Prompts to chase away writer’s block

by Autumn’s Child*
Words fly through my mind, in my eyes and out my ears,
Through my pores and rest on my lips.
As I walk through grocery stores they dance on melons.
Sitting by a fountain they gurgle with the falling water.
Adjectives and pronouns flutter in the whirring of the wings of bees.
A baby puts the words that were clinging to her rattle into her curious mouth.
A dog runs and jumps, catching the words that fly through the air.
And I pluck the words one by one from the literary tree growing in front of me,
Placing them in the growing tablet of my mind.
But as soon as I put the pen in my hand to the notebook in my lap,
Words scatter and vanish to secret hiding places
That even I cannot find.

* a poem I wrote in 2008

You finally get the time to sit down, uninterrupted, alone in a room with just you and your computer. You may have brought all your best ideas, or you may have come open-minded waiting for inspiration to hit. But as soon as your fingers hit the keyboard….it’s all gone. The words you’ve been mulling around have scattered into the wind. And you’re left grabbing at anything within reach as all usable ideas vanish from your sight.

Welcome to the huge boulder of writer’s block.

A few weeks ago, I attended an inspirational workshop on writing with Cheryl Strayed. While there, she led us through a series of writing prompts to get our creative juices flowing. We wrote about a time when something was over, or more specifically, when we KNEW it was over. We wrote about a time when we changed our mind about something we were once certain of, when we did something we never thought we’d do. We thought about the common theme in our writing, what one thing kept popping up that was screaming to be faced head on. And we wrote about a time we went “too far.”

When the project you’re working on just isn’t flowing the way you want it to, you may need to step away from it for a moment. But don’t just stop writing. Writing prompts are an excellent way to get your mind unblocked and encourage creativity once again.

Here are a few prompts to get you on your way:

– The moment in your childhood when you realized everything was NOT okay.

– A superpower you’d love to have, and what would happen if you had it.

– The moment when everything changed.

– Your favorite childhood toy. Bonus – make it come to life.

– Make a story out of the lyrics to a song.

– Go outside and people watch. Find the most interesting person within view. Write their story.

– What is something you’re struggling with? What if you had a magic object that could help you overcome it? Write about that.

– You’ve just won a million dollars. What happens next?

– Make up a conversation between you and your favorite author/hero/person.

– A time when your heart was broken.

– What it feels like to be lied to.

– Something about yourself you’ve never told anyone.

Here are a few other places to look for writing prompts that I found while trying to overcome my own writer’s block:

Cheryl Strayed shares her Writing Prompts

Writing Prompts 101

Writing Prompts Tumblr

50 Tips to Battle Writer’s Block

Have a surefire writing prompt? Share with the rest of us by leaving it in the comments!

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6 thoughts on “Prompts to chase away writer’s block”

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