Guided Pen Exercise…

A few months ago, I was invited to an open house that had some vendors at it. It was an end of the year party where you could replace your missing or broken Tupperware, buy different kinds of epicurean spices, try on various rings, necklaces and watches and really just visit and chat. This particular open house was a bit different in that there was a woman there that read tarot cards.

I remember walking into the small office and plunking down my money, $40 for 30 minutes, and sitting down on a chair across from the woman. She was very nice and asked me to pick a deck of tarot cards from about four different choices. I chose her newest deck, (that’s what she told me) and she spread the cards out in front of me. She asked what I wanted to know, and then told me to pick 3 cards. It was a really interesting experience and we chatted about a whole host of things. I don’t remember what the cards were exactly but most of them were happy or favourable. There is one thing that I do remember quite clearly, she asked me if I had ever done something called a guided pen exercise. I had never heard of this phrase before and she explained it as sitting still and quieting the mind and letting thoughts flow through you without any sort of editing.

As writers, we know how often we edit things and this seemed a bit foreign to me, but I tried it anyway. Boy, am I glad that I did! There have been SO MANY awesome ideas that have come out of my guided pen time and on the days where no good ideas come out, it empties my mind completely and I feel a sense of calm. Give it a try and tell me what you think, it’s a fun and useful exercise that just might  lead you to your next great idea!

You’ll need:

  • a pen or pencil (I recommend that you don’t do this on a laptop, it’s nice to unplug once in a while)
  • a beautiful notebook (make this special, you’ll be glad you did because from here on out, it’s your idea book!)
  • a quiet spot where you won’t be distracted (try to get out into nature, I often do this on my backyard deck)

Sit quietly and let the ideas flow! Write down WHATEVER pops into your mind, with no judgements or editing.





I had the awesome opportunity of attending a writing workshop this weekend hosted by Brian Henry of the Quick Brown Fox, (his blog is awesome, follow it for great info and tips) that was held at a local library. The workshop was called, Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop. I learned SO much and it was such a great experience to be in a room full of people with the same goals, hopes and aspirations. Brian was funny, a great speaker and above all such a great teacher. I took so many things away from his workshop that will help me polish my craft and become a better writer. I brought along three copies of my work, a notepad and a pen and got down to business. Brian spent the morning talking about imperative topics that included definitions of  various genres/age groups.  We did a short writing exercise, paired up and critiqued eachother’s work and had the opportunity to ask questions. There was a student from Brian’s workshop who had been published with Scholastic(!!!) and there was a literary agent from a well known and respected agency, both of whom answered our most burning questions graciously. They answered everything we wanted to know; from, “How did you get published?”,”Do you need an agent?”, “How long did it take to finish your novel from inception to publication?” and so on. It was a great afternoon!

The biggest thing I took away from the workshop was to be FRESH and ORIGINAL! Be bold, take risks, put yourself out there and most of all write what YOU want to write about and what is important to YOU. I highly recommend attending a writing workshop if you want to be a writer, it was extremely helpful and fun. Visit Brian’s blog and start writing!

Startup Stock Photos

Writing Session