Strategy Sundays: Creating a Writing Prompt

As a writer who frequently gets bored with typical writing ideas and suggestions, I knew that someday I would need to create my own writing prompts in order to fuel my creativity and my spark. So, for someone who gets bored with 90% of the writing prompts out in the world, how do I go about creating writing prompts for myself, and then how do I share them with others? For me, writing prompts begin in one of two places: * a photography walk * a coffeshop/library/restaurant

Visual Inspiration

When I'm building prompts, I look at the world around me and capture it in moments, in snippets. When I am out walking through the neighborhood, through my city, I use my iPhone to capture the moments I see and carry them home with me. For example:

I found this while walking to the post office one day. I nearly peed myself laughing so hard. What is a giant, dreaded banana doing in a shop window? Well, it's the mascot for a tiki restaurant, and it is still there {I see it often}.

When I looked back at this photo on my computer, I again laughed hysterically. And it inspired me to write a poem about a rasta-banana {which will never see the light of another's eyes, but was hilarious nonetheless}.

Conversation Fodder

Having hinky internet means that I spend a lot of time working in coffee shops and libraries. In Madison, this means that there are some amazing opportunities for overhearing the conversations of others {here, it seems people are outspoken and not worried about others hearing their laundry in public}. So when I am out and about, I make sure to keep my journal handy so I can write down the random snippets I hear while I'm working. When I need something to write about, I turn to the page of snippets I've collected and grab a phrase to use as a starting point. Sometimes it's a phrase, sometimes a question, sometimes a request. Always interesting.

Here's one I heard last week:

I'm certain that he knows how much I love him -- I wrote it in lipstick across his pillow this morning.

Where to Go From Here

I don't just collect writing ideas for myself. In August 2011, I realized I wanted to share writing prompts with others. They're not your average writing prompts, which means that I don't feel so awkward sending them out {there isn't an expectation for pretty, flowery language or deep inspiration. Sometimes they are silly (see banana above) or just everyday moments from a life}. So I created Prompting the Soul, a writing prompt service for sharing these snippets with the world. Three times weekly, effortlessly in your inbox, and designed to inspire your writing and pique your curiosity about the world.

Curious about these writing prompts, and want to know more? Check out the Prompting the Soul page for more information!

Special Sale!!!

From now until Monday, January 23rd at 11.59pm CST, get six months of Prompting the Soul FOR FREE when you purchase Living in the Mystery, a workbook filled with writing prompts and inspiration for connecting to your personal stories. Enjoy!