Your Next Lightbulb Moment: Writing Prompts to Get You Thinking CreativelyJul 11th, 2013 | By Lindsay Pietroluongo | Category: Lifestyle
Every creative mind sets out with the best intentions: to let their artistic side shine whenever it wants to, which hopefully is on a regular basis.
There are days when inspiration seems to strike at every moment, including inopportune ones – when you’re driving & can’t write anything down, in the middle of a business meeting when you start to daydream, in a dark movie theater with no way to record your thoughts.
Then there are the days when you need to be creative (because it’s scheduled in your work calendar), but you just can’t summon anything imaginative, genius or even plain ol’ interesting. Writer’s block – or composer’s block, or painter’s block, or whatever your outlet/medium may be – is more of an excuse than an actual condition.
That’s not to say that the only reason you can’t create is because you’re simply being lazy. Maybe your schedule is so overloaded that even if you had overflowing ideas, you don’t have a spare second to express them. Or maybe you haven’t even considered that you can actually jog your ingenuity & awaken your inner artist.
It’s a common misconception that the best writers & artists simply have brilliant ideas coming to them with no effort. The real professionals know that sometimes inspiration luckily hits & that other times you have to exercise it, like a muscle. When it comes to making a living from any kind of artistic endeavor, you can’t take days off of work because you don’t have anything clever to say.
This is the moment when writers call on muses & writing prompts to get their wheels turning. The first step to writing is thinking, & if you can’t do that then you’ll never put your pen to paper.
Here are some of my favorite writing prompts to spark something between the ears:
• A noise (or a silence) that won’t go away
• A less-than-remarkable aspect of your life
• Choose 10 random letters. Write a sentence with words beginning with each letter, in order. For example, letters C W I T S N E M B R could make the sentence, “‘Cynthia won?’ Ingrid teased, suddenly nauseous. ‘Emmet might be right…’”
• Start a paragraph with this sentence: “I could have avoided all that trouble if I’d only remembered to…”
• The hardest thing you ever had to tell your family
• The first time one of your wishes came true
• How & when you learned to drive
• The worst person you’ve ever met
• Someone has left a note on your car’s windshield…
• The moment you developed a new fear or superstition
• Reconstruct your first date
• A time when you felt like an insider
Nothing’s working? If you’ve really hit a writing wall, you may either have to shake up a piece of writing you’ve given up on or slowly back away from the computer for a few hours. Try one of these remedies:
• Add dialogue to a piece of writing that doesn’t have any yet
• Add one more sentence to 5 of your abandoned pieces
• Rename your characters
• Give yourself a deadline
• Write outside of your comfort zone. Poet? Write a memoir. Novelist? Write song lyrics.
• Read your work outloud
• Change your scenery. Get out of town for an hour or a weekend.
• Clean & organize your workspace
• Spend a day e-mail free
• Buy an expensive pen & a leather notebook
• Take up a new hobby & keep a journal of the experience
Lindsay Pietroluongo is a full-time freelance writer in the Hudson Valley. Her work has appeared in the Poughkeepsie Journal and Chronogram magazine. Lindsay also writes business content and marketing materials for professionals. Visit Lindsay on the Rocks and Poison Apple Ink to learn more. Lindsay can be seen on Hudson Valley Insider each Thursday under the Lifestyle section.