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Sentence Starts – Journaling for Insight and Solutions
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San Francisco Writers Conference San Francisco Writers Conference
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Dateline: San Francisco , CA
Monday, May 18, 2020

 

Monday Motivation Sentence Starts – Journaling for Insight and Solutions

By B. Lynn Goodwin

Since our bodies are confined but our minds are not, I’d like to share these sentence starts with you in case you could use a writing nudge as we shelter in place.

I’ve been creating these writing prompts since 2004, then writing about them with my free-writing group. I’ve used them with my characters and my students. The range of responses and details writers come up with when using the sentence start is amazing.

Below are about 50 sentence starts. Suggested procedure: Set a timer for 10 minutes. You can always reset the timer if you are on a roll.

  1. Finish the sentence.
  2. Write the next sentence.
  3. Keep going.
  4. Go wherever the writing takes you.
  5. Remember, there are no mistakes—only new material.
  6. Write as yourself or a character you are working with.
  7. Next step? That’s up to you. Put some together. Make new discoveries about your current project. Find new stories waiting to be told. There are more tips below the list.
  8. Let me know how it’s going if you’d like to. Reach me at the e-mail address above.

Today I want…

It’s hard to accept…

Before…

During…

After…

In Apri…

I imagine…

At the time…

After the investigation…

I learned…

Often…

Writing freely…

My best…

The secret of…

I’m still hoping that…

Near the edge…

Through the smoke…

It’s unheard of for…

The wind…

I’ve stopped…

In the tech world…

Far away…

Outside…

Retreating…

Vindicating…

I’m asking…

Disappointment…

Who can know if…

Moving in rhythm…

Right in the center of…

I’ve been warned…

Rushing over…

I’ve decided…

Expectations…

Remember…

There is a high cost for…

Principles…

What kind of man…

In order to be fair…

Accuracy…

Loving…

Bare branches…

My writing…

When success knocked…

Gazing into …

Where can I …

With luck …

An adopted child …

After escaping …

Promises often …

So you’ve finished a piece of journaling. Got into it and wrote for 20 minutes. How do you take it to the next level?

  • Read it over. Highlight three sentences you like—sentences that have energy—sentences you would like to explore. Those are places to dig deeper.
  • Put one or two sentences into a .docx titled Starting Ideas. Refer to it whenever you are looking for a new subject, a new idea, a new plan.
  • Make a list of the subjects you’ve covered in your free write. Highlight the ones that intrigue you. What else do you have to say on the subject? Write your own sentence start for tomorrow, based on what you have to say.
  • Are you working with a character? What would the character have said in response to that same prompt? This is a great way to learn about the lives and backgrounds of your characters. It will jump start your writing.

Why journal? There’s something about putting pen to paper or fingertips to computer keys that commits you to an idea, a thought, or a point of view. It’s a way to get yourself in gear, to motivate yourself, and to prove that you are a productive writer with important things to say.

Questions? Comments? Please go to www.writeradvice.com and click on the Comments box. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Stay safe and let your imagination thrive!


Writer and editor B. Lynn Goodwin owns Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com. She’s the author of an award-winning YA, Talent, and an award-winning memoir, Never Too Late: From Wannabe to Wife at 62, plus a collection of journaling prompts, flash pieces, and short articles. Her flash fiction was recently published in Nebo, Cabinet of Heed, Murmur of Words, and 100-Word Stories. She lives near Mt. Diablo with her energizer-bunny husband and their exceptional terrier.

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The San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change conference are both produced by the San Francisco Writers Conference & San Francisco Writers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The SFWC Director is Laurie McLean.  For registration help, contact Richard Santos at registrations@sfwriters.org. For SFWC sponsorship opportunities, contact Carla King at Carla@carlaking.com
The SFWC website is: www.SFWriters.org

 
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