Whether you’re traveling, trudging, juggling, or jamming, sometimes there’s only a brief moment to squeeze in some writing (or making). These prompts were designed for those times, and can be completed in 5-10 minutes each. Catch a bit of that magic light before the sun sets, anytime—your art is worth it.
- Stop. Look around. Make a list of as many round things as you can see. Pick one and describe it in great physical detail.
- Come up with character names for the following: an elderly woman at a beginning swing-dance class; a six-year old boy wearing a too-large sweatshirt; the smallest of a litter of seven puppies.
- Give one of these characters some words of bad advice.
- Search the ground around you for a piece of trash or lost item. Imagine a backstory.
- Write a comprehensible paragraph or stanza in English without using the letter “e”.
- Write a paragraph or poem using only (or mostly) the words from an opening narration for The Twilight Zone.
- In this Commonplace podcast, Sharon Olds recommends that writers take a moment to kiss their wrist. Kiss your wrist. Speed write about the resulting sensations.
- Read the horoscope for a sign belonging to someone you love. Respond with a single detail evoked by this experience from each of your five senses. No more than one line per sense.
- Take two minutes to draw your favorite writing space on a piece of paper. Fill the page. Include the cup for pens, the plant etc. For three minutes, fill the space with words.
- Help a friend rearrange a bookshelf in an unexpected or impractical way. Provide written instructions.
Did you miss earlier prompts lists? Here they are.
Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit, and revise, revise, revise. When it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.
[Art: ‘Two Evening Lakes From Above,’ by Submittable team member Ben Bloch]