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.

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.

Unlock the Muse – April 14, 2020

The schools where I live are officially closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. The school district mandated distance learning beginning this week. I have been home from work for the past two weeks trying to step into the gap left by the statewide school closure. My children, their teachers and myself have been working to adapt to this new way of life.

Between learning new technologies and keeping three boys separately occupied, this process has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Even so, I am hopeful that we can arrive at a new equilibrium. Things won’t be the what they were before, maybe not ever again. But we can keep pressing forward. We can find new ways to reach our goals. Flexibility and adaptability will be important. But so will persistence and patience.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Retell a memorable story you’ve heard, being as faithful as possible to the voice of the teller. What does the story say about the storyteller? What makes the story so memorable?

Stories are important. True histories. Family stories. Make believe stories. Our lives are made up of stories. And we need to remember them. Write down those you can remember. Write your stories.

I’ll leave you this week with this thought:

Adapt Quote 3

Happy writing.

Unlock the Muse – April 6, 2020

Most of us are learning to cope with a new normal. Many people are working from home. Many others are out of work. Schools are closed across the nation. And no one can tell us how long these “temporary” measures will go on.

For some of us, this new reality has opened up new avenues of creativity. More time at home means more time for writing. For others, myself included, the anxiety of the unknown, or the pressures of new activities have shut down the creative muse.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Create a fable that explains how the sun, moon or stars came to be.

Every culture around the world has a creation story. Imagine your own version of how things came to be. If you’re writing fantasy fiction, or fiction set in another world, write a creation fable for your world.

The most important thing we can do in this new reality, is to adapt. Compared to so many people, my life is easy. I’m healthy. I’m still employed. I have the means to stay home and attempt to educate my children. Writing has taken a back seat for me, which is frustrating. But like so many, I am trying to adapt, to adjust, to find a way to make this new normal work better. For myself, for my family, and for my goals I’m not willing to give up.

Thank you for reading. I hope you are finding your way through this crazy world we’re living in. If my words have helped you in anyway, or if you have found a way that works for you, please consider sharing in the comments.

Thank you, and happy writing.

Unlock the Muse – March 31, 2020

This week I started home schooling my three children since the schools are currently closed. I anticipate it being a very challenging time personally. After just the first day, I’m exhausted. I do not take this privilege lightly. I am simply trying to do my part to #StayHome.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Write a list of the 10 things you enjoyed most about today.

Life is hard enough right now, a little positive goes a long way. Hold on to the good things. They are there, though sometimes we might have to look a little harder to find them.

If you can’t tell from the brevity of this post, I’ve been struggling to find words. The stress of this new reality and the pressures of learning what amounts to a new job on the fly, have squashed my creativity. Maybe you’re struggling too. Or maybe this COVID-19 pandemic has inspired you. Wherever you find yourself right now, consider sharing your experience as a writer. How are you getting through this crisis?

Happy writing, and thanks for sharing.

Unlock the Muse – March 24, 2020

When the unanticipated comes along and sidelines everything, it’s about all anyone can do to keep moving forward. Priorities have suddenly shifted in a massive way. From full-time employee, I’m about to become full-time homeschool mom. And I know I’m not alone in this new inside-out reality.

In the midst of all of this, it is all too possible to lose sight of the goals set earlier in the year. I know for myself, I have had very little interest in writing anything in the last couple of weeks. On some level, I want to write, but when it comes down to the actual work, I’m just quite simply, exhausted.

All I really want to say this week is wherever you are at in this global crisis we find ourselves in right now, hang in there. We will come out of this. We will come out of it changed, possibly scarred, but hopefully stronger. Have faith, hold on, care for one another and stay strong.

Here’s your writing prompt for this week:

Start networking. If you write nonfiction, consider attending a business expo for article ideas. If you write fiction, consider joining a writing group. Write an essay about your goals.

In these unique and challenging times, your networking will likely need to occur virtually. But the good news is there is so much available online. Find a webinar in a subject that interests you. Join an online writers’ organization. Even during this time when social distancing is the present norm, we can still reach out to support one another and learn from one another. Even in these difficult times, we don’t have to lose sight of our goals.

Because we can really a little positive right now, here’s a little fun from Rory’s Story Cubes. Use one, or use them all and have some fun.


Happy writing!