The Story of My Life – Writing Prompts – Memoir- 10 Things that Sparked Childhood Creativity

Writing Prompts



Last week I had to go downtown for a doctor’s appointment. After my appointment, instead of heading back home on the subway, I decided to walk a few blocks to our huge shopping center downtown, the Eaton Center. I thought I’d grab myself a latte and have a wander into one of our biggest bookstores – Chapters/Indigo, and  have a look around some of the bookshelves. I rarely get out to the bookstores now that it’s become so easy to order what I want directly online, but there’s nothing like being inside the actual bookstore.

Once upon a time a book store was just for books, but now there are home sections filled with pillows, mugs, frames and whatnot. But my favorite part is the stationery section where I happened to get lost in for almost two hours! Did I mention I’m addicted to shopping for journals, notebooks and all their ilk? Well, I found a few notebooks and various other books and items I wanted and realized I’d have to lug all those things home. So I purchased the notebooks and one journal that offered writing prompts, and made a list of the other things I wanted, wrote them down and when I got home I ordered them online to be delivered.


I had initially picked up a big, thick book called 500 Writing Prompts. I thought it was a great book to create posts with when my writers block sets in. And then I found another similar notebook titled, The Story of My Life, which is another book offering writing prompts, except they all have to do with answering from our personal experience. I had to get that one. I brought that little gem home and ordered the bigger book along with all the other writing goodies I wanted online. The damage I did in the store was heavy enough to carry on my walk to the subway.


So today I’ve chosen to share one of the prompts I randomly chose to fill out in The Story of My Life journal and share it here with you. The beauty of these prompts is that one question can spark a flood of memories. These prompt journals are inspiring and are helpful with aiding us to write about the first thing that comes to our mind without over-thinking.


Below is the question asked:


Top 10 Time! – List the things you did as a child to express your creativity. What drew you to each one?


  1. I created an imaginary world where I could slip into when I felt sad or scared.

  2. I wrote poems since the time I learned how to write. I wish I’d kept some of them. Writing became my secret outlet where I could express my pent-up emotions. I shared them with nobody.

  3. I loved to make up sentimental cards and write love notes to give to loved ones.

  4. I listened to music and sang along to all the lyrics as I took myself into the lyrics. My first idol was Barbra Streisand, and she remains my most favorite icon today.

  5. I loved to bake in my Easy Bake Oven. Sadly, I still suck at baking today.

  6. I loved to play ‘house’ with my friends. We’d put on costumes (usually taken from our mother’s closet), and I was always the mother. It was fun playing house because it was peaceful with no drama, acting out the way I envisioned parents should be with their children.

  7. I was addicted to the TV show Bewitched. I’d watch Samantha intently, hoping to learn how to crinkle my nose to make  myself  be able to disappear and make magic happen.

  8. I used to invent games to play with my siblings, particularly on weekends where we were forced to spend at our grandparents’ house. I was always bored and restless.

  9. I was obsessed with a fascination of high-heeeled shoes. I’d try on my mother’s shoes and clomp around in them pretending I was a beautiful model. This obsession began at age 3.

  10. I would make believe things were better than they were or not as they seemed. I’d cry when my mother went away on her leisure trips, but I never let anyone know how sad I was. I would pretend she was just gone for the day then for the night as each day passed until she’d come home.


Do any of you enjoy using writing prompts?



Trainstorming for Writer’s Block – #BlogChallenge

blog challenge


I’m sure we’ve all read many great ideas by other writers who occasionally become stumped by writer’s block. We can take a break, work on another project, go for walk or do a myriad of other things to stimulate our creative juices, but my favorite thing to do is to use writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing.


I’ve written a few posts over the years about overcoming writer’s block and shared one of the books I use for writing prompt exercises, Natalie Goldberg’s – Old Friend From Far Away, where I used her prompts to create my ‘I am‘ series. But recently, I was reading a blog post over at Lana Broussard’s blog and I got this idea from her post there called the ‘Chatty Blitz’ to open up the creative channels.


I’m renaming my word prompt idea ‘Trainstorming’. The word is comprised of a brainstorming of words and thoughts followed like a train by the next sentence. What to do:

  • Start by choosing the first random sentence that comes to mind
  • Continue the next sentence (thought) beginning with the last word from the previous sentence
  • Keep on writing more sentences in same manner until you feel you’re done
  • Don’t think too hard what you’re going to write, just write the first thing that pops in your head
  • Now take a look at what you’ve written and you may just find a story to write about


After you’ve created your own trainstorm, you’ve exercised your mind and given yourself more words and/or ideas to prompt your writing and created a process that has the potential for a new story idea.


