I have always loved writing prompts. I remember in the fifth grade my teacher passed out the first paragraph of a story that we could finish. It had something to do with opening the doors of a giant, decrepit castle. It was a revelation, to see how a little seed might lead to something so much bigger.
Of course, the tale I wrote that day wasn’t brilliant. I’m not sure I even finished it. I have a tendency, even now, to embark on ambitious projects that test to the limits my skills and my ability to finish them. Rather than get frustrated, I view these challenges as an opportunity to learn more.
At least I try to view them that way. Don’t ask my family how that’s going.
These days, I like to use writing exercises as a way to warm up after a long absence from my longer manuscripts. Life has a way of getting in between me and my paper, sometimes for much longer than I like. When that happens, the idea of sitting down to a huge project is daunting. That’s when a short, intriguing workout is so helpful. Rather than focusing on the thousands of words that I need to finish up a novel, into which I’ve poured so much intense emotion and such big ideas, I can work in a smaller, more comfortable space. I can play with words, and enjoy expressing something more manageable.
I like to think that no words are wasted. Sometimes these exercises do find their way into a larger story, with tweaks. Sometimes a larger idea can hide within these little pieces of writing, and eventually lead to stories of their own. Even if that’s not the case, every time I put pen to paper, I am progressing as a writer.
I’m going to share some of my writing exercises with you. These prompts are going to have a lot of room for interpretation, and they aren’t intended to lead into a novel. Rather, my goal is to kick-start creativity for anyone who is feeling stuck, and maybe doesn’t have a lot of time. Which seems to be everyone.
Are you ready? Here is the first one.
Write about your favorite drink from the perspective of someone who loathes it.
Go get out a pen and paper, or your keyboard, and get writing. Let me know how it goes.