Write On Wednesday – Poetic Inspiration

This week is the anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns.  While I’m cooking up some haggis and pouring a whisky in his immortal memory, I have a writing prompt for you that celebrates not just Robert Burns, but all poets.

poetry book and quill

The Prompt

Write a story inspired by a poem

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Picture Prompt

Sometimes it takes a traditional writing prompt to get us writing…and that’s perfectly OK. When you could write about absolutely anything, that’s too much choice, and can be paralyzing.

So this month at StoryADay I’m focused on providing prompts and info to get you to your writing as quickly as possible. Today, it’s a picture prompt.

close-up of person tying walking boot. Outdoors, scarf, grass.

The Prompt

Write a story inspired by this picture

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] The Not-Writing Prompt

Sometimes ‘writing’ doesn’t meant putting words on the page. Today’s prompt is designed to help you get comfortable with this reality of life as a writer.

(For more on this idea, read “Does Thinking Count As Writing?“)

"Win" illustration

The Prompt

Pick and implement a ‘tiny win’ for today, that doesn’t involve writing new words.

Tips

It’s very important to feel the reality that not everything in a writer’s life is about adding words.

These suggestions are designed to help you carve our time not just for writing, but for ‘writing’ (all the other stuff that goes with it).

Choose from one thing from this list (or make up something similar) and carve out 15-20 minutes to focus on it. Turn off all your notifications and just allow yourself to focus.

Then report back, to let us know what you did, and to celebrate!

  • Find a tiny notebook in your stash (you know you have a notebook stash!) and commit to carrying it with you every day for a week, so you can capture ideas. Start by writing down something you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell right where you are, right now.
  • Read a story by someone else and write down everything you love and hate about it.
  • Go for a walk or get some other kind of exercise that gets your blood pumping. Bonus points for getting out of your usual space. (Your brain is connected to the rest of your body. Take care of them!)
  • Write a review of a book you loved and always meant to get around to reviewing. Bonus points: write a letter to the author, if they’re still with us (you can send it to the publisher listed in their books). Connecting to the rest of the writing world builds your commitment to your craft, and reminds you that authors are just people. Hey, you’re a person! Maybe you DO have a right to write, too!
  • Ask another writer how they’re doing. This can be someone who seems to be doing “so much better” than you. (Connect on Twitter or some other social media site.) Trust me they’ll appreciate it. And again, building your connections with the greater writing world will help you feel more committed, and stop you from slinking off and saying “I could never be a real writer so I might as well not try”. Of course you can be a writer. And having connections with people in the writing world helps remind you of that.
  • Revise a short story or scene that you’ve previously written. Focus on crafting one sentence you really love, somewhere in that piece.
  • Rework a story or scene to cut it down by 10% of its word count. Be ruthless (work on a copy if you have to!). What does that do for the story and your prose?
  • Set a timer and spend 20 minutes (no more! It’s a rabbit hole!) researching publications you might want to send stories to.
  • Doodle or illustrate a story you previously write. You might draw a portrait of a main character, sketch the house they live in, or splash colors on the page to represent their personality.
  • Make a Pinterest board of interesting characters and places you can use in stories (thanks to MoniqueAC for this suggestion!). Again, set a timer, because this is meant to be a tiny win, not a new lifetime project!
  • Go on–or book–what Julia Cameron calls an Artist’s Date. What inspires you? For me it’s often music. For you, it might be art. Can you book an outing now, to an art museum, a live music concert, a play? Can you put a time on your calendar to walk in your favorite park, or call your funniest friend?

What other tiny wins can you think of? What did you try and how did it go? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

[Write On Wednesday] A New Angle

In this month of stealing worlds, characters and ideas (from yourself and others), this prompt encourages you to take another look, from a new angle.

watching

The Prompt

Tell a story in someone else’s universe, from the perspective of a secondary, overlooked, or unnamed character

Tips

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[Write On Wednesday] Multiple Choice

In honor of all the kids I know who will be spending this morning filling in bubbles on test papers, let’s use the weirdness of the short story form to try something a little different today.

Standardized Test Close-Up

The Prompt

Write a story in the form of a multiple-choice test

Tips

  • It seems to me this would be perfect for a break-up letter. One person could provide questions about the relationship or the break-up, with multiple answers for the recipient (and the reader) to choose from.
  • I’m thinking about writing a murder mystery in this format.
  • A horror story could also be fun
  • You could parody the form. You remember? One answer is always ridiculously wrong, one is right, one could be right and the other one is wrong, but not-as-obviously.
  • Or you could ignore that, and just write amusing/terrifying answers.

I’m not going to write any more tips because I just came up with this prompt and I’m really, really curious to see what you you do with it!

If you share you story somewhere (and here’s why you might not want to) post a link here so we can come and read it.

Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

2019 Day 30 – Roll Call

This it! The end of StoryADay 2019! You are an absolutely rockstar for being here today!

Do me a favor? Leave a comments below, and answer these two questions:

  1. How many stories did you write
  2. Did you meet your goal (or get close enough to feel proud of yourself)?

But don’t forget to write today’s story.

The Prompt

About A Writer

Normally I don’t encourage stories about writers because it seems kind of cheap (and uninteresting for the readers), but today I think you’ve earned it.

  • Use this prompt to write a story about a writer like yourself who has just undergone a big challenge.
  • Or satirize the idea of writing about a writer.
  • Or use it any other way that occurs to you. (And hey, it worked for Stephen King, so who am I to question it?)

Use all the tricks you’ve been practicing this month to show us what a day in the life of a writer can be.

Planning Ahead

You’ve achieved so much this month. I’m so proud of you.

To keep the momentum going, mark your calendars for these StoryADay events throughout the year.

  • Serious Writer’s Accountability Group (SWAGr) – 1st of every month (sign up for reminders here)
  • Critique Week, October 20-17 – A chance to get your story reviewed by your peers and by me (more details coming soon)
  • NaNoWriMo Support Group – for members of the Superstars group only.
  • Critique Week, February 22-29 – A chance to get your story reviewed by your peers and by me (more details coming soon)
  • And much more, including weekly writing prompts on Wednesdays, posts in The Reading Room, podcasts, interviews, and workshops.
  • Use the StoryADay Events calendar to stay up to date

Go!

Don’t forget to leave a comment saying how many stories you wrote this month, and how you feel about it! Then come back tomorrow to record your June goals in the SWAGr post.

2019 Day 29 – The One

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

Write The Story You’ve Been Waiting To Write

I’ve been making you jump through hoops all month, but there has to be one story that has been nagging at you, patiently waiting its turn.

Today is that day.

Take everything you’ve learned this month, about

Use your favorite discoveries from this month, to set your story free today.

Go!

What did you write about today? Did you use any of the lessons from this month? Leave a comment.

2019 Day 28 – Closing Line

How did you get on yesterday? Did you write a story?

Remember, set your own rules, and stick to them. If you miss a day, don’t try to catch up. Just keep moving forward!

The Prompt

ENDING LINE: As the sun went down that night, I knew it would rise, tomorrow, on a very different world.

Think about this line and what kind of mood you would like it to convey. What kind of mood do you want your story to take today?

Sometimes our stories can veer off track: we feel like writing a funny story and suddenly we’re crying over our keyboards; or we want to write Gothic Horror and somehow end up with Clueless.

Starting with the end in mind, can help with that.

(Feel free to change the syntax and pronoun in this, to fit your story.)

Go!

So how’s it going this week? Are you tired or have you caught your second wind?