✍🏽🧠 The Write-Brain Workbook I | Squeaky Wheel

stormtrooper faux plant lunch needed it jabidees

That’ll be fun. 

I won a book called The Write-Brain Workbook for dominating a bowling tournament of writers. (It was in doubles, and David threw hard and wild and I was the finesse. Also yes: It’s not even a little bit difficult to dominate most writers in a bowling tournament.)

Instead of a pair of plane tickets or at least a sweet new Red Ventures T-shirt, David and I won these books – and I’m pretty sure they were second-hand.

So when you’re given a janky book to celebrate your sporting supremacy, you make chicken soup. Or, lemonade. Well, you know what I mean. I’ve held onto this thing a while and just now started to make some use of it.

I really like it.

I’ve answered a prompt called Squeaky Wheel. It’s just a fun thing to do, and if it strikes you, I invite you to do it too. It comes in three parts, and the point is to challenge our creative writing minds (without the aid of brandy or tequila.)

selective focus photography of classic car die cast models
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com


Write down six sounds or noises that kids’ toys make:

  1. Squeak!
  2. Purr
  3. Pop
  4. Pew Pew
  5. Woof
  6. “We’re all out of stock” (From the game Mall Madness
red light beams
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Use as many of those sounds as you can in a story starting with: The laser beam penetrated …

The laser beam penetrated the glass case. “Almost … there …” I whispered to Camdyn. Neither of us blinked as a billow of smoke rose from the spot the red glow met glass. We’d cased this joint dozens of times. Waiting for the moment.

Today – all the pastries would be ours.

Tarts. Cannoli. Butterfly-shaped flaky things with no names. It felt like a thousand years before the cut circle of glass fell through, dangerously close to the army of eclairs. We were so close!

I’d just wrested a paw full of bear claws when Camdyn spotted a cute catering manager walking toward the bakery case.

“Jumanji! Run kid, run!” I bellowed our abort-mission words as security reigned down on me. The kid carried out no fewer than 17 donuts. “We did it!” I murmured as I refused to let loose my grip on apple fritters in my hands. 

They say I woke up like that in the interrogation room.


Write a quick note from your fifteen-years-from-now self to your present self. Assure yourself that something that seems like a big squeaky creative problem now will turn out to be a minor laser blip on the screen of your writing life.

Hey, there way younger than me, me, from the future.

I’m still writing. And almost all gray! Just because there’s snow on the roof it doesn’t mean there isn’t fire in the belly. Or something. I know today you feel like you’re in rare air. And you are! Keep believing in the system you’ve created.

Don’t stop believing, or Journey will be PISSED. 

Those ideas brewing in your head will manifest.  You’ll see. I know today it seems difficult to find time to write, let alone develop plots you need. All that will come. Don’t focus too intently on that.


Listen. Keep talking to people. Stay open. Stay curious. But also stay diligent. Stay committed. Stay the course. If it feels wonky, fix it. Refine your process. Constantly. Absorb what you read. But live life.

Under the surface, the tumblers are clicking.

Thing is, the stuff you need to learn, you haven’t learned yet. But you will. And remember the guac when you do your book signings.


– me.

sandburg quote squeaky


  1. Theresa Muth says:

    Ah, does this have something to do with your donut Instagram post?
    That’s so cool you keep pushing yourself as a writer and focusing on your goals
    Go get ‘em, Coach

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      EVERYTHING has to do with donuts, Theresa. I have a lot to learn as a writer! (Including the spelling of your name, which I botched in the comment I just left on your blog)

  2. ❦Kara❦ says:

    Congrats on your victory! Finesse is so critical in bowling! Sounds like a fun book. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Turns out it was worth it for the book! There’s some fun stuff in here. I need a good writing prompt now and then. Or even a bad one.

      1. ❦Kara❦ says:



  3. ksbeth says:

    I love the pastry caper and as for noisy toys, I once bought a mosquito stuffed animal who buzzed for a friend’s daughter. she took the batteries out even before the party was over.

    glad you decided to give the book a whirl – who knows whet will come out of your brain, with a little encouragement ?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      We never, ever get the noisy toys for our own kids, do we? But it’s traditional to inflict that upon friends and family.

      The prompts get you thinking of different ways to think, i think.

  4. So do you actually bowl?
    A much deserved win, IMHO. I think are an excellent writer, Eli. Always a champion with your words. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I do sometimes. It was during the day, so I got paid to bowl, too. Thank you for your kind words, and I feel the same about you.

      The clouds post today was the most.

  5. And sometimes the squeaky wheel gets replaced. Don’t ever stop writing, please.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Yes it does, Meems. And I will keep writing so long as my fingertips cooperate!

  6. Great responses to the prompts, Eli. Nice story of raiding the bakery! I just now ate a delicious apple raspberry Danish with my tea. So good. Your letter to your younger self is very inspiring and funny. I should sit down and do the same. It would be interesting to see what my older self would have to say. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lisa. It was fun, and who wouldn’t want to heist a bakery? Apple raspberry danish … I’m hoping you posted this beauty on Instagram. Sounds delicious, and really, equal to a salad.

      Thanks about my letter! I’d love to see what you’d tell your younger self. Or, your now self, from your older self. You know what I mean.

  7. my30somethingadventures.wordpress.com/ says:

    Laughing out loud at that quote about the squeaky wheel and duck.
    I’m not much of a bowler but I have played bowls many times with my in-laws and it is a lot of fun.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I hadn’t heard that one until I found it, Anthea. Bowling’s a blast, especially if there’s beer and pizza near.

  8. Loving the quote at the end of your post today – ha! Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks! I try to find a good one for down there … plus they’re pinnable as hell.

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