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Writing Exercises - H.O.W. to Better Yourself and the World - Part One

Updated on March 28, 2015
Feeling good
Feeling good | Source
Can't take it anymore
Can't take it anymore | Source

Billybuc challenged us to find our writer’s voice by way of the exercises found below. I find this challenge to be twofold. As writers these exercises certainly help bring forth our talent. As humans, these exercises help us get to know ourselves and how we are impacted by circumstances and how our reactions impact others.

If every person on this earth were to go through these revelation sparking steps, the world may just become a quieter, kinder place where people come together in recognition of who each of us are as individuals.

That said, here I begin with my revelation.

Write a list of 10 emotions and what they mean to you on a personal level:

  • Happy – calm, smiley, unstressed
  • Sad – blue, tearful, want to withdraw
  • Angry – explosive
  • Confused – unsure
  • Loving – warm, giving, caring
  • Hurt – bleak, bummed out, want to withdraw
  • Violent – angry, stressed, need to throw things or scream
  • Fed up – enough is enough, will no longer put myself in the situation
  • Elated – want to dance and sing, face hurts from grinning

Our original family.  Daddy, Sha Sha and Mom.
Our original family. Daddy, Sha Sha and Mom. | Source
Mom and Zorba, after he'd grown into his feet!
Mom and Zorba, after he'd grown into his feet! | Source
My brother and I.  He was 8 months old, I was 4.
My brother and I. He was 8 months old, I was 4. | Source

Write a list of 10 traumatic experiences in your lifetime. Why is each one meaningful?

  • Mom divorcing Daddy – I was only six. Daddy was a fighter pilot in the USAF and he was my hero. He was kept from my brother and me once he went to Nam. I grew to hate my mother as the result and acted in rebellion until I found him again at the age of 40. I had to jump through governmental hoops to find him because of his status and tenure. I was a very negative person for most of my life because Daddy was told to stay away. But he never left my heart and apparently, only I understood that. Update: I've gotten over it. I love my mother with all my heart. She is an awesome person and has had a lot on her plate over the years. It took me getting to know myself to realize that.

  • Mom getting remarried – We moved clear across the US after the divorce; from California to Pennsylvania, to live with my aunt and uncle, who were also our Godparents. I was in a new school (again!) and very possessive of my mom – to a borderline sick fault, I might add. The way she met my dad is really rather cool, now that I’ve gotten over my bratiness, but at the time I wasn’t going for it. Because I was so ornery, they eloped one weekend without telling me the truth. They told me they were going to a movie. For an entire weekend??? My cousin ended up telling me the truth because I knew something was up. We ended up moving to Philly, which is where Dad is from and he adopted me and my brother. We had to change our last name and this absolutely infuriated me! I hated him (although he was a great guy) and I hated my mom for all the rest of the years I lived at home and then some. Once I grew up and got over my anger, I saw how loved I was growing up. Dad forgets we don’t share genes. In fact, last year for his birthday I wrote him a poem called, “A Father’s Love”. My Dad’s perseverance and never ending love is why I am the person I am today. If it weren’t for him, I would still be an angry person continuously digging holes for myself and killing myself with substance abuse. Ok. Time to move on. I need to add the following: I am now blessed to have a fabulous, loving, accepting relationship with my Mom, Dad and Daddy. My pain is over. I'm blessed to have them all in my life.
  • My brother slicing his finger almost all the way off – When we lived in Philly, we had milk delivered to the house in glass quart jars. We also had a Great Dane whose feet were bigger than his body at the time (3 months old). Dana’s job was to clean up after Zorba. Well, Zorba threw up on our slate porch one day and as my brother was cleaning it up, he slipped and fell, right hand first onto an empty glass milk bottle. He completely severed his forefinger, hanging on by a mere thread. It scared the living shit out of me! I am no good with blood. I locked myself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out until I knew my parents had taken him to the hospital. Sheesh!
  • Being raped at knife-point while I was asleep – Someone broke into my little cottage in Ft.Lauderdale, covered my face with a cloth and held my own butcher knife to my throat. After doing his deed, he walked me into a closet, still blind-folded, shoved me in and placed a chair against the doorknob so I couldn’t escape. Needless to say I did. He’d stolen all my money and a Seiko watch and cut my phone lines. I left the house and called my boyfriend, who called the cops. I never went back to that cottage again. I don’t think I need to go into anymore detail, as it brings back memories I’d rather forget.
  • Having to call the cops on my son – He was only 8 and violent as hell. He didn’t take his dad’s and my divorce well at all. He was also deep in the throes of ADHD and Conduct Disorder. It was Christmas Eve and his dad had brought him home so I could have him Christmas Day. Montana had given Christopher a motorized scooter (not the best choice for an 8 year old, let alone ADHD who can’t pay attention!). I wouldn’t let him bring it home. My 8 year old son proceeded to tear my house apart and put holes through the walls. I could not control him, so I called the cops. The only reason they didn’t take him to juvie was because it was Christmas Eve. Do you have any idea how heartbreaking it was for me to call the cops on my own son???

