“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski
It could be the flashing cursor on an empty white page of your word processor. Or, it could be a crinkled sheet of lined paper that you overhand throw into a waste basket. No matter what it looks like, we all know what it means: writer’s block. Luckily there is a cure, and all you have to do is write.
Here are some writing prompts to get your brain in the write place.
Take a story that you love, and add onto it. Love “Modern Family”? Write a short story about the Dunphys going to the zoo. Love The Shining? Write about the next caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.
With the characters, setting and style already determined, you’ll be free to focus on developing a plot.
2. A Mysterious Note
You wake up late on a Saturday. The rain patters at your window and the gray, cloudy light creeps into your room through the closed curtains. You put on your usual weekend outfit, make a cup of coffee and get ready to read your favorite book. But when you walk past your front door, you see a note that someone slid underneath. It says “Meet me at the corner grocery store tonight at 8 p.m.” What happens next?
3. Back to School
Exercise your ability to set a scene. Think back to grade school. Can you remember a specific classroom? Use your imagination to sit at your old desk. What do you see, smell or hear? Be specific. Don’t forget the posters on the wall, the position of the clock or the color of the carpet.
Someone stole something dear to you. The loss of this stolen object changes you; you are reborn. Your life now solely consists of taking revenge on the villain who stole your most precious possession. How do you train? What is your plan of attack? What does the villain look like? What object did the thief steal?
It’s amazing how freeing it can be to write with strict guidelines. Your project may not be fun to read, but you may find that it’s very fun to write. Here’s an example:
Poem Project Rules
- Write a poem that is 24-lines long
- The first word in every line must start with the letter “U”
- The rhyming pattern must remain “ABAB” throughout the entire poem
- The poem must contain the word umbrella, furrow and green at least once
You are very familiar with the forest near your town. You hike the hills regularly and often joke that you can walk the trails with your eyes closed. One day, you decide to go off-trail. You’re excited, but eventually you feel less than adventurous. You turn back to find the trail before it gets dark. As dusk sets in, you realize the trail cannot be found. What do you do?
To help you work on character development, check the personals or classified section of your newspaper. Pick one at random, and then write a story about the seller. Is a man selling a green guitar? His band was about to be signed by a record label, when he discovered that his dog needed surgery. The man must now sell his guitar to save his dog’s life.
Did you use one of these prompts? Post part of your writing exercise in a comment below.