one day become. If there’s no child in your life, write for the child you once were.

I’ll leave you this week with this little thought from author C. S. Lewis:

Resilience Quote 2

Happy writing.

Unlock the Muse – May 5, 2020

After a month at home educating my children, I went back to work part time this week. Things are different around the office than when I left at the end of March. Social distancing is rigidly enforced in the hallways, the break room and even in the restrooms. There has been a huge shift in the culture at work. Even as I cleared out a month’s backlog of emails, there was evidence of what effects this pandemic is having on our society. Deep emotional, financial and physical impacts that aren’t going to go away.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Write from this prompt: “Today I want to…”

Start your day by setting for yourself an objective you hope to accomplish. It doesn’t have to be big. Maybe the best you can accomplish right now is simply getting out of bed. That’s okay. Do what you can, and keep on doing it. Maybe tomorrow, or the next day you’ll have the strength to go further.

It is more important than ever in these times to allow ourselves to be resilient. This global crisis we’re all facing right now will change our lives. It can break us. Or will can learn to adapt, to bend with the pressures without giving in to it.

Personally, this event has tested me profoundly. And I consider myself one of the lucky ones. My writing has suffered, and coming back from this has been harder than it seems like it should be. I’m not giving up. But I have slowed down. Bend, don’t break.

Happy writing, and stay strong.

Unlock the Muse – April 28, 2020

How are you adapting to life in the midst a pandemic? Around here, homeschooling is getting just a little be easier. We’re settling into a routine. I think.

Now, the talk is all about reopening businesses. Returning life to something resembling normalcy. Is it possible? Personally, I don’t think things will ever again be the way they were. Instead, we’ll need to adapt to a new normal.

My hope is that as this new normal settles in around me, I’ll find my way back to a better writing routine. I have a novel to write.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Take this first day of May to write about what May means to you. Has anything significant in your life happened in this month?

The month of May begins later this week. What is May all about for you? There’s Mother’s Day, May Day, the whole “April showers bring May flowers” bit.

For this last week of April, in the midst of a pandemic, it seemed a good time for a roll of the Batman Story Cubes. We could use a superhero about now. Use one or use all, and have fun!


Happy writing.

Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon – April 2020

I haven’t been posting much lately about my reading progress. To be honest, my reading time has taken a hit since the stay-at-home order went into effect. Since the schools were closed, my children are distance learning and I am home from work to help them.

After three weeks of homeschooling, two of those official distance learning with the school, I’m ready for a break. It’s perfect timing then, for Dewey’s 24-Hour Read-a-Thon this weekend!

I have a pile of books I haven’t been able to get to since playing Teacher Mom. I’ll be working of this list:

The Clinic, by Jonathan Kellerman (currently reading)
Rage, by Jonathan Kellerman
Empire of Grass, Tad Williams (currently reading)
Obsidio, by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff
Wonder Woman: Warbringer, by Leigh Bardugo (reading with eldest)
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky, by Kwame Mbalia (reading with middle)
The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden (ebook)
Watership Down, by Richard Adams (audio)

Clearly, I will not be able to read all of these books. I do hope to finish at least one, and make progress on several.

On a side note, my eldest son might be joining me for the Read-a-Thon. At least to some degree. His line up includes:

Dogman: Lord of the Fleas, by Dav Pilkey
Minecraft: The Lost Journals, by Mur Lafferty

This weekend, I’m doing as little as possible, other than read, read read! In my time zone, the read-a-thon starts at 5 a.m. I’ll be starting in the dark and early. Assuming I can open my eyes that early.

Happy reading!

Unlock the Muse – April 21, 2020

Most of us are fairly adaptable creatures. We are capable of accepting all sorts of change – new job, new school, new baby, new way of life. Even in times of greatest crisis such as a global pandemic. Personally, I am into my fourth week of homeschooling my children. My leave from work is up next week, but the kiddos don’t go back to school.

With the world still reeling from illness, death, lock-downs and unemployment. Things will not be settled for some time yet to come. Life is hard right now. And it isn’t going to be easy any time soon. I am doing my best to be resilient, to hope for something better yet to come.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Keep your eye on the prize” is a popular saying. What is the “prize” for you at this particular moment in your life?

Remember that goal you set at the beginning of the year? Take a moment to remember the reason you set that goal. Keep your eye on the prize. Go for it!


  1. Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify.
  2. Become adjusted to new conditions.
  3. Alter (a text) to make it suitable for filming, broadcasting, or the stage.

The word adapt, meaning “to fit (something, for some purpose),” comes from the early 15c. from the Old French adapter, which in turn comes from the Latin, adaptare, “adjust, to fit.” The intransitive meaning “to undergo modification so as to fit new circumstances” is from 1956. (from etymonline.com)

Happy writing.