Quick write: Search the desert for writing life


At first glance, this drab desert landscape may offer little in the way of inspiration. But, as a Southern California resident who is watching her drought-stricken state turn from green back to its natural shades of beige, I can tell you there is a lot of beauty happening in the desert.


Flickr: wonker

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From prickly cacti to wildflowers that bloom out of seeming desolation, life actually thrives here. Critters creep among the brush and insects buzz insistently about.

The sun saturates the ground, raining its rays upon scorched sand. And the slightest breeze can whip up some devilish dust and send it whipping along in wild fervor. Even the heat shimmies off the Earth in a wavy, groovy dance.

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Most fascinating to me is the horizon and how stark and unmistaken it sits against a desert backdrop. I look deep into such a scene and I wonder just how far it could travel before finally meeting a quenching sea.

Perhaps the desert is an unfamiliar landscape for you. Imagine such a place and write about it today. Do you find beauty there? Can you appreciate its quiet and stillness?

Read: Quick write: Let imagination be your guide

Also, consider the arid reaches of the desert, metaphorically. Do you find yourself in a place where it seems no life, no ideas are possible in your writing?

Look harder at your current project and search for the activity that lies just beneath the surface. Like the rattler that waits to bake under a punishing sun or a coyote that emerges starved and steely-eyed in the night to seek his prey.

Surely there is something there for you in your writing, no matter how dry and lifeless the piece may appear.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at



Kerri S. Mabee

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