Writing Inspirations

Writing is a combination of inspiration and skill. The monthly theme based newsletter offers a short theme based article with the opportunity to share your views. Reflections on writing, samples of poetry and a host of strategies to explore your life with writing will encourage you to pick up your pen or put fingers to your keyboard.


Dialogue Writing Strategy (December 2020)

Dialogue Writing Strategy (December 2020)

This month’s strategy is credited to Ira Progoff who developed the intensive journal process.

The dialogue strategy involves having a conversation with some aspect of our life. For the purposes of this newsletter, a dialogue with your body is the assignment. Ask your body a sincere question. Record the question.

The strategy guidelines involve three steps:

  • Using only phrases or short sentences, list a 8-10 individual events or periods of time that capture a brief history of your body. Refer to individual events or periods of time that suggest how your body has arrived at how it is now.
  • Summarize your reflections, capturing your present relationship with your body.
  • To begin the dialogue, sit in silence, perhaps with eyes closed. Begin to feel your body as if it has a separate identity, as if it is a person in and of itself. Say “Hello” to Body and listen for its response. Continue the dialogue, simply listening to each other (recording both participants – you and your body). When the dialogue seems to have gone as far as it wishes, let it rest.

Sit quietly. Reread the dialogue. Reflect on and record your reaction to what you and your body were discussing.

Be willing to resume the dialogue if it seems that the conversation will continue.


List Writing Strategy  (November 2020)

List Writing Strategy  (November 2020)

Lists may seem so ordinary, so mundane. Yet, writing lists can be enormously helpful in giving our lives direction, identifying targets of gratitude and recovering memories.


This month’s theme is “joy”. This month’s writing strategy is “writing lists”. As you experiment with one of more of the lists below, notice the interaction between the two. As you write lists about joy, past, present or future, notice how you body responds? Notice how you feel if take a moment with each item on the list. “Enjoy” your reflections on joy.


Answer any or all of the questions using lists:


What five moments of joy come to mind quickly?

What would bring you joy to write about?

What do you imagine would bring you joy that you have not yet experienced?

What photographs or images do you think capture joy?

To whom might you bring joy to today, how might you do it?

What task would bring you joy today if you re-framed it as a privilege, shifting from “I have to” to “I get to”?

If you were in charge of developing a “joy menu” for people in quarantine because of COVID, what would be on the menu for them to order?


If you really enjoy “lists” you might want to experiment with a journal that specifically uses “lists”. This is a link to 52 Lists for Happiness: A Weekly Journaling Inspiration for Positivity, Balance, and Joy by Moorea Seal.

Story Writing Strategy  (October 2020)

Story Writing Strategy  (October 2020)

Think of a setting in which there is tension, adversity, or uncertainty. It can be in the past, the present, or even the future. For a few minutes write about the context. Take the potential reader to the situation. Where are you? Who else is there? What are you seeing? Pay attention to details of your senses. Notice color, shape, time of day? What if any, smells, are there? What sounds can you hear? What is happening that is a concern? What happens that changes what is expected? What twist occurs? What is it that is funnier, easier, or possible that wasn’t evident initially.

Your stories may or may not be private. If you want to share them, send them along to Prairie Wind or share them with a friend or member of your family. Invite others to share a story.

Pyramid Writing Strategy (August 2020)

Pyramid Writing Strategy (August 2020)


Are you not quite sure what to write about or how to get started ?

Try this personal pyramid strategy.


• Identify a general topic, something you would like to further understand. It can be specific or vague.


• Draw a triangle with one block on the top level. In this block place your answer to the question:

           How do I want to feel when I go to sleep tonight ?


• In the two blocks on the 2nd level, place your answers to the question:

          What are the two greatest obstacles that I am facing ?


• In the three blocks on the 3rd level, place your answers to the question:

         What sources of support are available to me ?


• In the four blocks on the 4th level, place your answers to the question:

         What strengths do I have for dealing with stressful times ?



When you have finished, you will have ten options for what to write about.

You can then write about any or all of them.

Be open to where your writing may take you. Your writing may or may not relate to the original topic.



Example topic: How does the person in this example deal with their frustration about COVID restrictions ?

LEVEL 1—How does the person in this example want to feel when they go to sleep tonight ?

LEVEL 2—What are the two greatest obstacles that the person in this example is facing ?

LEVEL 3—What sources of support are available to the person in this example ?

LEVEL 4—What strengths does the person in this example have for dealing with stressful times ?

Adapted from Robert McDowell’s personal pyramid, found in – Poetry as Spiritual Practice

11.9. A hole in one

A hole in one

I love a hole in one.

That delightful unexpected

rare hole in one.


I love a long putt

when gravity defies the odds.

Sinks the one I think I have missed.


I love the green

that lies like carpet

waiting for my brilliant putt.


I golf through life

aiming for a hole in one,

wanting success with little effort.


It takes a driver,

one focused swing

for those long fairways.


It takes a wedge

to chip my ball

close to the flag.


It takes a putter

for that last little nudge

before success.


So it goes in life.

One club won’t do it all.

Every stroke counts.

Avoid the out of bounds.

Be cautious in the rough.

Play the game fairly.

Sarah Jane Pennington              

10.10. If I moved in the world.

If I moved in the world

If I moved in the world

with the joy of a child,

the kindness of a monk,

the gentleness of a falling leaf,

how would I walk?

What would I see?

How would I live this day?

It would matter not

the pace of passersby,

the clutter of storefront windows,

the noise of nothing talk.

I would stand in the busyness,

grounded in love

and smile.

When I break bread

I would give thanks

with every morsel to

the farmer who grew the wheat.

The miller who ground the grain,

The baker who shaped the bun,

The driver who drove the dolly.

I would notice the tulips

in colors painted by God,

asking me to remember Easter.

I would notice the sun streaming

onto gravestones of those I loved

asking me to remember

the gifts that are mine from them.

I would sit quietly

on an old tree stump,

throwing peanuts

onto the forest bed

and laugh

as the squirrels scurry

without so much as a bow of gratitude.

I would walk slowly

with a lightness to my step.

I would feel the earth

rise up to greet me.

I would meander

like a gentle stream

through a summer’s meadow.

If you come with tears,

I would listen.

If you come with pride,

I would listen.

If you come with anger,

I would listen.

I vow to listen.

My voice will be gentle.

Without words

you will know that I care.

You will see me strain

to understand you –

To know the you, you are.

I would sit in stillness

quieting the chatter between my ears.

I would sit in solitude

knowing in aloneness,

the “I” that is “We”.

I would sit in silence

hearing the joy of breathing.

Sarah Jane Pennington

10.9. First snow

The first snow


The first snow

fell softly,

one flake at a time,

so quietly

even the leaves

stopped whispering.


By daybreak,

the postcard was painted.

I want to utter every word,

think every thought

as gently as the brush

that stroked this winter canvas.


I want the landscape

of my life

to be quiet

and beautiful.

Sarah Jane Pennington

Poems by Ronna

Tomorrow: Poems will be posted from Ronna’s repertoire of amusing common life situations.

Monthly news letters—more to come

Newsletter Archive to include all newsletters based on theme. First newsletter posted August 31, 2020.



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