New year nearby, fresh motivation. Looking for a starting point, or some inspiration for your work? We’ve assembled a list of prompts for creative encouragement.
The following prompts should be broad enough to apply to all writing genres. Non-writing mediums can make use of them, too: just swap out the word “write” for “draw” or “choreograph” or whatever is your generative verb of choice. We recommend not overthinking it. Set your phone to airplane mode, silence your inner editor, and go!
- Experiment with writing on different sizes and colors of paper, from very small to very large (anything besides 8.5 X 11 white paper). Observe what happens. How does the writing change? Which type is better for which project?
- Write about a hole in a pocket, a crack in a bottle, or any other failing of structural integrity.
- Use Google Books, search for any topic (e.g., ‘fish’ or ‘flying’), then select Tools. Limit your search to a time in the past. Select a book and pull a line from it (the stranger the syntax, the better). Use this as a title, a jumping-off point, or include the line (full or in portions) within a poem or piece of prose.
- Follow the instructions in the prompt above but find an image to use as inspiration.
- What is some habit, behavior, or belief that you could stand to let go of? Write about it.
- Go to Ebay’s Antiques section and choose an item (or several) to include in a story or poem.
- Embrace marginalia, in any number of ways. Annotate a page or two of a text, then use something (or all of what you wrote) in a piece of writing. Go through your old books or go to a used book store and mine for gold.
- Write a persona poem or a story in the voice of someone who shares your name or was born on your birthday.
- Engage with Craigslist Missed Connections – write one or respond to one (privately or publicly).
- Consider mapping, cartography, and navigation. Use the language of the explorer and map-maker to investigate or interrogate boundaries and geography. Find a map and use a place name.
Did you miss earlier prompts lists? Here they are.
[Art: ‘Trees and Grasses in Late Fall,’ by Submittable team member Ben Bloch]