Tuesday, March 6, 2012

31 Days to Become a Better Writer - Day 1


The longer I have thought about it, the more I realize I have been a writer for years! As I mentioned in my blogoversary post, I've been blogging in some sort or fashion for over 13 years now. Glancing through my blog posts, my writing has been primarily focused on pictures and family occasions (although there have been some exceptions to that of late). I also have a novel that I began writing several years ago and never finished. However, my primary form of writing has been papers for school. The way one writes for school, for college and seminary at least, is much different than the type of writing I desire for my blog. This has been in my thoughts over the last few months, but I struggled with figuring out how to change it. My friends at Allume must have been reading my mind though, because beginning today, they are hosting 31 Days to Become a Better Writer. I want feedback as I work through the exercises Allume gives us, so I am going to post here on my blog. Please help me in this journey to become a better writer!

Today's Challenge:
Write five nondescript sentences. Look at them again and re-write them to show and not tell what was happening. Go over them one last time and pump them full of interesting and descriptive words to really drive your point home!

My nondescript sentences:
1. I climbed the stairs to our room.
2. Damaris brought me mac&cheese for lunch.
3. The barking dog made me mad.
4. The cup of coffee was good.
5. I like to knit.

Show versus tell:
1. Slowly lifting each pain filled leg, I ascended the stairs to our room.
2. I hear the sounds of rumbling from within. A glance at the clock shows the small hand is almost to the 1. Damaris hands me a dish of gluten free macaroni and cheese with chicken to fill my hollow stomach.
3. The anger within me explodes. "Can you believe it?" I practically yelled at Russ. "Those dogs have been barking for over an hour!"
4. Steam rises from the surface of the dark liquid. As I take a sip, my taste buds explode with gratitude.
5. A ball of luxurious yarn, two sticks, and a pattern make me happy.

Pump them up:
1. The busyness of the day is complete or so my mind tries to trick me into believing. Before me, the stairs appear never-ending. The only relief in sight, my fluffy pillow and my comfy, cozy bed, can be found by slowly lifting each fibromyalgia pain filled leg one after the other until I reach the summit.
2. I hear the sounds of rumbling from within. A sharp glance at the clock shows the small hand is nearing the 1. In a seeming reversal of roles, my almost a woman 12 year old daughter Damaris gently hands me a dish. The creamy gluten free macaroni and cheese with chicken will fill my hollow stomach.
3. Punching the pillow for the zillionth time in what seems like days, I bolt upright. "Can you believe it?" I practically yelled at Russ. "Those dogs have been howling for over an hour!"
4. Tendrils of steam billow from the surface of the dark liquid. Grasping the handle of the ceramic mug, I savor the first drops of the morn. Fireworks erupt, my taste buds full of gratitude.
5. The map lays upon my lap. The two wooden sticks are firmly ensconced in my hands. I reach for the luxurious pink string. As one stick is wound, it gently pulls the yarn through the opening creating stitch upon stitch. Soon it becomes as a metronome, the creating, the rhythm, the beating of my heart.

Wow! That was hard work. I feel like I can see my sentences now. What do you think? Are you willing to take the first step of this journey with me? Come my friend, the task is Gargantuan, but not as much if we burden the load together.


  1. Trying a second time since it doesn't seem that my original post was successful.

    I think your sentences are great! I feel your frustration with the dog, want to drink your coffee instead of mine (fireworks!), and think your description of knitting is downright romantic! :)

  2. Thanks so much Melanie! Knitting is such a peaceful activity for me which I need in the midst of a painfilled life. Glad you came by and commented!

  3. Great work there! I especially like number 5. It just makes me happy to read it. :)

    And I liked number 1 too. It becomes very descriptive and the reader gets a good sense of your pain and fatigue.

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting Rachel! Honestly, I really love #5 as well. :D

  5. That was wonderful! I also have fibro.

    I would love to know how you go about setting up a blog like this. It's stunning!!! Would so appreciate any information.

  6. Cherl, thanks for visiting and posting! I’ve blogged on a number of different platforms over the years (my own website, Xanga, etc.). This particular evolution was originally hosted on a free wordpress.com blog which I then upgraded to a self-hosted wordpress.org site after a bit. If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend either wordpress.com or blogger.com as they seem to be very user-friendly for a novice. Hope that helps. If you have more questions, feel free to comment on send me an email (my email address is linked in the right column) and I’ll be glad to answer what I can.

  7. Well … we are sisters in more ways than one! I thought paragraph 2 would be my favorite (what a sweet girl you have raised) but then I got to 5. I don’t knit. And with carpal tunnel … I’m not likely to take it up! But this description makes me wish I could!

    Were you at Relevant last year? I was and really want to go this year but between money issues and health issues … I can’t imagine making it work! On the other hand … God prompted some one to send me to Blissdom and He could do it again! :)

    Hugs to my new friend! See you tomorrow!

  8. Beth, I had a typo in my blog coding and it made your comment go on the wrong post, so I moved it to the right one. Whew, now that I got that fixed and out of the way.

    I wasn't at Relevant last year and desperately want to attend Allume this year, but we also are struggling with financial issues as well as my health issues, so I don't know if that will happen.

    thanks so much for dropping by and commenting!

  9. You ARE going to Allume. Pray.Pray.PRAY!!!!

  10. Well-written, love! <3

    And I want to have that novel in my hot little hands one day soon, so get crackin', woman!!

  11. Thanks sweets! <3

    And that novel probably needs to be scrapped and started again. Hang on...welp, that didn't work. Was trying to see how old it was, but I uploaded it to Google Docs last year and it didn't save the original date on it. I think it was when we were living in Plainview when I worked on it, or maybe Abilene the first time. Regardless, it's been a number of years.

  12. Love that 5th one - it both reminds me of my grandmother and makes me wish I could knit.


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