Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy π Day!

Hooray! It's that special day of the year when we celebrate the number with the freakishly long string of non-repeating digits after the decimal.

I don’t mean to cause any post-traumatic nightmares out there, but it may have been the curse of your ninth grade geometrical existence.

Yep, we’re talking about…

3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510582097494459230781640628620899862803482534211706798214808651328230664709384460955058223172535940812848111745028410270193852110555964462294895493038196442881097566593344612847564823378678316527120190914564856692346034861045432664821339360726024914127372458700660631558817488152092096282925409171536436789259036001133053054882046652138414695194151160943305727036575959195309218611738193261179310511854807446237996274956735188575272489122793818301194912983367336244065664308602139494639522473719070217986094370277053921717629317675238467481846766940513200056812714526356082778577134275778960917363717872146844090122495343014654958537105079227968925892354201995611212902196086403441815981362977477130996051870721134999999837297804995105973173281609631859502445945534690830264252230825334468503526193118817101000313783875288658753320838142061717766914730359825349042875546873115956286388235378759375195778185778053217122680661300192787661119590921642019893809525720106548586327886593615338182796823030195203530185296899577362259941389124972177528347913151557485724245415069595… and so on and so forth to, like, 10 trillion decimal places so far.

And yes, determining the next decimal digit of pi is what some people DO.

Shocking, I know, for those of us who simply move around the same 26 letters every day and call it good.

PROMPT: Oh, so many ways to go with this one. First off, pi is an irrational number, so it would be a fabulous day for those irrational characters we all know and love. Pi is also a transcendental number, so a meditating irrational character might be even better! Then there’s the math geek angle —
every great story deserves a math geek because it’s always hip to b2.

Of course, there’s the pie kind of pi. But every day is a great day for that one.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Back in the 1950s, Ray Bradbury was hard at work on a screenplay for the film version of Herman Melville’s classic, Moby-Dick.

But things were not going well.

The deadline was approaching fast, and he was stuck in one of those giant blocks made just for writers.

He was depressed.

He was desperate.

He had no idea how to escape his four-sided cell of wordless gloom.

Then one morning Ray awoke with a crazy thought.

So he ran to the mirror, gave himself a good long look, and said…

“Behold, Herman Melville!”

It worked like a charm.

Ray finished the script with ease.

In fact, I hear he had a whale of a time.

PROMPT: Use Ray’s recipe for instant success today. Pick your favorite famous author, grab a mirror and shout, “Behold, __________!” Then see what a little creative channeling can do for you. J

By the way, this fabulous story came from James Scott Bell’s The Art of War for Writers. If you’re in need of some inspiration, pick up a copy today and…

Fight on!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Challenge

Did you know that Theodor Seuss Geisel used only 236 first grade vocabulary words to write The Cat in the Hat?


His publisher Bennett Cert certainly wasn't.

“I bet you can’t do it in 50,” was all he said.

Well, the good doctor accepted Bennett’s bet —

“Fifty bucks says I can, Sam I am!” 

And the rest is Green Eggs and Ham history.

I hear that Bennett never paid up.

But considering that Green Eggs and Ham has been one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, Teddy never complained.

Obviously, there are two lessons here…

First of all, restrictions lead to higher levels of creativity. In fact, research has shown that imposed limitations boost creative thinking because they force folks to work outside of their comfort zones.

And second — never make a bet with your publisher and expect to get paid.

Consider yourself enlightened on both counts.

PROMPT: What if you gave yourself a Seussical challenge today? Pick a limiting word limit, 50 or 100 words say, and create a complete story.

And because I’m sure you’re dying to know, Seuss’s 50 were: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you.

Write on!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Yen to Zen

I've been writing for educational companies since 2005. However, even after all these years, I still have a minor freak-out when I receive a request for 5 stories with a “next week” deadline.

Thank goodness that Ray Bradbury is there to save me every single time.

In his book Zen in the Art of Writing, he explains the three-step process that’s essential for any creation —


For me the concept has become a mantra of sorts —


And as an added bonus, the words can be said in any order and still be effective…


Ah, doesn't that feel awesome in a zany zen-y sort of way?

Are you ready to face the page now?

I know I am.

And by the way, Ray said that if the WORK really starts to get you down, you can always replace it with LOVE.

After all, that’s what creative “work” really and truly is anyway.

LOVE on!

PROMPT: Do you have a mantra? If not, give Ray’s a whirl or create one of your own. And here’s a tip — “Don’t suck” is NOT a mantra, for goodness sake.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Need a Monday Motivator?

Well, according to my calendar, today is officially the International Day of Awesomeness!

It’s the perfect time to reflect on all of the awesomeness in your life —

Your awesome friends

Your awesome family

Your awesome job

Your awesome gifts and talents.

This totally awesome day grew out of running joke at Kevin Lawver’s workplace. It became officially recognized in 2007, and March 10th was chosen as the day to celebrate. 


It just so happens to be the birthday of the King of Awesome…

Chuck Norris

Ho Yeah!

And hey, if you could use a Chuckle, check out the official Chuck Norris web site here and enjoy a few of his “facts.”

PROMPT: First, start the day off right by writing a list of all the awesomeness in your life. Doesn't that feel… well… awesome?! Next, get down to business by developing a character who’s afflicted with a very peculiar type of awesomeness. Then roundhouse kick some serious tale and…

Write on!