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A simple prompt that reveals new writing ideas

I believe you have to make your own writing inspiration rather than waiting for it to happen. I’ve found I can generate inspiration by being observant, reading, and by using writing prompts and freewriting. Even when I feel resistance, I find that if I just start, I surprise myself.

One of the most effective prompts I use is one in which I type or write in a notebook, “I remember.” Then I time myself for about 20 minutes and list everything I can think of. If you’re trying to access memories for a memoir or to spark a short story or poetry ideas, you’ll be surprised at what this exercise reveals.

The second step is to do the same thing with the phrase, “I don’t remember.” You might think, “how can I write about what I don’t remember if I don’t remember it?” Have faith. These prompts are a good way of letting go of writing resistance. These exercises, especially done together, have a way of revealing themes and emotional moments that will take your writing to a whole new level.

What are your favorite ways to warm up for writing or excavate new ideas?

For more ideas to nurture writing inspiration, read Carol’s post, Four ways to cultivate writerly inspiration.

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