I’m in the middle of a 2 week writing course at the moment and loving it.  It’s being run by Beth Kempton who is the author of amongst other things Freedom Seeker. Live More. Worry Less. Do what you love, a book I reviewed recently. At the start of each daily session Beth reads one or two short readings or poems. She calls these daily sparks, a practice designed to get you into writing mode.  After listening to the reading you are encouraged to engage in free writing for 5 minutes. Jotting down anything that comes to mind, wherever the readings have taken you.

It’s a ritual designed to help you make the transition into ‘writing time’. Like putting down a marker in the sand which says, ‘this is writing time’. A precious time. Ease yourself into the right frame of mind and focus. I don’t know about you but I often have other things buzzing round in my head and it can take a while to settle down. It is so tempting to rush from one thing straight into another without pausing to think, “how do I want to be in this time?”

Whether you’re writing an assignment, report or thesis building a ritual at the start of your writing time is a great way to start. It may be the place you work, making yourself a favourite drink, lighting a candle, putting on some music, going for a short walk. So many options.  At the moment I’m loving the daily sparks.

This morning one of the poems Beth read was Autobiography in 5 Chapters by Portia Nelson. I loved it. It resonated with me, made me smile and made me think so I thought I’d share it. Does it have a ring of familiar for you as well?


Autobiography in 5 Chapters

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk I fall in.
I am lost…
I am hopeless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I’m in the same place. But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in… it’s a habit
My eyes are open; I know where I am; It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash