Think Kit #4:
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Lifelines
Stranger Stories

 

Share a story about a stranger. Have you had an interesting interaction or observation involving a complete stranger? Or a time when a stranger helped you out?

This month's prompt came from Hazel Walker.

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January 16
Unwritten Letters

 

Write a letter to someone whom you never got a chance to thank for the role they played in your lives (a teacher, a neighbor, a relative, etc.). What was it about that person that mattered so much? Why do you feel the need to say thanks? Did you discover something else entirely?

This month's prompt came from Jackie Lutzke.

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February 19
Fictionalize Yourself


Write from the perspective of one of your favorite (or least favorite!) fictional characters. How would that character view something that happened in your day-to-day life? How might your writing style and voice shift?

This month's prompt came from Jen Bingham.

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March 20
A Little Healthy Competition


What is the role of competition in your life? Did a specific time in your life make you more or less competitive? What drives you crazy when you're on the losing side?


This month's prompt came from Andrea Feaster.

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April 28
Fuel For The Creative Fire

 

What creative work has had the biggest impact on your life? Was it a book that changed your perspective in high school? A painting that gets your creativity flowing? Maybe it resulted in a project, a renewed sense of purpose, or a new viewpoint.

This month's prompt came from Sarah Eutsler.

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May 22
Temperature Risin'

 

A little sweat is good for you: write about a time that you really felt the heat – physically or metaphorically. Where were you? Did it feel oppressive, empowering, or just hot? Were you searching for relief, or savoring every sweltering moment?

This month's prompt came from Drew DeBoy.

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June 18
Childhood Creations

 

Describe a game you and your friends made up as kids. What were the rules? Where did you play? Were there specific props, obstacles, or conditions that were absolutely necessary? Did you invent a name? What other memories of the game do you have?

This month's prompt came from Jason Williams.

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July 29
Feeling Your Oats

 

Dig deep into the past and think about the first big decision you made on your own. How did it make you feel? Important and energized? Intimidated and nervous? Describe your thought process at the time, and reflect on what you chose.

This month's prompt came from Drew DeBoy.

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August 27
Show Us What You're Workin' With

 

Time to tell a tale about a 9 to 5, a 5 to 9, or anything in-between. Don't just chuck out a resume – we want to get the low-down, dirty details of your weirdest job. Or the fuzzy memories of a minimum-wage high school hang-out. Or the first time you dipped a toe into the waters of the real world. What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn about others? What memories, know-how, or fry-grease flashbacks do you carry with you to this day?

This prompt came from Brittany West.

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September 30
A Hair-Raising Time

 

Time to duck into a spooky side street – what creepy coincidence, eerie experience, or unnerving moment made the hairs on the back of your neck stand up straight this year? Whether it was a scary spider story, freaky film, or shocking scenario – as long as it's no longer keeping you up at night, share away! We won't judge you for leaving the nightlight on.

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October 23
...That Left A Mark

 

Don't get too squeamish, but we've got a (potentially) bodily question – share the story behind a scar. Whether it's from a childhood fall, a lapse in attention, or a freaky coincidence, the world leaves its mark in innumerable ways, both physically and figuratively. Set up the scene, give as much detail as you can stand, and consider the characters usually on the sidelines – who helped you out afterwards? How did you heal? How did your friends, family, or yourself react? Did it change or alter the way you live life? What sticks out the most about the moment?

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November 19
A Thousand Words

 

Nothing like a strict word count to kick off our month of blogging...just kidding! Share your year in photos. Was there a moment of unrestrained happiness? An unexpected encounter? What role do photos play in your life – were you more selective with your phone (er...camera) this year? Or are you the King of Selfies? Dig into the deeper meaning of a moment frozen in time.

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December 01
Flip The Script

 

What did you change your mind about this year? Was it a big deal – the way you feel about an issue? Or something small – maybe you learned to like Brussels sprouts? What was the moment or series of moments that changed how you felt? How did your friends or family react? Have you uttered the phrase, "I'll never change my mind!" since then?

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December 02
Deck the LOLs

 

Let's loosen up: share a side-splitting story from the last year. What made you laugh out loud until tears formed? What made you giggle every time it was referenced? Whether it's a story, an image, a video – we want to hear about the banana peel on the floor, your best practical joke, or gems from the mind of a three-year-old. Whether it's sassy, sarcastic, or just plain silly: make us laugh!

