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Do you wish you could write? Or you'd like to get back into writing? You've landed in the right place! I'm Kim Duke, your writing coach based in Canada. I help women start writing for the sheer joy of it!

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Capture the small moments

Jean Siméon Chardin (French, Paris 1699–1779 Paris), Soap Bubbles, ca. 1733–34 The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Recently I asked my mom if she had any fabric scraps that I could have. She’s an amazing seamstress and her sewing studio is filled with fabrics and notions. A friend of mine loves to make unusual cards, and I thought a bag of small fabric scraps for her would be just the ticket for fun. ( I keep my own writing scrap bag when I write about the small moments. More on that in a second.)

Mom laughed and said,

“Fabric? I have trunks filled with it. I’ll see what I can do.”

A week later, when I went to visit her, she handed me a hefty bag filled with all sorts of smaller fabric scraps and lace. It was a gold mine.

“I never throw anything away. You never know when you’ll need a little something.”

Kim’s Mom

And of course, when Mom said this? I thought of you.

Because writers must also think and write about scraps of small moments and how they have worth. And then gently stash these moments into a scrap bag for another day.

Remember. Not everything you write has to be used immediately.

Small moments are subtle works of art

The French painter, Jean Chardin, was famous for his luminous still-life paintings of food: large wheels of cheese; glasses of wine and water; hefty peasant loaves of bread; and bowls of various kinds of fruit at their peak of freshness.

He also liked to paint the small moments of life. A boy blowing soap bubbles. A mother preparing a bath for her child. A woman filling a water jug or preparing laundry for wash day.

He found beauty in the simplest and smallest of things and he felt they were worth capturing in paint. Can you imagine all the quick sketches he did to keep them in his mind?

How can you not love a man like that?

Write about the small moments that showed up today

You’re quite like Jean Chardin. Because I know all sorts of small moments catch your attention.

The way your dog looks at you with her intelligent, soulful eyes. How someone hesitated for a beat when you asked them how their day was. You saw your neighbor shoveling the sidewalk on a terribly cold winter’s night, but they were laughing as they threw the snow high in the air for the dog to catch. Maybe you looked out the plane’s window and saw a river that forked into two separate rivers and you thought, “Well, then. That’s the bird’s eye view of my divorce.” Or perhaps a little person in your life observed the wonder of a butterfly in the garden or cheese on toast, and it made you smile.

Write about these small, fleeting moments. And keep them.

Here’s a surprise for you. Most of the writing you’ll do in your life won’t be focused on any one project. Certainly, you’ll work on your essays for Scribbly, or finally, start the memoir you’ve always wanted to write. But you don’t need to wait for big inspiration to land on your lap. You can write at any time.

You just need to quietly observe the small moments that life gives you constantly. And then reach for your pen. Write about these important and subtle slivers of life. One day, before you know it, you’ll reach into your writing scrap bag and grab a moment that you thought was worth saving.

And you’ll make something beautiful with it.

*Did you love this? Then check out Scribbly – my quirky writing program that we snail-mail right to your house. We’re nice like that.

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