Liberate your writing mind with these prompts
Some people think writing exercises are a waste of time. I heard one writer once say, “just write your story.” But I’ve found that writing prompts can be a doorway for something surprising – an intriguing plot or the birth of a character.
In one writing workshop I attended, participants were instructed to write about the tools they needed to do their job. I didn’t expect anything compelling but found that as I wrote, the words picked up steam, spilling out a very emotional essay about a story I had reported on as a journalist.
Since then, I’ve collected interesting exercises and think of them as warm-ups when I need to flex my writing muscles. As I was doing some reorganizing recently, I ran across a favorite book called The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing, by Bonnie Neubauer.
Here are a couple exercises from “The Write-Brain Workbook.”
Exercise 1 – Spoiled Rotten
List six disgusting things you’ve found in your refrigerator (or have heard others describe they have found in theirs.)
Use all six in a story. Start with, “Whenever he mentions Paris.”
Take the next step: Many wonderful ideas come while doing mundane tasks. Hang paper and a pencil on your refrigerator to record ideas that come to you while washing dishes; in your bathroom for ideas that come in the shower; and in the car for ling-disance drive inspirations. (Pull over to write, please!)
Do it now. Don’t miss out on a single creative writing idea!
Exercise 2 – Testing 1-2-3
Choose ONE word that most appeals to you:
Trophy, Bible, Inhale, Giraffe, Weed, Lava, Crush, Banana, Mask, Gas, Fender
Choose ONE setting that most appeals to you:
At a circus
During a war
In a space station
Under a full moon
On a beach
At a park
Choose ONE starting phrase that most appeals to you:
If I could stop
I once asked
The first day
If you must know
The hurricane neared
Start your story with your chosen phrase and incorporate the setting and word.
Take the next step: Many things come in threes, including three-word expression like, “live, love, laugh” and “hip, hip, hooray.” List as many as you can think of.
Include all the phrases in a story. Set a timer for ten minutes. Ready, set, go!