Zooming Out


1. Imagine a Familiar Place 

Take a few minutes to picture a familiar place, preferably outdoors, that you consider special or meaningful.


2. Think about this spot. Sketch it if you like. 


3. Picture yourself in this location. 

Picture yourself in this location. Write a line or sentence that describes what you are doing and exactly where you are.

For example, “sitting on a sandbar on the banks of the Calcasieu River in Indian Village, Louisi- ana.”


4. In your imagination, look up. What do you see? 


5. Now look into the distance, as far as you can see. Write what you see. 


6. Describe a sound you might hear in this place. 


7.  What is on your right? 


8. Hone in on a single detail in this scene. 

Try to describe it, using an unusual or vivid verb in the line. 


9. Change your perspective. 

Shift your perspective and your position—stand up, flop down, walk away—and notice another detail in the landscape: the quality of light, the time of day, a seasonal plant or animal, for example.


10. Write your final, concluding line. 

Finally, read over your images and see if you can conclude with a reflective line that somehow captures how you feel about being in this place.

Remember to take your time with this line, it may occur to you later as you work on your poem. 


11. Read "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright 

The activity for this prompt was drawn from "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota” by James Wright  that has helped many students write about their own favorite places.


12. Share what you've created! 

When you finish freewriting you can:

  • Read it out loud to yourself to see if you will make any edits.
  • Give your piece of writing a title.
  • And of course...share your creation with a friend or loved one!


13. Submit Your Writing 

Submit your writing to potentially be published in the River of Words Anthology.