Magically Real | How About a Little List?

Posted in Blogs, Literary

May 10, 2017

Friends, I just finished taking a wonderful nonfiction writing class in Coupeville with my former Northwest Institute of Literary Arts teacher, essayist Ana Maria Spagna, and her friend, the amazing novelist Laura Pritchett. They were big on having us make lists, then asking us to use them creatively.

Lists can be a great way to clean out your brain. You dump the data in those numbered rows, and then you have it all there in front of you for safekeeping.

The beginning of a list of animals I’d never want to be (Photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer)

Here’s one.

What 10 things do you want to write about before you kick the bucket?

Try it. Make a list of 10 things you want to write about before you die. (Things can be people or issues or historical moments.)

Just go. Don’t overthink it. 10 things.

Here’s another one.

Make a list of 10 places that are endangered. They can be outside or inside.

Just go. Don’t overthink it.

How about this one? List the 10 worst possible jobs.

Now what?

My list of 10 or more interesting words (Photo by Stephanie Barbé Hammer)

Write a story.

Write a poem.

Write about a memory that something on the list sparked.

Write about a wish that something on the list made you aware of.

Make another list if you want.

For example: 10 things you love about Whidbey Island.

See? It can be fun.

Happy list making!

Stephanie Barbé Hammer is a published novelist and poet. She is working on a how-to-write-Magical-Realism book and is dedicating her blog “Magically Real” to reading seminal 18th-century writers who influenced the founding fathers and other key American figures.  You can follow her on Twitter or her blog.


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