Cool Writing Goo-Gaa of the Week – Writer’s Toolbox

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I found this writing jump-starter at my local Willamette Writer’s Conference last August: The Writer’s Toolbox by Jamie Cat Callan.

I offered this gift to my writing group when we wrote together last October. We were each responsible for leading a prompt workshop – and this was the hit of the night!

Jamie Cat Callan, a creative writing teacher, created this amazing kit which includes a booklet filled with exercises and instructions that focus on a right-brained approach to writing and other forms of creativity. Sixty exercise popsicle sticks – titled First Sentences, Non Sequiturs, and Last Straws – will jump start any blocked writer. Additionally there are 60 cards to bring forth creative descriptions, and four spinner cards to create exploration of interesting plot foci.

On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this a solid 10. When I am stumped – and without a light at the end of the tunnel – this is my go-to activity.


Barbara Park – Author of Junie B. Jones – Passed Away

Hi all ~

I don’t know if you knew this – but I just found out. Barbara Park passed away a few days ago. As someone who works with middle school students, I saw a lot of lower-reader students glom onto Junie B Jones books and read them voraciously. I’m not sure how many tomboys CAN’T relate to Junie B. Jones.

Junie B Jones


Writing Retreat


I have a group of people that I write with at least once per year in October. We go to Silver Falls Conference Center for a weekend and write like crazy. I get so many GREAT ideas that weekend because I am forced to write. And I do force myself to participate in the prompts – even if they don’t relate to what I think I should be writing. Why? Because I ALWAYS get something awesome out of it. ALWAYS!

Thank you PDX Writers. I hope to write with you again soon. And – see you next year, fer sure!