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“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”


Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.

Writing Prompt:

Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 15 mins total) is called…Gratitude Backtrack

First, make a list, speedily and spontaneously, of things you are thankful for. Aim for 10…

  • Thank you for…
  • Thank you for… etc

Now, choose one of those things from your list. Take a few minutes to track back where it came from, for example a new job, how did you find out about it, and if you found out through a friend how did you meet that friend, and…. etc etc. when you find a good point to start, write about the journey from then until now.


Here is what I wrote. It’s a little more raw/personal than I would usually share here, but I want to support you in being brave, and this prompt can be quite profound. It’s not about writing beautifully, it’s about writing bravely.


As I track this back it’s interesting to notice that not all the stages were comfortable, or even welcome, but without each stage, this time that I’m enjoying right now, alone in a beautiful, cosy thatched cottage, deep in the quiet of the countryside, slowly listening, surrendering to, nurturing and preparing to grow into the next expression of my creative journey – wow, without the crap times as well as the blessings, I wouldn’t be here, doing this, learning so much about myself and what I want from my life, far away from the expectations, advice, suggestions of others – unless I invite or ask for them, when they are of course a huge blessing and a welcome resource.

And yes, part of why I’m here is because I needed to find a way to recover my finances a little, and a random meeting with a friend on a train (if I hadn’t missed the earlier train, which had annoyed me at the time, we wouldn’t have met) led to an invitation to take care of this house and its darling cat for a time, at no cost to me, save the petrol, and – oh gosh! – even before that, Dad asked me to have his car while he’s away, without which I couldn’t have offered myself here, because the location is too remote to be without a vehicle.

When I look, gently and appreciatively, at all the intricate strands of my life and those of others that had to come together to knit, weave, blend together to create this web that has caught me, and provided the trampoline like bounce I needed to move onward and upwards; when I see all of that, I know life loves and takes care of me. I know it’s all meant to be, I know I can breathe, and relax into trusting life’s purpose.

What are you grateful for?

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:


and here:


and we also did this last Friday, if you missed it the first time 😉