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December 03

 

Whether you asked for it – or not – what good advice did you get this year? Did it come from an unexpected source? Was it unsolicited, or did you need a word or two after an eventful day, week, or month? Has the advice changed the way you think about the world? Changed the way you think about your advisor? Changed the way you think about yourself? Changed the way you act? Can you distill the message and help the rest of us out, or is it too personal to be universal?

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December 04
Aloha

 

What did you say goodbye to this year? Was it a bad habit? A '94 hatchback? Or something less tangible? How did you feel the day after? The week after?

Or! What did you say hello to this year? Did it enrich your life...or detract? A new favorite possession? A tattoo? Did you decide that your life was missing something, or did you just fall into new-ness?

Share your aloha!

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December 05
Third Place

 

Work, home, and _____. Where was your third place this year? Did you like it, love it, ...or was it out of obligation? What feeling, sense, or vibe did you get from your third place? If someone can't imagine the scene, give the lay of the land in words. Is there natural light? Is there a certain smell? Bring us inside.

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December 06
Alla-Kazam!

 

Wave your magic wand – whoosh – what would you transform, create, or make disappear in 2015? Don't be afraid to change the world, or merely alter the mundane. Just be prepared to defend your decision with reason, or irrational emotion!

Oh...this wand will self-destruct after a single use, so choose wisely!

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December 07
Rants & Raves

 

Get on your soapbox. What issue, idea, or stance were you vocal about this year? Or did you let it internally build up? Was there an event, person, or time that triggered your strong reaction? Or was it a slow-burn? Why do you feel so strongly – is it personal? Emotional? Strictly reasonable?

Show us some passion – make your argument from the mountaintop!

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December 08
Just Can't Wait



The calendar still says 2014, but let's push forward. What are you looking forward to in 2015? Is there an event, special occasion, or reunion that you're counting down the days until? Planning a trip? A life change? A move? Or maybe it's the simple pleasures – the release of a movie, something or someone hitting a stage near you.

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December 09
Weird. Wild. Wacky.

 

Time to get weird. We want to hear your strangest story from the last year (or more). Will it make us raise an eyebrow or three? That's what we want. Whether it's a tale of colliding coincidences, a strange Saturday you just can't shake, or if it makes you squirm just to remember: get weird.

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December 10
Hi, I'm ______

 

Nametags and punchbowls aren't necessary (but we're okay with that!) – who did you meet this year? Was it awkward? Enlightening? Was your first impression correct? Was it accidental & meant to be, pre-arranged, or somewhere in-between? Whether you found a soulmate, held a new baby, or finally trusted someone to style your hair just so, write about a new person (or people) in your life.

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December 11
Mulligan

 

We've put another quarter in the slot – free play! Hit the reset button on a moment this year: what would you do over? Whether or not you analyze your actions – how would you act differently? Would the outcomes shift, or stay the same? From a single sentence to a whole day (and everything in-between), feel free to explain your choice, from how you felt immediately after the moment passed, to any thoughts that ran through your mind beforehand. Take a mulligan!

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December 12
Put Down Your Blog...

 

And pick up a pen! Or pencil. Heck – we'd settle for a crayon.

You don't have to stay in-between ruled lines, but we do want you to write something by hand. Sure, a letter comes to mind. But so does a recipe you discovered this year. A poem. A series of tweets that is a poem. A contract with yourself – or someone else. Whatever you get on paper – write it, then photograph & blog it. Cursive or manuscript, we promise not to grade on penmanship.

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December 13
Look Outward, Look Inward

 

By telescope or microscope, or no scope at all – what did you discover? A new aspect of yourself? A favorite artist, musician, or variety of cheese? Did you discover something about a loved one? A familiar or new-to-you place? Be broad, be narrow, or be surprising.

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December 14
Lucky Numbers

 

Time to get mathematical – and yes, you may use a calculator. Was there a significant number in your year? A birthday? A first? A personal record? A date now carved in the annals of time? A number that represents a streak, whether winning or losing, good or bad? A bellwether or a lagging indicator or just...three.

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December 15
Extra! Extra!



