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Write Right Now (With Time on Your Hands)


Happy belated summer solstice, peak of long days with much light. For this week’s creative prompts, the theme is time. Take a moment to pause over, in writing, this most human of inventions—or art it out, whatever your medium may be.

  • Take a book off the shelf and flip through, selecting 10 nouns at random (the stranger the better). Write these choices down. Create similes or metaphors about the concept of time using these words. Expand on one or more in verse or prose. For example, ‘time is an onion, layers around a center.’ ‘Time is like a chair, appreciated for utility but loved most when missing.’
  • In one page, describe the events of a single day (whether real or imagined). Then, in one page describe the events of a single hour. Then, a minute. Focus in on time and slow it down, expand it.
  • Describe a moment when time seemed to drag. Or moved faster than you would’ve liked it to.
  • Include multiple timepieces in a single piece of writing. See these watchesclocks, and  early devices for inspiration.
  • Recall (or invent) a moment characterized by exceptionally bad timing, whether by yourself or someone else. Write about it.
  • Gather a variety of writing utensils and different sizes/types/colors of paper. Set multiple alarms for random intervals (on your phone, computer, or even that retro CD-alarm clock). For example, have one sound at 3 minutes, one 30 seconds later, another 5.5 minutes after that. Begin freewriting and when an alarm goes off, switch your tool and your paper.
  • Write about measuring time with something not expressly intended for that purpose, like cracks in a floor, scuffs on a boot, or weeds in the flowerbed.
  • Write about a memory, or scene, involving jet lag or other mental and physical adjustments to a different time zone.
  • Research your birthday or that of someone you love. What occurred on that day, in that particular birth year or other years? What were the stars and planets doing? Who else was born? Who died? Do any particular observances happen on that day? Follow one or more threads in a piece of writing.
  • Time flies. Time is money. Third time’s a charm. Use one of these time-based idioms as a starting point.

Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit and when it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.

[Photograph by Submittable team member Kelly Hart]