Finding the need to convert this into a series

Since this exercise has become quite lengthy, I’ve decided to turn my response to Billybuc’s challenge into a series. I will continue with the next five in ten traumatic events.

Conduct this exercise for yourselves. You’ll learn something. The world would be a better place if each and every inhabitant did the same – especially those who grew up angry and haven’t overcome.

Cleanse yourself. Look inside. Get it out. Get over it and move on.



Shauna L Bowling

Refining, Defining, or Rhyming

All Rights Reserved

This just seems appropriate because it popped into my head as I was posting


© 2013 Shauna L Bowling


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    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 months ago from Central Florida

      Mary, I'm a fighter. Nothing gets me down, not for long, anyway. This hub is so old, I'll have to re-read it.

      I love your closing line about going through the fire and emerging with a tan. Great line!

    • Blond Logic profile image

      Mary Wickison 5 months ago from Brazil

      Shauna, I feel so sorry for the things you've had to endure. When they say 'what doesn't kill us makes us stronger', I'm not sure it does. I think it chips away at us until we are too weak to fight.

      I don't know if it is healing or not to open painful past memories or keep them locked away, maybe it is different for different people.

      I respect you for going through the fire and emerging with a tan.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Jenn, I think about the day I'll become a grandma as well. I have no idea when that will be. My son is 22 and not in a serious relationship. Of course, when I was 22 I was too busy having fun to even think about a family. Looks like my son will be following in my footsteps.

    • profile image

      Jenn 3 years ago

      Shauna, I'm at loss for words, and I am a writer damn it! Reading your writing was like watching repeats of an old show or sitcom that I know so well. It brings back memories that U somehow tucked far away.yet my photographic memory makes me feel as it were yesterday. It has to be of relief to finally let go and share with the world the misery and crap you know you went through. It's almost laughable in a way, cause little do they know they helped make you the person you are today. It took strenghth and courage to write this undoubtedly so, which is something they tried to take away from you so long ago. Congratulations, you arent bound by his cuffs and chains. He is the coward, and what he tried to bestow upon you, will surely become him. As for two daddys... yeah I have two of them as well, my real father wasn't involved in my life till much later as he like to invest in Busch and Anheiser, plus he liked to frolic in the snow. I love my Mother and both fathers as you do yours. As far as your son, my son has ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. Yes, i know how heartbreaking it is to have to call the police on your own flesh and blood. Thank GOD for giving us this thing called unconditional love, a natural love that the majority of us possess for our "babies". Yes, no matter how old they get they will forever remain in our heart as our babies. We will never give up on them no siree; all we can hope for is they are stable before bringing our Grandchildren in the world, so they arent raised by you and me. Oh the joy we will have when these little souls enter our world, as they will be spoiled, loved, and sent back home with their DAD ( our sons). I dream of the day when they're teenagers as you and I lounge leisurely next to the beach soaking up the sun as we sip on a Pina Colada. We will feel sorry on the outside and laugh like hell on the inside as our precious sons are now proud parents of their wonderful teenagers. ;)

      P.S. I wonder how many times our parents felt as if they could't wait for the day?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 3 years ago from Central Florida

      Elsie, thank you for stopping by. Yes, I earn a living by writing and copy editing. I hope to see you around!

