Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.

I consider our annual vacation one of my family's strongest assets. Ever since our kids were preschoolers, we've squeezed a few days--and sometimes up to 10 or 14--out of five busy schedules. I have hundreds of photos of our adventures and imagine our kids thirty years from now, reminiscing about Junior Ranger badges, calamari, the California Screamin' roller coaster, and the long, hot walk from Jefferson Memorial to Lincoln Memorial.

But I dread packing -- the laundry; the piles of clean clothes, snacks and books; the last-minute trip to the pharmacy for toothpaste and deodorant.

It's worse now that my kids are teenagers. I expect them to pack their own bags, but they like to pack just prior to departure. One child usually takes too much; the other two pack so lightly they barely have enough clothes to last the trip. And even though I remind each of them to pack contact lens solution, I know we'll have to stop and buy some on the way.

All three, however, will have a fully-charged iPod. Imagine that.

Journal Entry: Describe the day before a family trip. Are you transferring clothes directly from dryer into duffle bag? Did you remember to stop the mail? Take the dog to the kennel? What one item are you or your husband sure to forget?

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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