I give it my best effort to put in a solid three hours of writing each day of the week with the exception of one, and the exception is the day I spend twelve hours in one stretch at my day job. This is not always easy. Yes, some days I go over my allotted time because I am fiery about what I’m putting on paper. However, even with a passion for writing and a desire to write, I find myself looking at that last twenty minutes with dread at times, either completely out of inspiration or exhausted in general from my full-time life, feeling unable to go on.
Though I can’t remember where, or the exact quote, I read that real writers know you have to write until the muse comes, not write when the muse comes.
It was in one of these final stretches one day, when I had over thirty minutes left to write and no will to go on, that I did something I don’t normally have to resort to—I Googled writing prompts. Stumbling upon a website meant for teachers of middle school kids, I found hundreds of writing prompts used with children practicing composition. Most of them were silly at best, but in the lineup, I found a prompt that made me stop.
Name fifty things that make you feel good.
At first, I scoffed a bit because I thought how easy it is to compile a list of things that make you happy, make you smile, or in this case, make you feel good. Desperate to work through some of my remaining writing time, I decided to throw a list together in order to waste a few minutes at least.
It required all the writing time I had remaining to put the list together. I was shocked to find out how difficult it is to name things that make you legitimately feel good. I could have thrown anything together, using a bunch of filler entries that the world expects us to write out in a list of things that make us feel good, but in an effort to challenge myself, I decided to be genuine. The struggle was real before I hit entry twenty.
Now that I have completed the list, and am about a full day removed from it, I thought I would transfer the list here. However, in transferring it, I’ve decided to attempt to make each entry as specific as possible. If the entry is not specific the way it stands, I will narrow my feelings down for this list:
- An inspirational sports movie.
- Self-help books that don’t feel cheesy.
- My daughter’s smile.
- The elegance of basketball.
- Scented candles.
- An excellent book with a shocking ending.
- The sound a cat’s purr makes.
- When a cat sleeps on my chest or next to my head at night.
- Music, if I know all the lyrics by heart.
- My wife’s hand rubbing against my back.
- Besting myself.
- Cold sheets on my feet.
- A good morning stretch.
- A clean kitchen.
- Metro Diner turkey burgers.
- The color lime green.
- Randomly picking out a great verse in the Bible.
- Bottled Coca-colas.
- Bottled IBC root beer.
- Short fingernails.
- The unique spelling of my name.
- When someone gives me a book they think I’ll love.
- Non-fiction audio books.
- Apple products.
- My father’s service in the U.S. Navy.
- Saving money.
- Writing passionately until I produce great content.
- Embracing minimalist culture.
- A cigarette every few months.
- Reading aloud to my wife and daughter.
- A good meal at a restaurant.
- A good meal prepared at home.
- Education of the institutional and self-inflicted variety.
- Exchanging genuine laughter with my wife.
- Looking at stars or the moon.
- Blazing hot showers.
- Cooking for my family.
- Get-togethers with friends at one of our homes, drinking and laughing into the next day.
- Playing a good video game until 100% achievement.
- Memorizing important quotes or verses.
- Giving my time or money to an individual or an organization.
- Playing in the rain.
- Turning color photographs into black and white photographs.
- A t-shirt that fits just right.
- Maintaining my ideal weight—140 pounds—after an incredible weight loss journey in 2014.
- Walking through the Virginia woods in fall.
- Mint chocolate chip ice cream.
- Coffee at any time of the day or night.
- Dunkin’ Donuts, especially their DD Perks Rewards program.
With the list complete, it seems fitting that I would want to turn it into a larger writing project. With that in mind, I figure I will write about each entry in more detail over time. This is in the best interest of my readers because it means I won’t always be rambling on about The Perks of Being a Wallflower or something published in the New York Times or minimalism or whatever random topics come to my mind. It means I will be continually rambling on about all of these things, giving plenty of content for people to pick and choose from should they not be interested in every single word that falls from my lips to my fingers to my keyboard to the digital page.
It would be awesome to hear others’ list of fifty things that makes them feel good, but I understand if that is asking too much.