What would you change if you could?


Set your timer and write for three minutes. This is your prompt: What would you change if you could?

What would you change if you could?

I would make a few key strategic changes in priority that would blow my current life to smithereens. I see myself running in the woods with the puppy, my mind as open as the sky, no lists churning, just the hidden lives of my characters, these avatars of the self, the better and clearer self, and I see myself returning home to a clear office, light and empty, to pour out what I’ve found in effort and solitude.

It would be amazing.

I wrote this passage a month ago, during an in-class exercise.

For the next part of the exercise, you put boxes around all of the phrases that jump out at you and then use one as a title for a new story. This passage had plenty to choose from.


Which would you pick? I chose “Avatars of the Self,” a story I’m still working on.

While I haven’t blown my life to smithereens in the past month, I have made changes. After agonizing for ages, I dropped one of the courses I’d signed on to teach this winter. (I’m still teaching the new course, Creativity Unplugged.) Essentially, by this simple act, I’ve given myself the gift of time.

The question is, can I accept the gift of time without filling it with more responsibilities? (I’m going to try.)

Set your timer and write for three minutes. This is a your prompt: What are your goals as a writer?

What a great prompt for today. Because it’s all I’m thinking about right now — how to feed and sustain this writer self, how to hustle for her without resentment or bitterness, how to celebrate her, how to make space, and as important, hold space. I am going to honour this being that I’m becoming and I’m going to honour her with offerings of food and care and kindness, and in this way, I will let myself be.

I wrote this passage one week ago.

Earlier this month, I went to the Wild Writers Festival here in Waterloo, and was especially inspired by a panel on mentorship; it expanded my definition of mentorship, which can and should include peer-to-peer support. It’s what I try to foster and nurture in my classes; and I recognized, profoundly, it’s time to do this for myself. The key to feeding the writing self is nurturing community. I know how to do this. It takes energy and vulnerability. It’s generative, it’s sustainable, it’s beautiful, it’s meaningful, it’s worthwhile. And maybe, just maybe, it will blow my current life to smithereens … and make space for a better, clearer self.

xo, Carrie

Biographical blurb: write your own
For the children, by James Richardson


  1. Kerry

    I heard about that festival and so wanted to see what it was all about, but so much has been going on. I like reading your posts here because you remind me we all deal with this and you help me relax some. I do believe mentorship is hugely important. At least, it has been, to my image of myself and my journey as a writer. You are on that list of mentors, even with the class I’d taken from you being only a few weeks long. You made an impression and I love reading about your writing journey and anything else you choose to publish here. Thanks. I will try your exercises too.

    • Carrie Snyder

      It’s a really wonderful festival. If you get the chance to attend next year, do! The free panels are always interesting, and you can also take writing workshops on a variety of subjects.

  2. Thomas Gouard

    Good evening! Just purchased your book ‘Girl Runner’, and look forward to reading it. I instantly looked you up.

  3. Thomas Gouard

    I will also be taking part in this exercise in my blog. I’m always looking at different things to share


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