why I love a good writing prompt
+ one for you to take for a spin this week
Happy new year writing friends, and welcome to those joining the Writing in Company community! I took the last two weeks off from sending prompts out, and was able to spend time with family, and finish a big curriculum contract. All that felt important and needed. Still, I’m glad to be back to my usual routine. These weekly prompts help give me structure for my writing, and my days.
Some writers or journalers might work better without a prompt, but I’m not one of them. I need somewhere to begin; otherwise my brain can’t settle on one idea. With just a blank sheet or blinking cursor in front of me, my thoughts go like this:
Should I write about my love-hate relationship with New Year’s productivity pressure?
Our neurotic dog?
That idea I had about our words and the Word?
Maybe I could write about the sustainability challenge I’m in, wearing one wool dress for 100 days.
Or my spouse’s fountain pen obsession.
Or what I learned from baking with June over Christmas.
Wait, maybe I’ll start with a brain dump of everything off the top of my head and see what sifts to the top.
Where’s my pen? I just had it! Maybe I should reorganize my desk drawer first…
Without a writing prompt, I either don’t know where to begin, or I don’t begin at all. Beginning, for me, is the most difficult part of any writing project or session. Once my mind and my pen are connected and have started moving—even if I don’t know where they are headed—I am sure to discover something along the way.
Some writing prompts offer us both freedom and structure for our imagination. Rather than hamper our creativity, having boundaries can actually jumpstart it. Prompts with edges to them—a shape, a form, a style—can act as a container within which we are safe enough to freely roam with our thoughts and our words. The form gives us a way to begin.
Here’s one that might get you writing this week—a poem by Ruth Bavetta. (Thanks to my writing friend Kay for sharing it in a workshop.) As with any prompt, use it however you like. If something jumps out at you—a word, a phrase, an image, a memory—go with that thought. Otherwise, take the suggested form of giving directions to somewhere you have lived, and see where else your words take you.
a writing prompt
How to Get to My House —by Ruth Bavetta From Los Angeles, where I was born, take the San Bernardino Freeway east past San Gabriel, Glendora, Covina, up the hill by Forest Lawn, down into the traffic clumped where the 210 joins the 10. Turn on the radio if you like, there’s quite a way to go. Pomona, Claremont, Ontario. Here, if you want, you can turn off at the airport, catch a flight to someplace else. Fontana, Rialto, Bloomington. You may not have noticed it but the road has been climbing all the way. That’s San Bernardino on the left. You’re in Redlands now, the climb is a little steeper. Exit on the Yucaipa offramp. Just over the bridge, turn right on Highview. Stay there through two marriages, a divorce, a child custody suit, a brain tumor and a mother with Alzheimer’s. Soon you’ll reach where I live.
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Glad to know I am not the only one that might end up reorganizing my desk drawer if I don’t have some direction 😬And also, I need to know more about the 100 Days in the same wool dress!
Thanks for this prompt (to take for a spin. . .). Maps are ready. Let the drive begin! I love that prompts give us edges.