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New Pet Projects

I’ve been in a writing group for many years. There have been a small number of us, usually five or six until Covid hit and we went down to three writers and our leader, Susan, meeting on Zoom. As Covid receded into the background, Susan ran into some family issues and for over a year now we’ve only met socially a few times.


But when we were meeting as writers, the format was pretty standard. We would meet weekly, read what we’d written for the week, receive feedback from the others, perhaps discuss some aspect of writing (perhaps an aspect of grammar or maybe an upcoming workshop) and then Susan would give us a prompt for the following week. A prompt was simply a suggested topic which we were free to ignore if we wanted to write about something else. I generally liked to use the prompt, taking it as a challenge.


One year as Christmas was approaching, I noticed a book for sale at Target, “300 Writing Prompts.” There is no named author, but it was published by Piccadilly. I looked at a few prompts, and they were similar to the ones we’d use in our writing group. For example:

  • What is your favorite way to spend a lazy day?

  • What is your favorite work of art? What do you love about it?

  • Write a diary entry, dated 10 years in the future.

I’m rarely given to gifting outside of the family, but I decided I’d get one for Susan. At the same time, I bought a copy for myself. This copy sat on a shelf for five years.


But with our writing group also on the shelf (hopefully not for too much longer) I decided to take on a challenge. I’ve decided that by the end of 2024, I will have written to each of the 300 prompts. Ideally, I will do no more than one in a day, so that will be averaging 25 per month. These writings are not as long as the essays I wrote for the group. The first few were about one single-spaced page, but they’ve gotten somewhat short, as little as half a page. One asked for a poem and it only went only seven lines. The prompt was “You are a children’s book writer. Write the first few lines of your new book."


Do you know how special you are? 


You’re the special beef in a special stew.

You’re the special flavor in every chew. 

You’re the special filling in a special pie.

You’re the special ham in a ham on rye. 

You’re the special honey from a special bee hive.

That’s why this world is gonna eat you alive.


Okay, I may have missed my calling, but it wasn't as a children's book author. As for what I write, it's just what comes to mind. I don't polish.

The John Shinnick Web Site

300 Prompts

Last Update: Febuary 6,2024

John Shinnick 3.0: It's All About Me

I found that in late January, I was distracted and forgot about the project, not writing for three consecutive days, but I still finished with 25 for the month. This month I get a bit of a reprieve – it’s leap year, so I get an extra day.


Another project I’ve undertaken is to log every solicitation for money I get through the US mail. Who was asking, the date, the “suggested amount” (generally there are several suggestions, I pick the one in the middle) and the gift, if any, that they sent. I got three more today, none to organizations I’d donated to before.


I received 42 in January for (are you ready?) $20,756 dollars. Of course, the ones asking for big bucks are the ones I’ve given large donations to in the past. The most devious is the Democratic Party, because they ask under so many names: Biden Victory Fund, Senate Majority PAC, DNC, Jon Tester Campaign, they drive me crazy. All these are worthy, but I can’t give to one and all. I used to like it when United Way was a conglomeration of many charities and their slogan was “Give once for all.” Ah, the good old days.

~ Quote of the Month ~

It's like talking about people behind their backs ~ everybody wins. ~ April Ludgate, (as portrayed by Aubrey Plaza in the TV series Parks and Rec.)

I love reruns of this show, and April, the ultimate cynic, is one of my favorite characters. Okay, they all are.

A ten-page book crammed into a mere 100 pages.

300 Prompts.jpg

As always, blue buttons indicate new content since the prior monthly update. 


02/07/24 - Update and reorganization of Scholar archives.

02/06/24 - Monthly update completed.

01/05/24 - Monthly update completed.

12/06/23 - Monthly update completed.

11/07/23 - Monthly update completed.

10/07/23 - Monthly update completed.

09/07/23 - Late update completed.

07/09/23 - Monthly update completed.

06/07/23 - Monthly update completed.

05/07/23 - Monthly update completed.

04/03/23 - Monthly update completed.

03/06/23 - Monthly update completed. Shinn's Cats added,

                 Shinn the Theologian removed. 

02/04/23 - Monthly update completed.

01/08/23 - Monthly update completed.

12/05/22 - Changed pic in Homeowner section. Rewrote Music 


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