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting article, no wonder your pen name in brave warrior, you certainly are.

      I have just discovered you, this is the first one I have read, but I will be back to read more.

      All the best with your life and future writing, especially if you are going to earn a living doing it.

      Blessings to you, hope 2015 is good to you.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Flourish, to keep on keeping on is the only choice for me. We deal with whatever has happened in our lives and hopefully, learn from it and move onwards and upwards.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      I have learned so much about you as a result of reading this. You are strong, a survivor. Don't ever forget that, bravewarrior. You have earned your name the hard way in life. I am so very proud of your resilience in the face of hardship.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Rtburroughs, life gives us so much to write about. From the good to the bad, funny to sad and everything in between. Thanx for being curious!

    • rtburroughs2 profile image

      Robert Burroughs 4 years ago

      Shauna, I discovered you on billybucs hubs, and yes sometimes I read other peoples comments. I do it for additional insight and to discover new hubs. You had one rather lengthy comment that I enjoyed reading, unfortunately I have problems at times with short term memory so I could not tell you much about which comment. It was on Billy's hub about niche writing. Ok that sparked my memory, you said about life being your niche. I feel the same way a lot. I know sometimes it can be difficult to let skeletons out of the closet. However I do think that some of our best writing comes from those things that are hard to talk about.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Suzi, I wish life was all peaches and cream (hey, do you have a beauty recipe using peaches and cream?), but it's not. You just have to overcome hardships and move on!

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Shauna,

      What a riveting read about your own experiences, you have certainly been through the mill as we say and I do believe it makes us stronger individuals. You are a gifted strong lady who has her head screwed on right. By writing about your own experiences it does help the individual heal and others who see similarities. Congrats on a wonderful write.

      Up++++ shared!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Shiela, too often I'm told to leave things in the past. It's the past that helped make us the people we are today. I'm not ashamed of my past and I'm proud of who I am today, despite the past. Frankly, my past is mine to share or harbor; we do what we have to do in order to move on.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Sometimes talking about or writing about past bad experiences help you heal. I think you are finding that here. For years I was told to keep things inside, it's no ones business what goes on in our home. I was later ashamed to talk about it. As I grew older I realized I was not the only one who faced such things and it really a feeling of freedom to finally talk about things and "turn them loose". You are a very strong and wonderful person and I am happy to have met you here! Up and awesome! :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Eddy, I admire your strength also. We have two choices in life: to be miserable and play the woe-is-me game, or be happy. You and I choose the latter. We are survivors who have a good outlook on life and don't let a few bad cirmcumstances rule our lives.

      Here's to you, my friend!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh Shauna you are one amazing lady and one of the reasons why I am so glad I joined everyone on HubPages .Where else would I have met such a like minded friend;a friend who due to her own experiences understands all I say.

      One of my aims will always be to help others who have suffered in one way or another to be able to speak so honestly and to be able to live their lives as a whole.This is what we all deserve Shauna as well we both know.

      Voted up up and away ; your legacy will shine on eternally.

      Have a wonderful weekend.


    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      Patricia, this series of hubs was an exercise Bill recommended in one of his hubs. I simply took him up on it. It was fun. You should try it!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Between Billy and you we should all become better writers. Thanks for the tips.

      Voted up ++++ and shared :) ps

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Martie, you are absolutely right on my friend!

      Prettynutjob (love the pen name!), check out billybuc's hub. I believe I reference it above. He's a good one to follow; you'll learn a lot and gain a great friend as a bonus.

    • prettynutjob30 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      Awesome hub, voted up and shared. I will have to give some of these tips a try.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 5 years ago from South Africa

      Dear bravewarrior, so sorry it took me so long to get to this most touching hub of yours. During my 1st year at the hubs I literally cleaned my soul, revealing all the secrets - those truths we tend to hide because we fear critic and rejection. I don't regret doing it, because that was the final conquering of my ego and the release of my true self.

