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Daily Writers’ Fix: Grab Bag

Do you keep a journal? Sitting down with paper–perhaps in the form of a nicely-bound book–and a pen can be a great way to unwind, relax, and clear one’s head. Today give yourself time to reflect and write a journal entry. It’s for your eyes only, so don’t get caught up in writing well. Just write.

If you don’t know where to start, use one of these prompts:

  • Your most vivid memories from this past summer
  • An amazing meal you ate recently, and who you shared it with
  • What you’re hoping the upcoming holiday season will be like (and what you can do to make it happen)
  • Your childhood career aspirations and how they resemble or differ from what you do now
  • What you like or dislike about your neighborhood
  • Your favorite place in the world
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Daily Writers’ Fix: Grab Bag

Today, in honor of National Novel Writing Month, challenge yourself to write 1,667 words–the daily average to meet the NaNoWriMo goal–whether you’re participating or not. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a short story draft or a journal entry, or perhaps 1,667 words of freewriting. Just let the words flow.

Suggestion: If you have a writing project or assignment you’re procrastinating on, consider using today to kick it into gear.

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Daily Writers’ Fix: Taste

Candy! You’ve been working hard working on your writing skills and projects, so today we want you to have fun. Using candy as a starting place, spend 10 minutes just having fun with words. Don’t take yourself too seriously–allow yourself to write nonsense, if you wish. Who knows, this exercise might get the words flowing so freely you’ll be inspired to write all day!

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Writer’s Kitchen: NaNoWriMo, Voting, & Gâteau Breton

Who really thinks of baking a cake at 9:15 p.m. on the first day of NaNoWriMo? Me! I made it to 1,736 words the morning of November 1–which exceeded the necessary daily average word count by 69–so maybe it was no big deal. But considering some days will be too busy to write at all, perhaps it’s a good idea to stock up on words when I have time. But instead, I baked a cake. And then voted–and not even at the last moment! If my NaNoWriMo participation is anything like voting, that means I’ll won’t be cramming too hard to meet the 50,000 word count by November 30–just a little. Probably while baking a cake.

Buckwheat Gâteau Breton with Sea Salt
Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz

I came across this cake while reading The Sweet Life in Paris, and I’m so glad I tried it. The buckwheat and sea salt add a fun complexity to an otherwise classic cake.

7/8 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon fleur de sel or other medium-grain, light-tasting sea salt, plus 1/3 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 pound unsalted butter, brought to room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons dark rum

1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9-inch springform cake pan. Combine both flours, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the cinnamon in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside. Beat the butter with a stand mixer until light and airy, then beat in the sugar until smooth.

Next, put four egg yolks, one whole egg, vanilla, and rum in a separate bowl and beat with a fork. Turn the mixer on high and slowly pour the eggs into the batter, allowing the batter to take on an airy consistency.

Add the flour mixture to the batter, stirring just until incorporated, then pour the batter into the pan. This batter is stickier and denser than many so it’s a little harder to work with, but do your best to smooth out the top.

Mix the egg yolk and milk for the glaze, then brush it over the top of the cake, using as much as necessary. Run the tines of a fork across the top in a few parallel lines, then rotate a little and repeat, to create an uneven crisscross effect. Sprinkle the remaining 1/3 teaspoon of sea salt evenly over the top. Bake for 45 minutes and let cool in the pan before removing.

Serves 14-16.

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Daily Writers’ Fix: Smell

Autumn is full of opportunities to explore the five senses–from the feel of wet, fallen leaves in your hands to the taste of pumpkin pie. Today write about the smell of fall in the air and see where it takes you. For example, does it differ where you live now than where you grew up? If so, does that suggest a story, scene, or personal essay?