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  • Writer's pictureAlison

Take 20: Chapter 1 - the fuel tank writing exercise

Updated: Mar 11, 2021

Our first Take 20 exercise is an invitation to reflect on how well resourced you feel and what small changes you could make. By resources we mean your energy levels, mental, emotional and physical. In other words what you have in the tank. Where is the gauge on your fuel tank, and how could you top it up, just a little bit?

Whilst we can’t change the big context, we can reflect on how we are looking after ourselves, (the walk, the bubble bath, connecting with a loved one) and some of the small choices, like engaging in our Take 20 practices, taking 20 minutes for you.

This writing exercise is a great way of letting your thoughts flow, without the interruption of your internal editor. It help’s work through and express your feelings, or acknowledge where you are in relation to something in the moment. The purpose is to express where you are, not where you think you ought to be, or others need you to be. It’s about acknowledging and meeting yourself where you are.


You will need a a pen and paper. Settle yourself in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Bring to mind how you feel, your energy and how much fuel you have in the tank.

Round 1

Now write continuously for the next five minutes. Keep the pen on the page, and don’t stop writing, if you run out of words then say so, just keep on writing until the next thought comes. If it’s uncomfortable that’s OK, it’s different for everybody. Trust the process and keep going, there is no right or wrong, this writing is just for you.

Round 2

Please pause. Now read what you have written, circle or highlight three words that feel important or meaningful and now write about those. Again, don’t over think it, trust your instinct and write about those continuously for the next five minutes.

Round 3

Again let’s pause, read what you have written, circle or highlight three words, and write about them continuously for five minutes. Remembering to switch off that self editing button and just write!

Round 4

Pause and highlight three words that feel important. You should now have nine highlighted words that are important and meaningful to you. Looking at your nine highlighted words, please write yourself a heartfelt message, a line of wisdom from you to you that will resource you as you go about your day.

If you like this exercise a downloadable version is below:

Take 20 - chapter1_fueltank
Download PDF • 189KB

Inspired and adapted from The Write Place™ with thanks to Elaine Patterson and Karyn Prentice of PattersonPrenticeDesigns

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