      The traumas you've had were sad and such a proof that the perception of children is unique and not to be under-estimated. However, I do believe that we need the negative in order to appreciate the positive.... and also to have empathy with others when they go through the mills of life....

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 5 years ago from Scotland

      It is just the truth :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Anna, you comment validates my decision to tackle this exercise and expose myself. Thank you so much for your support and wonderful comment!

    • Anna Haven profile image

      Anna Haven 5 years ago from Scotland

      As I said before your are one courageous lady and also very inspirational.

      It takes a lot to survive trauma in life and you have not only survived, but in surviving you have empowered yourself, and are now you are providing help and hope for others.

      I have a lot of respect for your honesty and strength and I think your writing may provide hope for some people when they need it the most.

      I will be back to read more later. Anna :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Thank you, Blossom!

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      A really interesting article. Enjoyed reading it.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      thank you so much, Sparklea. I've just posted parts 2 and 3 if you're interested!

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      bravewarrior: WOW, great tips and profound hub...excellent! Voted up, useful and interesting! You are an inspiration. You will be an instrument to encourage all who read this remarkable hub. Blessings, Sparklea :)

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Maria, I will NEVER take off my rose-colored glasses! They help me survive and live free with love and laughter abounding!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Don't apologize, Mike. I find the same when I comment. I think I'll send a suggestion to the Keepers of HP to include a spell/grammar check for the comment section!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      Sorry about them typos up there Shauna, not sure what is going on with my keyboard. Yikes! my bad up there.

      Once again awesome article and I think it will work if more folks chose to do more of the same as you and what Bill has suggested.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Dear Sha,

      You drove me to Bill's inspirational hub by the way you have tackled this self reflective exercise...and I will eagerly anticipate the rest of your series. I am immediately heading to your latest...

      You show us how resilient and strong we are all capable of being. I personally feel much of this has to do with the type of eye- glasses you sport!

      I also love your song choice...Voted UP and UABI. Hugs, Maria

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Mike, you're right. It's taken more courage to expose myself than it did to overcome these factors in my life. Thank you for believing in me and showing me it's OK to do so.

      Peace, my friend!

    • CloudExplorer profile image

      Mike Pugh 5 years ago from New York City

      I love the idea unfolding here and will be looking forward to following your series Shauna, I'm glad your unleashing these built you emotions/memories of occurrences past in your life, and I sense the healing effect coming along here as this cool writing for the safe of self healing develops further.

      Awesome hub, amazing courage it must have taken for you to make it all public here on hubpages, and I commend you for having the inner and outer strength to do so. Powerful piece of writing indeed and heart felt. Thumbs up and out!

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      You know Carol, I've gotten over all of them. I didn't realize how many traumatic experiences I've had until I started writing. I'm getting ready to post the next five. We really are very resilient creatures, as I've discovered in this exercise.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Wow you did have some really difficult experiences..probably more than most. I read each one and thought you must be a very strong person to have weathered the storm.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Marlene, love and perseverance prevail. You just have to believe and never stop trying.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 5 years ago from USA

      You picked the perfect song to accompany your story. The lyrics, "Let the sun shine in" is exactly what we need to do to get over some of the darkness of life. You are an inspiration to people who desire to learn how to let go of bad times. It may take a long time, but eventually, if we are willing, the memories either leave or no longer haunt us.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 5 years ago from Central Florida

      I love you too, Bill. I have much more to write. The exercises you suggested are beneficial both as a view into the writer's soul, but as a cleansing mechanism as well. Cleansing often leads to articles, stories and posts, wouldn't you say?

      "A force of nature"? I'm afraid I don't quite get what you mean. Email me if you don't want to expound here.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You are a force of nature my friend. It is a thrill to watch you grow as a person and a writer. Thanks for the mention but more importantly, thank you for being who you are.