Take a moment to dip into the deep well of the past year's 24-hour news cycle. What world event moved you this year? What story, series, or moment fascinated you? Made you scratch your head? Brought you to the edge of tears...or past the edge of your seat? Did an outside perspective change the way you felt, or make you take action? Share the headline(s) that resonated with you.

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December 16
Let's Get Physical

 

Time to go through your (actual) desktop, junk drawer, or coat pockets and share an artifact from your past. A half-torn ticket stub, once-washed receipt, coffee-stained map, anything in a frame: it's all fair game. What springs to mind from your artifact? The smells, sights, and sounds? A specific feeling? Hold it in your hand, close your eyes, and go back in time to a moment.

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December 17
+ / -

 

Have no fear – no numbers needed here. Who (or what) made a difference for you this year? Were they cognizant of their effect? Did it add to your life...or detract? Was it a momentary encounter? A year-long helping hand? Someone who took a chance on you, or vice versa? What would've changed if you'd had to go without, or go it alone? Imagine the alternative scenario.

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December 18
Insert Theme Music Here

 

Strike up the band – what was the soundtrack to your year? Was it the music you listened to the most? A certain song that kept reappearing, or worse...that you couldn't get away from? Or maybe it wasn't music at all – maybe a podcast, voice, performance, or significant sound played over-and-over. Whatever you heard: we're all ears!

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December 19
Wishy-Washy



It's true, we like you a lot – but let's be noncommittal for now. It's okay to be unsure! What are you on the fence about? Dig into the meat of both sides. Is it a big deal? A minor quibble? Are you leaning one way...or is the extended forecast just one big gray area? Yes – we're telling you not to make up your mind!

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December 20
Ooh! Aah!



What surprised you this year? Was it a jump-out-of-your-seat shocking moment? Learning something new that really flipped your wig? A moment in time that left you speechless? A friend or stranger's actions that really blew your mind? Leave us slack-jawed and standing silent...or at least thoughtfully quiet for a few seconds!

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December 21
Chef's Choice



Today, we're keeping it wide open – we want you to write. Write the thought ringing in your head this morning. Write what you can't forget. Write what you want to remember about _____. Write the everyday and the extraordinary. Let Frank O'Hara be your guide.

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December 22
Apple Of Your Eye

 

You've ranted. You've raved. You've freestyled, soapboxed, and even waved a magic wand or two. Today, let's keep it positive. Who (or what) is doing something good? Share a story of your positive action, whether it's a favorite charity, foundation, or nonprofit – or just an individual whose penchant for do-goodery makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

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December 23
A Dash Of Thanks

 

What are you thankful for? Maybe it's from this year – or maybe it's something in your past that resonated with you recently. And – we hold people, places, and things in equal regard: a sense of gratefulness can take many forms.

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December 24
What's Your Tradition?

 

Today we'll keep it short and sweet. Share a photo from your year that highlights giving, thankfulness, traditions or finding peace. What does the photo represent to you?

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December 25
Goin' Places

 

What place stood out for you this year? Outdoors or indoors; a huge gathering or a tête-à-tête? Where were you? Who were you with? What feeling did you have when leaving? Were you inspired? Refreshed? Or...confused and glad to be gone? Whether it was exciting...or awkward: give us a hall pass out of our own room for a few minutes.

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December 26
Show & Tell

 

Time to show off your handiwork: what did you make this year? Share something personal, like a song or art. What inspired you? Was the finished work what you initially imagined? Or a work project – what was the process? The end result? Share your vision...and your work!

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December 27
One Small Step



Set your sights on the next year: what's one step you can take to support a goal you have for 2015? Whether it requires a written plan, a list of supplies or ingredients, or even a flowchart: getting your plan down in words should help spur you into action.

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December 28
Shout At The World

 

If you could make a # (hashtag) take off...what would it be? What conversation do you want to have with the world? Who are the five people you'd want to hear from first...or last? Is your trending topic personal? Political? Lyrical? Or just random?

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December 29
A Single Word

 

What one word sums up the past year? Now: unpack, unfold, and uncover it. What does it represent? What events float to the top when you think about your word? And, okay, if you can't limit yourself to a single word...use a (select) few.

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December 30
Five Seven Five

 

Write a haiku (or...multiple haiku!) about the past – whether it's a year ago, a decade ago, or from childhood. If you want to, give some background information about your simple scene. And then – write one that paints a picture of the present, or predicts the future.

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December 31