A few years ago, I went to graduate school and got a degree in creative writing, specifically poetry. There were a lot of things about grad school that weren’t great, but one of the best things I got out of it was the writing prompts.
Writing is a great way to cope with our situation right now. Journaling can help us process the incredible and terrifying changes we’re currently experiencing, writing our own fictitious world can help us regain a sense of control and pleasure, and really any kind of writing can help simply pass the time while we wait for the world to be safe again.
The trouble is, for me at least, I struggle to sit down and actually write. Whether it’s writer’s block or just the fear of writing something “bad,” I tend to spend far more time wanting to write than I do actually writing. Then I remembered some of my grad school writing prompts. I did some of my best work in grad school. I know that’s partially because I was devoting nearly all my time and energy to my writing, but another big reason I wrote so much and wrote so well is because of the prompts we had in class.
Now, I want to share my favorite one with you.
This prompt works well for any genre, from journaling to poetry, and it always helps get me unstuck when I have writer’s block. You may need to alter a few things, like if you write fiction, instead of writing from your point of view, you can pick a specific character. But I’ve used this prompt in pretty much every type of writing I can think of, and it helps get me started every time.
The most important thing, we were told over and over in every class, is to just keep writing. Just keep your pen moving for the allotted time. Even if you have to literally write “I’m writing something I don’t know what to write what am I doing,” just keep writing something.
Okay, so go get a pen and paper (no computers if you’re physically able to write, the physicality of it can be a huge kickstarter for creativity, trust me), and follow along!
Body Memory Writing Prompt
- Pick a body part.
- List one through five on your paper.
- Take 30 seconds and come up with five memories that could be associated with that body part.
- Choose one memory that sticks out to you the most. Circle it.
- List one through ten on your paper.
- Take one minute and come up with 10 sensations that body part may have experienced throughout the memory you chose.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write.
It might seem simplistic, but I absolutely love this prompt. I think it speaks to me so effectively, personally, because I have such a tenuous connection with my body. I tend to think of myself as a floating head, so focusing so intensely on a specific body part and memories associated with it brings a fresh perspective to my writing.
So if you’re bored in the house and in the house bored, or if you’re a writer struggling with writer’s block in these difficult times, give it a shot. If you want more prompts, just let me know in the comments, I’m happy to share!