Here’s my example, done in 30 seconds: (On the airplane where I wrote this)


I will miss you beautiful Arizona.

Arizona desert heat and cacti flourish.

Flourish all of you beautiful flowers of spring.

Spring forward, don’t stay stagnant.

Stagnant thoughts don’t allow growth.

Growth is measured by . . . 


I challenge  any of you to continue on by using my last sentence above to begin your trainstorm and please feel free to share what you come up with below in comments or by leaving a link to your post.


Thank you to John Maberry for using this exercise for the intro to his short story – Derek’s Dominos


5 #Memoir Lessons Learned from a Special Birthday Cake | Plain and Fancy


Today I’m reblogging a fabulous post from Marian over at . In her post, Marian shares some excellent pointers about writing in memoir. What’s different? The spin she puts on it. In this post, Marian uses a metaphoric likeness with memoir writing to baking a cake.


Have a look at this delightful writing recipe:


“Memoir Lesson 1 – Don’t fool yourself into imagining writing will be easy. Writing is certainly rewarding, but learning a new skill can be hard. I had done plenty of writing as an academic, but switching to a new genre like memoir required a totally different mindset.

Even if you end up changing your plan, you have something (like starter dough!) to begin with.


Step 2: Assemble what you need. Anticipate the ingredients and tools necessary. Pull out the mixer, bowls, wooden spatula, measuring cups and spoons. Take the eggs out of the refrigerator to bring to room temperature if necessary.

Memoir Lesson 2 – A memoir is a slice of your life, not a biography. Ask yourself some serious questions: What part of your life will you depict – your childhood, a traumatic experience, a thrilling adventure like sailing around the world? Can you sketch out this “slice of life” in a series of memorable moments? Scribble random thoughts on colored sticky notes? Draw it as a timeline? Write an outline?


What is your theme? If it’s success after a failed first marriage, that controlling idea will be the filter through which you tell your story. Flashbacks can add dimension to writing, but only if these stories connect to your theme. . .” CONTINUE READING 


Source: 5 Memoir Lessons Learned from a Special Birthday Cake | Plain and Fancy 



The New “I Am” . . . Series


I’ve been thinking of a new series to post and occasionally when I have spare writing time, or, if I have the dreaded writer’s block, I turn to my favourite writing book by Natalie Goldberg, “Old Friend from Far Away.” This is a wonderful compilation of writing teachings, as well a great book of writing prompts given to stimulate our creativity. The prompts in this series relate to ” I am thinking of, I am remembering, etc. I think you get the drift.


These are exercises to get our creative juices flowing and prompt us to write about the first thing that comes to our mind in a five or ten minute writing allowance time. The idea is to keep the pen flowing, without stopping to second-guess your thoughts. We start out writing about something in particular, and we then let the thought carry on to wherever it may lead.

Some of you may remember I wrote a post about a year ago based on these writing prompts, titled The Pink Basket. If you’d like to read it, here is the link

I have a few pages of these writings that are waiting to be shared. It’s interesting to find that whatever happens to be hanging out around our subconscious  at the time of writing, becomes a story.

Todays post is about, I am Thinking about a Suitcase

how we write


As I took stock of the state of my luggage, in preparation for my next vacation, I realized the ravaged condition of the zipper and the frayed corners of my suitcase from the numerous whippings it had taken through the careless attitudes of luggage handlers at numerous airports I had traveled through.

I remember the many trips now, my mother took without me as a child, and how I’d cry myself to sleep in her absence. She was barely ever home, as her life was an eternal mission to seek fun and adventure, and attention from others.

I had yet to realize these things about my mother, being that I was only about seven at the time. I had yet to grow resentful of her absence in my life, physically and emotionally. All that mattered to me at that age was that my mother was once again going away, and I wouldn’t have my mommy.

I wasn’t yet aware that I had never really had my mommy, but the implication that I had a mother still remained in my existence. And in case I may have needed her to kiss something better if I was to get hurt, or on the off-chance that she may have stayed home just one odd evening to perhaps watch a movie with me, I knew my hope would have to carry on much longer, until she returned once again, and hopefully would spend some time with me.

©D.G. Kaye May 2015