• Reji Laberje

Catch Up On Your Summer . . . WRITING

In two days, it's "officially" summer, though I admit it's hard to tell up here in Wisconsin. We have just the most beautiful and appreciated summers in this state where you're never more than about 10 miles from a substantial body of water to enjoy, but this year has given us a late start on the sunshine, sand, and sweet summer vibes. I'm told the end of this week will change everything and it's really here, just in time for the actual equinox. We shall see.

It's commonplace, from the time we are children between school years picking up our favorite picture books at libraries, up through those few bonus days or weekends we get in the summer as adults, to pick up our "summer reading." For children, it's a way to keep away from the summer slide, or, the academic losses that can occur whilst not in formal schooling for three months. For adults, it's a way to unplug and escape routine while keeping our imaginations and cognitive functions growing.

Over the next 13 weeks, beginning today, I would like to call out each one of you to complete the SUMMER WRITING CHALLENGE! What if, instead of or in addition to making sure you read for 30 to 60 minutes each week, you took that time to write?

Each week through the summer, I'll be posting a Summer Writing lesson. These are short, brain-motivated (full-sensory and non-linear) exercises that should come easily. I'm not trying to overwhelm you. These should be enjoyable! They will help you in keeping your creative juices flowing (or just getting them started). Imagine what you could create in just one season? It could become so much more than the season of sun, sand, and sport - this could be your season of the script, whether that (manu)script is one that is inspired through your writing time each week, developed from one of or a combination of the exercises, or put together as an anthology.

"The summer night is like a perfection of thought." ~Wallace Stevens

Every Wednesday - I'll drop in here with your writing lesson in the afternoon and, on Thursdays, at 12:30 Central Standard Time, join me for a FACEBOOK LIVE (https://www.facebook.com/bucketlisttobookshelf/) where I'll talk through the lesson in just ten minutes over your lunch, plus an extra five minutes if you have any questions. (Facebook Live will be occurring on my BUSINESS PAGE, so be sure to start following today.)

I encourage you to join me on the SUMMER WRITING CHALLENGE. And - oh! Did I mention I'd draw a winner of all Summer Writing Challenge Participants to receive one of my writers' resource books absolutely free in addition to six awesome classes at half-price? I'll share more about that as the weeks go on. Keep track of your work over these weeks of summer and you'll qualify!

In the meantime, here's your SUMMER WRITING CHALLENGE - Week 1 Lesson:

The Sequence Poem

—The sequence poem is a poem form I developed based only in observation. A sense is highlighted, and then used in a word list to observe a specific subject. The poem stands alone, is not symbolic, and follows a very specific pattern of lines and rules. Sequence poems are simplistic in poetic nature and are great tools for brainstorming, giving your brain a break from more difficult writing work, or practicing your sensory observations that go beyond just sight.

  • 4 Lines

  • Always rhymes/repeats abba

  • Line 1 repeats as line 4; line 2 repeats as line 3

  • Subject Matter is Sensory-Based

  • Typically Not Symbolic

  • Stands Alone

A Walk on the BeachReji Laberje

My feet feel upon the ground

Dirt, pebble, rock, and stone.

Dirt, pebble, rock and stone

My feet feel upon the ground.

Fall– Reji Laberje

I love the colored autumn leaves –

Red, yellow, orange, green.

Red, yellow, orange, green –

I love the colored autumn leaves.

Camping with DadReji Laberje

In the woods with Dad I hear

Birds, squirrels, dogs, and deer.

Birds, squirrels, dogs, and deer

In the woods with Dad I hear.


  1. Come up with an observation sentence that mentions one of the five senses or an emotion as well as something that is being sensed.

  2. Choosing your own way to pick observation words, (rhyme, alliteration, repetition, synonym, antonym, etc.), list 3 to 6 words related to your observation sentence.

  3. Repeat the first two lines in reverse, adjusting punctuation and minor or connective words if necessary.

Sequence Poems are meant to be simple and fun. You could just sit in nature, on your porch, at the beach, on vacation, at a family picnic, and so on while making a simple observation or two. Next thing you know, you have a poem, or several poems, or a long-form poem developed from a string of sequence poems! You could write one of these or a dozen of them! You could do a set of five of them - one for each sense - all focused on the same scene, such as a carnival or cookout. You could choose your subject matter and observation words in different ways that work for you. You could even work through a full poetry set using the same observation sentence over and over, but changing the observation words that make up lines 2 and 3. Don't think too hard about theses. Use the exercise as a brainstorm and a fun lesson. Choose your own tone - funny, serious, seductive, inspirational, or whatever else you might wish to do. ALL of it is up to you. You can't do these wrong. You just can't. But I have seen some that are done very, very right!

I hope you'll join me on the Facebook Live tomorrow (12:30 Central Standard Time) when I'll share a few more tricks of this great tool and - with any luck - get to hear a few of your Sequence Poems that you create through your first SUMMER WRITING CHALLENGE lesson!

Yours in writing,



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