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Just One Step

Updated on August 31, 2014

This exercise is designed to make the writer think outside the box. It’ll force those creative juices to start flowing. I found it in a textbook, and I love it. Here’s how it works. Pick a random book, flip to a random page, place your finger on a random word, and write that word down. Do this 16 times. Use those 16 words in a 16 line poem, one word per line.

Sometimes your poems will seem a bit weird. That is okay. This is just to get you going. For more of a challenge, choose more or fewer words and don’t use them in the order that you found them.

There are just two rules. Rule one, don’t pick a word (or forms of the word, such as work and worked) more than once. If you land on the same word, flip to a different page. Do the process until you get all different words. Rule two, the amount of words you pick from the book should equal the amount of lines in your poem. Here is one of mine.

My days are like the scenes in a
tragedy. To get their father’s attention,
mischievous little angels are playing
with the props of my life.

They’re creating obstacles out of what
is supposed to be my support. It works.

Their father comes and ushers them
away, preaching the ethics of littering
someone else’s stage. Distracted by
the intense dialogue, he doesn’t see me.

I am the long dark braid sitting in the
shadows. I am left behind. I hesitate,
dreading the uphill battle that will light my
stage and morph this tragedy into a comedy.

I know it must be me and I know it all starts
with just one step. So, I decide to take it.

© 2014 info-overload


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