Category — Writing prompts
April 7, 2014 Comments Off
Write about a time you won something, whether a literary award or a round of poker. Do you generally feel lucky or unlucky, and why or why not?
March 31, 2014 Comments Off
Write about the last time you (or one of your characters) used an umbrella, as protection either from rain or from sun. Describe the scene in detail.
March 24, 2014 Comments Off
Write about a time your were at the mercy of nature, whether getting caught in the rain or in a tornado.
March 17, 2014 Comments Off
March 10, 2014 Comments Off
March 3, 2014 Comments Off
Write about a leaking roof…or window…or radiator. Be detailed, and create a scene (which may or may not be true to the actual story) around the damage or perceived damage.
February 24, 2014 Comments Off
Write about a time you did something absentminded, like locking your keys in the car or wearing two different shoes to work. Include all the details about what was going on in your life at the time. (Fiction writers: This is also an excellent exercise to do with your characters.)
February 17, 2014 Comments Off
February 10, 2014 2 Comments
February 3, 2014 Comments Off
January 27, 2014 Comments Off
Write about the most unusual pet you’ve ever had — whether it was not usual, like a reptile or insect; or whether it was a fairly normal pet, like a cat, with a very unusual personality. Describe a scene in your life with this pet.
January 20, 2014 Comments Off
Write about your favorite bedtime story when you were a child. Now that you’re older, how has this story held up? Do you read it to the children in your life, and why or why not?
January 13, 2014 Comments Off
You’ve made your resolutions. You’ve set aside time to write. You’ve got your writing space all set, you’ve got all the time you need — and yet, nothing’s happening.
What to do when you’ve finally made the time to write — but you’re not inspired?
First, don’t panic; it happens. This is one reason I so enjoyed this article on procrastination in the New York Times. Writing can be such a daunting endeavor that of course we put it off. Note, however, as this article points out, that by procrastinating we in fact get quite a lot done. (It just may not be our writing.) The article quotes Robert Benchley, the Algonquin Round Table member: “The psychological principle is this: anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.”
Another reason I think we writers may freeze up once we finally give ourselves the time to write is that we are so overwhelmed by all we feel we need to accomplish that we’re paralyzed. Whether it’s a writing retreat or just a few hours in the afternoon, we feel the pressure to create and that, in turn, kills our creativity.
So here are a few tips for you so that you can make the most of your writing time once you have it.
- First, read this New York Times piece. It has some great advice for how to trick your procrastinating self into accomplishing what you need to do.
- Also, at the risk of sounding like a broken record lately: Create a list of works. If you already have one, take it out and update it. When I did this last year, I finished four new short stories within a couple months. Now that we’re in yet another new year, I did this recently and am already outlining a new project. Thanks to Priscilla Long for the most brilliant idea for writers ever.
- Check in with a writing buddy, your writers’ group, your therapist — whoever can give you a little boost, and/or point out reasons why you might be facing Resistance. (For more on Resistance with a capital R, check out The War of Art, which is sure to inspire you).
- Do a few prompts. You’ll find new ones every Monday here on this blog, and you can also check out Everyday Writing for a whole book of them (as well as other tips for busy writers). I’m getting fantastic prompts from Judy Reeves’s Daily Appointment Calendar for Writers, and Brenda Miller’s & Holly Hughes’s The Pen and the Bell.
- Treat your writing time as if it’s time on the job. You are here to do a certain thing in a certain amount of time. Be your own boss: Set yourself a goal, however big or small, and do your best to accomplish it. Whether it’s finishing a new a scene or revising your first few chapters, choose a task to complete. Just the act of getting started is likely to awaken the muse and get you into the zone.
January 9, 2014 Comments Off
Write a letter to yourself about what you want to accomplish this year — with your writing in mind, of course.
Include everything from your ideal writing practice to sending out submissions to books you’ve always wanted to read. Include advice to yourself on how best to accomplish these goals, such as what you might have to sacrifice in order to fit in your writing and reading time, or by encouraging yourself to take a retreat.
January 6, 2014 Comments Off