Prompting for Creativity

Sometimes, writers just get stuck.

I won’t call it writer’s block — in my world, that doesn’t exist. I think it’s a handy excuse for writers who’d rather bitch about not writing than explore why they’re not writing.

But sometimes, the words take their damn sweet time getting onto the page.

In those times, I use prompts.

I’ve bought a few books on poetry that have helped, but you don’t really need to buy a book in order to get the words moving again.

Try one or more of these prompts:

  • Write a poem about loss in the form of a news report.
  • Describe your up-close view of something mechanical. Now use those words to write a poem about relationships.
  • Write a poem about an object without ever using its name.
  • Write in the form of a recipe.
  • Choose the sixth sentence on page 36 of the book you’re reading. Start your poem with that.
  • Write from the perspective of someone who has been recently empowered.
  • Turn your most vivid dream, no matter how wild, into a poem.
  • Write a poem addressing the last person who broke up with you.
  • Now write a poem from that person’s perspective.
  • Write about something from your childhood that you’ve never told anyone.
  • Use a word from the subject line of your last incoming email as a metaphor in a poem.
  • Choose a word with a negative connotation or meaning. Choose a word with a positive one. Pair them as the topic of your poem.
  • Open a magazine and go to the first page of the cover story. Write down the first word from the first ten sentences. Write your poem using those words.
  • Read one poem from your favorite poet. Rewrite it using words taken from your last text message conversation.

The beautiful thing about poetry prompts — as you read them, you are coming up with your own or wanting to tweak what you’re reading to suit an idea that just came to you.

Do it. There are no rules to prompts other than use them to your best advantage.

Writers, leave your best prompts in the comments.

 

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