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

Updated on November 1, 2020
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Shauna is inspired when fellow writers pose challenges, whether they be prompted by words, photos, or thoughts.

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.

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


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Shauna L Bowling


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