3 writing prompts for BAD days 

By Sarah Cannata

In this video, I talk about three simple questions to ask yourself when you’re having one of those days you’d rather forget. You can find the transcript below the video.

Hello everyone. This is Sarah Cannata, the founder of Storytelling for the Soul. I’m back with another video. This week’s video is going to be super short and sweet because I really always feel that with writing, I can sit here and talk to you about how wonderful writing is; how it can positively impact you; I can even talk about the research (start with James Pennebaker, if anyone is interested). I can do this until I’m 100, but the reality is…

It’s through experience that you will really see the benefits of writing.

And also, I should say, having a regular habit as well. This kind of doesn’t work as well if you’re very sporadic with your writing. Because how would you notice or be able to track the difference of writing versus not writing? So here’s the thing… 

We all have those crappy, crappy days in life. You know the days that I’m talking about; the kind of days where if you had a shovel, you’d start digging a hole, or you just want the world and the ground to basically cave in on you. (Of course, I am exaggerating here.)

We’ve all been there, life happens.

What can you do? But here is a really great writing prompt that I’ve used often. And look, I’m going to be honest with you when it comes to my work. I really love my work. I really care about what I do. It also means that I blow things out of proportion. So what I’m trying to tell you is that I’m a bit of a drama queen, and sometimes when things don’t go to plan, it feels a lot more catastrophic than it really is in real life. So I tend to use this exercise then. So on those days, whenever something happens, and I feel myself cascading into my little gloomy world that I am struggling to find my way out of, I ask myself three very simple questions. You can also change up the amount [of time] that I’m going use with these prompts.

  • #1: Will this matter in three days? 

Quite often my answer to this question is yes. 

  • Then I go to #2: Will this matter in three months?  

The answer to this one is sometimes it will matter in three months. 

And of course, as you’re going through these writing prompts, you’re not just answering it with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, you’re going into what you’re feeling at the time and really feeling into the felt sense of that as well.

So if you’re feeling shame, which is a really heavy and common emotion, what does that feel like in the body? Are you feeling heavy, dark, is there a sadness? And then if you do actually identify the emotions, notice where it is in the body. And keep on digging. Just keep on digging. Remaining open and curious. If you’re really creative, you can start getting into—if it’s an energy or a sensation that you’re feeling—does it have a colour attached to it? A density? Is it big? Is it small? All these kinds of things. So that’s the second one. Will this matter in three months? 

And then the last question, #3, is: Will this matter three years from now? 

From personal experience, by the time I get to the three years question, very few things in my estimation will still matter in three years. Of course, there are those things in life that will matter in three years. And if you get to this third question and you’re finding yourself answering, yes, this will matter in three years, that’s perfectly okay. 

As part of this embodied writing process, all parts of us are welcome.

We’re not trying to stuff down our emotions. We’re not trying to deny our reality. We’re actually connecting to the felt sense of the body. Instead of having all this overthinking in the cognitive mind taking place, you’re bringing it back to your body. So if there is this panic, anxiety, guilt, shame—whatever it may be—at every opportunity and over time, this gets easier with practice, and eventually it just becomes automatic.

As you write and engage in this process, you’re bringing everything back to the body. 

So I’m going to leave it there. That’s a really super simple writing exercise that you can try the next time you’re having one of those days you’d rather not. Feel free to let me know—if you do try this—how you go in the comments below.

Maybe you actually already have your own version of this, so I’d love to hear your experiences. Of course, as I always say, my inbox is open for you to reach out to me at any point in time: info@sarahcannata.com. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can. You can also visit my website, www.sarahcannata.com. You’ll find articles, blogs, I’ve got free resources, an online course and much, much more is coming, which is super exciting. So thank you so much for watching, and I will see you in the next video.

Love the idea of having a regular writing practice but have no idea where to start?

Storytelling for the Soul’s Write Your Way to Healing Quick Start Guide is designed to teach busy people like you how to use embodied writing as a healing tool. In just 5 easy-to-follow steps, this PDF arms you with the basics for writing your way to healing and includes writing prompts to get you started. Set aside 10 minutes a day (or whatever you can manage) to write. Download the free PDF.

Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!