Respark that writing resolution before February fades. 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 for all writing genres. Non-writing mediums can make use of them, too: just swap out the word “write” for “draw” or “choreograph” or your generative verb of choice. We recommend not overthinking it. Set your phone to airplane mode, silence your inner editor, and go!
- Not just for kids! Play with acrostics, in poetry or prose. You can always edit out the opening words, but first, see where the constraint takes you.
- Write a scene in which a wheel, or gear, has ceased to work as expected and is causing problems. Can be literal or metaphorical.
- Recall a recipe or meal from your past, much-beloved or much-abhorred. Write the recipe and steps for preparation (whether real or imagined) in painstaking detail.
- Pick a single topic and write in different locations: chairs, rooms, spaces, even outside. Write for up to five minutes in a space, then switch. Try for at least five spaces. This could be as simple a different chair at the dining room table or a different spot on the couch. How does the location change the content?
- Write ekphrastically to an unexpected source, something decidedly un-beautiful (a diagram on insect repellent) or commercial (the photo in a toothpaste ad, a business logo). Look around you for images you wouldn’t consider art.
- Think about the floor, wherever you are. Examine it closely for at least two minutes. Consider its construction and lifeline, see what you can ascertain through your senses. Then free write, either about the floor or about wherever the floor has led you.
- Do this same exercise but consider an imagined or invented floor—a dirt floor three hundred years ago, the floor of the ocean. ‘Examine’ it by sketching it for two minutes or more. Then write.
- Now focus on a ceiling, yours or otherwise.
- Use an image of industrial ruins as the starting point for a poem or piece of prose.
- Think about a time when the weather changed abruptly—a sudden summer thunderstorm, a blizzard that came out of nowhere. Write about the moments just before, or just after.
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: ‘Woodpile in Spring,’ by Submittable team member Ben Bloch]