Write Five Sentences
by Sally Derby
I write stories for children, but I have occasional mornings when I come to my writing time feeling empty of ideas, positive I will never write another story.
So on those days, I give myself an out. I say, "Okay, Sally, so you can't write a story today. That's all right. But this is your work time, so before you put your pencil away, you have to write five sentences. They don't even have to relate to each one another. Just write five sentences that might begin a story on a day when you could write a story."
After I've grudgingly done that, I store those sentences in a computer document I call "Openings," and I'm free for the day. Later, maybe months later, on a day when I need inspiration, I go back to that document, and one may hit my eye. I tell myself, "I can work with this!" and I'm off and running. (This works because the sentences come from you, and your subconscious may have been working on one of them ever since without your even being aware.)
Here's a sentence I found that's now a middle grade novel I've begun to shop around, "We were all asleep when the elephant knocked!"
See how it works? Now go write five sentences and have fun!