Today’s writing prompt is about fine-tuning your skills when writing dialogue. See the full writing prompt in today’s post, and my completed version of the prompt called, The Patient Therapist.

Today’s Writing Prompt: The day my therapist told me…

Make the first sentence of your piece of writing for this writing prompt start with, “The day my therapist told me…”, where you complete the sentence yourself. Before you start writing, consider why someone would want or need to talk to a therapist. When you start writing, write from the first-person perspective. And write at least 300 words of dialogue between the main character and their therapist. Also, remember that your writing can be entirely fictional, so get as creative as you’d like.

Quick note. If you are considering therapy, here are a few resources to look at: 6 Reasons to See a Therapist and 988lifeline.org.

Keep scrolling to see my completed version of this writing prompt.

The Patient Therapist, by K.E. Creighton

The day my therapist told me to get a hobby, I laughed in her face. It was rude, on a multitude of levels, I know. But I couldn’t help it. The burst of laughter came reflexively, unanticipated. And, to be fair, Dr. Thompson telling me to get a hobby was like her telling me to get a life… a much different life, from the same one she also had.

It shouldn’t come as a shock that I was in therapy for workaholism, then. My husband of fifteen years, James, had given me an ultimatum one night when I came home from work after ten. He had said I needed professional help. He used those exact words too, “professional help,” and said that if I didn’t start working less he wanted a divorce.

And I loved…love, my husband, at least as much as my job. I also didn’t want to be divorced twice before my fortieth birthday. It would have been beyond catastrophic for business. I’m a therapist for families, you see. And I enjoy keeping families together, for the most part.

So, there I was, a therapist talking to another therapist with what I thought was ridiculous advice. She might as well have asked me to fly to the moon.

“A hobby?” I asked, with disdainful emphasis on the ‘o.’

“Yes, that’s what I said.”

“As in knitting or painting kittens with watercolors?”

“Well, yes, if that’s what you want to do for a hobby. Sure.” Dr. Thompson remained even-keeled.

I resented this new dynamic, in which I was the patient, as I was usually in her position and able to remain more stoic. But not now, because I was the patient.

“Listen, you know as well as I do how much the people in the world need us right now. Especially families with small children. We’re going through a pandemic. Everyone is strapped for cash or going through a job change. People are really lonely and lost and desperate right now. I can’t abandon them to go paint kittens or knit mittens people don’t even want.”

“Who is asking you to abandon anyone? Or knit mittens?”

“Well, you are. My husband is.”

“How so?”

“Okay. If I get a hobby that I don’t even want, then how will I have enough time to take care of my patients and consider their cases? My caseload is growing almost exponentially by the day.”

“How do you know you don’t want a hobby if you won’t even consider starting a hobby?”

“I am not painting kittens with watercolors. Or knitting itchy mittens doomed to remain in the back of a drawer forever.”

“Okay. What about something else? Is there anything else you would enjoy doing that you haven’t done in a while?”

“Play the flute, I guess. It’s been decades though.”

“So, try playing the flute tomorrow.”

“I am a terrible flautist. I actually got kicked out of marching band in high school. I was that bad.”

“Do you need to be good at it, to enjoy playing the flute as a hobby?”

“Yes, I do.”

I paused, then continued, “Fine. You got me. I am a perfectionist. And I’m terrible at personal relationships and afraid of them because I’m a perfectionist. So, I bury myself in work and others’ relationships to avoid my own. But because I’m human, I get incredibly lonely and anxious and robotic when I don’t nurture my own personal relationships. And that inevitably affects my work and my ability to help others with their relationships, and so the cycle goes.”

I paused again. Then said, “So, fine. I’ll go play the flipping flute.”

Dr. Thompson looked at me with a neutral expression for a few seconds, then said, “Oh. That’s good. Very good. Better than what I came up with, in fact. At least, it would have taken me a few more sessions to uncover that. So, let’s pick up next week at the same time. After you play the flute, then?”

“Sure. Sounds good.”

I purchased a used flute on the way home that day and started playing it that night and every evening after, for at least one hour. Most dreadfully. And now James and I spend a lot more time together too because I’m home more playing the flute. But I think he might want to divorce me still, although for another reason entirely…

[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons or places are purely coincidental.]

Notes on Completing this Writing Prompt

I think it would be interesting to witness a therapist talking to another therapist as a patient, so that’s the direction my writing went in for this prompt. There are so many directions this writing prompt can go in, so it was difficult to narrow it down at first. I went in this direction to try and keep it interesting.

If you complete this writing prompt, be sure to share your draft with members of our writing community. We’d love to read it! Be sure to tag #DailyDraftsAndDialogues and @kecreighton on Medium, WordPress, or Facebook, so we can read what you write for this writing prompt. Get creative! Let’s see how many different versions of this prompt can be written.

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