The Power of the Toxic – WFMAD Day 2


Wow! This is, by far, the biggest response ever to the WFMAD Challenge! Thank you everyone who wrote, posted, tweeted, facebooked, and otherwise shared the news and spread the excitement.

Most importantly… ::stands up and applauds:: Congratulations to everyone who wrote for fifteen minutes yesterday!


You didn’t write for fifteen minutes yesterday? Life got in the way, right? Let me guess. Kids? Work? Vacation? Parents? School? Olympics? Twitter? Kardashians?

You know what? I don’t care. Sh*t happens. Please do not waste anymore time beating yourself up. It cuts into your fifteen minutes.

Permit me a basketball metaphor. In the average college game, both teams will score about 75 points. (I just made that statistic up, btw. Feel free to fact check me and post the real average.) The point is that in basketball (sport of the gods) you don’t have time to pout about the mistake you just made, because the other nine people on the court have already sprinted down for the next play.

Start anew today. Start anew every day. Where are you going to carve out today’s 15 minutes to write?

Sometimes it’s hard to dive into writing because our lives are sorta good. Or sorta boring. Now when someone makes us crazy, well then, by golly, it’s easy to write. In fact, it’s impossible to get the words down fast enough when the blood is boiling!

Let’s use that today.

Today’s Quote

“When I start writing, I rarely know what I’m writing about. Am I writing about all of those great abstract nouns that you’ve ever heard about — love, integrity, honor, compassion or whatever? The writer’s job is to take those great abstract nouns and turn them into flesh and blood and bones. Then they are real.”

Harry Crews


Today’s Prompt: You know that toxic relative or former friend who makes (or used to make) your life miserable? Write out dialog in which you finally tell that person what you think of her and why. Do not hold back. Do not edit yourself. Do not worry that anyone is ever going to see it. Just write!


Scribble… scribble… scribble…

22 Replies to “The Power of the Toxic – WFMAD Day 2”

  1. Thanks for doing this, AGAIN!
    While querying CORRODED, it’s giving me the push I need to dive back into my historical thriller. 🙂

  2. I love today’s prompt. I often dream of writing a murder mystery where all the toxic people end up being the victims.

  3. Cannot believe I missed Day 1!!! So grateful to get in on Day 2!!!! Love your writing workshops!!!

  4. I didn’t leave a comment yesterday, but I am SO glad I clicked over here yesterday! Earlier this summer I picked up Chains (and afterwards, Forge) and found your blog. I went back and read through last August’s prompts so I am thrilled to join you this year! The quotes you share are brilliant.

  5. This is such a great prompt. I’m so glad I found out about it in time to join in (I finished yesterday’s just before midnight). Thanks so much for doing this!

  6. LOVE you for this, Laurie. I finished Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way a month ago and while I’ve continued the morning pages exercise and still allow myself a daily 4 hours to write write (summer is fleeting though and once I’m back on campus nearly all time will be lost), I’ve been itching for an extra something-something. Your prompts and 15 minutes are just the thing. I completed yesterday’s and went straight into my daily work and had perhaps one of the most productive days all summer.

    So thank you, thank you, thank you.

    (PS Sugarpants–we exchanged emails back in 09 before your Wintergirls event in SF. Sugarpants was our code word if I found the courage to say hi. I was living alone in Berkeley at the time, only 17 with no friend or parent within range to hold my hand, so I chickened out and missed your signing. I’m not sure if I was ready, I was still shaky, but I do regret not meeting you, especially after your kind correspondence.)

  7. Day 2 tough but not for obvious reasons. See, I’ve written to those toxic monsters before and felt I had moved that energy out. Or so I thought…

    I persisted with today’s prompt and then something interesting transpired.
    Today’s writing gave me back some power.
    The power to say, “No.”

    As you might have also experienced, I encountered lots of lingering muck still clinging to my psyche. “Time to clean house,” I thought.

    In writing to my demon I not only called this person out on their sad (sadistic as well) BS but also gave them a resounding, “Hell NO!”

    What emerged was beautiful and constructive. I created a plan.
    A resolution for how I will proceed and not.

    Mantra in n hand, I know exactly what I intend to manifest and what I will no longer accept.
    Bottom lines. They work!

    I now have in my hands a roadmap and manifest0 for how I will proceed to

  8. PS… My Artist WAy book by Julia Cameron, helped a lot. I referred to it after seeing your prompt and tried to use this exercise to recover anything I needed.

  9. Oh my gosh! I am new to this challenge and I absolutely love it! I found myself going over my 15 minutes last night as I wrote. I love the quotes and the prompts because they are just amazing and they make me think. Thank you for all of this.

  10. Both the first and second prompts have, so far, been like emotional discoveries for me. This is going to be quite a month.

  11. Laurie,

    Fascinating what has been unearthed from these two prompts so far. Can’t wait until tomorrow’s prompt. Better than a therapist, really.

    You rock!

    All best,

  12. I love your prompt but I already wrote something else. Will definitely use this one when I am in need of a spark.

    In an indirect way, this is also helping me revive my poor neglected blog. I plan to post something every day, even if it is just a word count, for the whole of August while I do this challenge.

  13. I love this writing challenge so much. I am not known as the kinda person to always stand up for myself and to stand up to somebody who has been mean to me. I just found the writing challenge today after a RT on Twitter from another author that I follow. I automatically started following you and came straight to this blog.

    Even though I just started the writing challenge today, I feel like it is already helping tremendously. This year I was bullied by somebody in school, and she made my time miserable. We started out as friends, but then she turned everybody against me and was just plain mean. She would give me dirty looks in hallways and start rumors about me and lots more.

    This prompt helped me to get how I felt about this girl off of my chest. I ended up writing 4 pages back to back about everything I would say to her. I actually ended up going way over my 15 minutes because no matter how fast I wrote, I could not seem to get my thoughts onto the paper fast enough. Thank you so much for your blog, and for this challenge!! It has already made me feel lighter (stress wise, and emotionally) and I feel like I have actually accomplished something this summer.

  14. Phew! I made it (here in the central time zone). It was touch and go there for a while when I had to watch Olympic gymnastics (Yay, Gabby!), but I got my 15 minutes in. Great prompt!

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