Writing Prompt

Wouldn’t it be nice every now and then to have something to use as sort of a springboard for creativity? Between school and work and the many other things that clutter our daily lives, sometimes it can be hard to find genuine inspiration, or to even think of ways to do so. That’s what we’re here for. Every week or so we’ll be posting a new writing prompt in case you’re one of the many that frequents that creative rut that so often comes with writing.  That said, to start off, today’s prompt is easy.

Take a poem you have already written and are not particularly fond of. Now, rearrange it any way that you want to. You may add or subtract words here or there, but try to do so infrequently. Make it an entirely different poem using the same words, just in a different pattern. See if you can become more satisfied with the poem simply by moving the words around.

This is actually a really great tip on how to improve or add a fresh perspective to your poetry, especially when you feel stuck or are unhappy with a poem you’re working on. In a poetry workshop class I had here at UTC, while workshop-ing one of my poems, my professor (the one and only Earl Braggs, to be exact), asked me to read a specific stanza of my poem backwards, that is, reading the last line first, the second-to-last line second, and so on, from the bottom up. Needless to say, it worked brilliantly, and to this day, that particular poem is saved with that revision.

So go ahead, try it! You never know what new things you might discover in something you’ve already written.


Dreaming of Prose: a Prompt

This week’s prose prompt asks you to pretend you are dreaming.  Write in detail about the dream you are having.  You can use stream-of-consciousness, or you can plan it out.  In this prompt, you can have a lucid dream where you direct the action and choose who, what, when, where, and how. How does the landscape look?  Who are the other characters in your dream?

Post what you come up with in the comments!

Cracking Open the Capsule: Prompts

This week we have two more prompts for all you aspiring writers. Read them, reread them, use them (they’re great on toast) and post your creative findings in the comments.

Underline a part in your writing that feels weak.  Instead of getting rid of it, write it at the top of a new page, probe it, crack it open.  What’s the image inside?  What treasures might be buried underneath?  Or put an equal sign next to a sentence or word that’s vague and clarify what you meant to say.

from Writing Toward Home by Georgia Heard

If you were to assemble a time capsule of your entire life, what items would you select or make reference to?  Reflect on things you have done and events that have happened in your lifetime.  What would the time capsule look like?  Why did you choose the items that you chose? Where would you bury it?

Listening: an Exercise

Write the longest sentence you can, followed by the shortest.  Listen to the music of the words dictating the punctuation.  When you read your favorite writers, become aware of how each has her or his favorite punctuation marks.  Reread things you’ve written and see what punctuation marks and rhythms you tend to favor.

from Writing Toward Home by Georgia Howard