(1:40) Forty Days

What if you decided to write -- for at least fifteen minutes -- every day for the next forty days? It doesn't have to be good. It could be scribbling. You could write about the weather. You could write about a dream you had last night. About your teenaged daughter. About the trees in your backyard. About your dad's shop when you were a little kid.

Write in longhand in a notebook. Some people like to title their entries; I just put the date at the top of mine. Although I know it's good practice to type up an entry once a week or so, I usually don't. I just write.

When I don't know what to write, I write lists. Priscilla Long's book, The Writer's Portable Mentor, is what first pushed me to write extreme lists: one hundred things I'm grateful for; one hundred things I want; one hundred questions. (One list will do.) And you can go back and circle or highlight a smaller number of the items -- maybe you want the war to end, your 18 year old to get a better job, to quit eating chips, and to repot the plant your friend Therese gave you for your birthday, oh, yeah, and to buy a blue pot for the plant. Could you, today, DO ONE THING ON YOUR LIST? I could buy a blue pot.

Give it a try! I dare you!