Textures: Fur, Fuzz, Cold Sheet Steel

Apologies for not posting these last few weeks. The burden of planning programming at the library is heavy on my mind. Still, the workshops at the library continue to be successful. AND Nanowrimo is coming in only a few days! I had been considering either another long narrative project for November or some version of the chapbook challenge usually offered on the Writer’s Digest site each year. I’m not sure that I’ll have the staying power to complete anything this year, though, no matter how much I want to.


Anyone embarking on a marathon sprint session must prepare for success. This preparation deeply involves the mind. Before you begin, cultivating resilience and strength can make a big difference. Furthermore, pre-planning strategies to deal with writer’s block can also help make it through to the end of the challenge.

Signature’s new “Ultimate Writing Guide” has a great article that kicks off the collection that talks about strategies for fighting the dreaded block. Most interesting of these strategies for me (though they work as a dynamic group that builds off each other strategy) was the idea of touching different textures. Just imagining touching a handful of varying surfaces and materials set of a cascade of memories and concrete detail flurrying with energy. So let’s give it a try to get us writing…


Gather (or ask a friend to gather) at least three differently textured objects. Sit down with your timer and your journal. Set the timer for 5-10 minutes and begin to run the fingertips and palm of your weak hand over the objects. When a memory comes back to you, begin writing with your strong hand as you continue to touch the object. Try to capture sensory details while you recount the memory.

When the timer goes off, take a break. Get up and move around. When you’re ready, reset the timer and touch another object with your strong hand. Use the same hand to write when a memory comes to you. Continue with other objects and at different times. Read what you’ve written.

Were there differences you can notice in process or content based on which hand was touching the object?


If you wanted to generate a huge amount of writing topics, you could combine this prompt with the X-page exercise and list out ten (or more) memories that are sparked by the texture. If you’re really adventurous you could try writing with your weak hand while you continue to touch with your strong hand. You can also break away from the desk and perambulate around town touching surfaces and bring your journal to record memories. Or adapt this to your writing challenge and have a few strange, comforting, or surprising objects on hand whenever you write. Pull them out whenever you’re stuck and distract your mind from the problem.

Good luck!