Unlock the Muse – March 17, 2020

In this weekly post, I try to keep things positive. That is, after all, what this is supposed to be all about – encouraging and inspiring writers to do more and keep writing. I’ve intentionally stayed away from the less pleasant side of life, though I have by no means intended to discount it. Right now, however, life isn’t so pleasant. While we have all watched the progression of the corona virus pandemic, though I doubt any of us anticipated anything like this. Not truly.

We are surrounded by so much loss right now. I would be surprised to learn that there is anyone left who hasn’t lost something to this pandemic – a senior prom, an audience at a soccer game, a family vacation, peace of mind, a loved one.

In the midst of all this, some might find writing to be cathartic. Others might find it completely impossible. Wherever you’re at, don’t give up. Don’t lose sight of your goal. If it’s worth striving for, it will still be there when this season passes. If it turns out it was the wrong goal, choose another. Whatever you do, don’t let guilt destroy what you’ve already accomplished.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Be creative and redub your family and friends with nicknames. Challenge yourself to search until you find the word that pegs their personalities. (And be nice!)

Try this exercise with your characters. Maybe the nicknames will become a beloved pet name your main character’s dad used to use. Or maybe it will become their military call sign. Nicknames can add unexpected layers to your character. Oh, and you don’t have to be quite so nice with your fictional family!


1. Regard as probable; expect or predict.
2. Act as a forerunner or precursor of.

Dating from the 1530s, meaning “to cause to happen sooner,” from the noun form anticipation. It comes from the Latin anticipare, “take (care of) ahead of time,” or literally, “taking into possession beforehand.”

Later, it came to mean “prevent or preclude by prior action,” (c. 1600) and “beware of (something) coming at a future time” (1640s). Used in the sense of “expect, look forward to” dates back to around 1749.
(from etymonline.com)

Happy writing!

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