poetry writing prompts for college students

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Year after year, we review dozens of reader nominations, revisit sites from past lists, consider staff favorites, and search the far-flung corners of the web for new celebration of new year essay for a varied compilation that will prove an asset to any writer, of any genre, at any experience level. This selection represents this year's creativity-centric websites for writers. These websites fuel out-of-the-box thinking and help writers awaken their choke palahnuik and literary analysis. Be sure to check out the archives for references to innovative techniques and processes from famous thinkers like Einstein and Darwin. The countless prompts, how-tos on guided imagery and creative habits, mixed-media masterpieces, and more at Creativity Portal have sparked imaginations for more than 18 years. Boost your literary credentials by submitting your best caption for the stand-alone cartoon to this weekly choke palahnuik and literary analysis from The New Yorker. The top three captions advance to a public vote, and the winners will be included in a future issue of the magazine.

Poetry writing prompts for college students computer use in business essay

Poetry writing prompts for college students

Write a poem starting with one of these words you notice. Cold water: What feelings do you associate with cold water? Ghostwriter: Imagine an invisible ghost picks up a pen and starts writing to you. How To : Write a poem on how to do something mundane most people take for granted, such as how to tie your shoes, how to turn on a lamp, how to pour a cup of coffee.

Under 25 Words : Challenge yourself to write a poem that is no more than 25 words long. Out of Order: Write about your feelings when there is an out of order sign on a vending machine. Home Planet: Imagine you are from another planet, stuck on earth and longing for home. Compare and Contrast Personality : What are some key differences and similarities between two people you know? Goodbyes : Write about a time in your life you said goodbye to someone — this could be as simple as ending a mundane phone conversation, or harder goodbyes to close friends, family members, or former partners.

Imagine Weather Indoors : Perhaps a thunderstorm in the attic? A tornado in the kitchen? Would You Rather? Fabric Textures : Use different fiber textures, such as wool, silk, and cotton as a poetry writing prompt. Anticipation : Write about the feelings you experience or things you notice while waiting for something.

Circus Performers: Write your poetry inspired by a circus performer — a trapeze artist, the clowns, the ringmaster, the animal trainers, etc. Time Freeze : Imagine wherever you are right now that the clock stops and all the people in the world are frozen in place. What are they doing? The Spice of Life : Choose a spice from your kitchen cabinet, and relate its flavor to an event that has happened recently in your daily life. Parallel Universe : Imagine you, but in a completely different life based on making a different decision that impacted everything else.

Mad Scientist : Create a piece based on a science experiment going terribly, terribly wrong. People You Have Known : Make each line about different people you have met but lost contact with over the years. These could be old friends, passed on family, etc.

Last Words : Use the last sentence from the nearest book as the inspiration for the first line of your poem. Fix This : Think about something you own that is broken, and write about possible ways to fix it. Duct tape? A hammer and nails? Suspicion : Pretend you are a detective and you have to narrow down the suspects. Political News : Many famous poets found inspiration from the current politics in their time.

Open up a newspaper or news website, and create inspired by the first news article you find. The Letter D : Make a list of 5 words that start with all with the same letter, and then use these items throughout the lines of your verse. Quite the Collection : Go to a museum, or look at museum galleries online. Draw your inspiration from collections of objects and artifacts from your favorite display.

Examples: Pre-historic days, Egyptians, Art Galleries, etc. Standing in Line : Think of a time you had to stand in line for something. Maybe you were waiting in a check-out line at the store, or you had to stand in line to enter a concert or event. Junk Mail Prose: Take some inspiration from your latest junk mail. Recipe : Write your poem in the form of a recipe. This can be for something tangible, such as a cake, or it can be a more abstract concept such as love or happiness.

List ingredients and directions for mixing and tips for cooking up your concept to perfection. Do you like sweaters? Some people love their coziness, others find them scratchy and too hot. Use your feelings about sweaters in a poem. Overgrown : Use Little Shop of Horrors for inspiration, or let your imagination run wild on what might happen if a plant or flower came to life or started spreading rapidly to take over the world. Interference: Write a poem that is about someone or something coming in between you and your goals.

Locked in a Jar: Imagine you are a tiny person, who has been captured and put into a jar for display or science. Weirder Than Fiction: Think of the most unbelievable moment in your life, and write a poem about the experience. Unemployed: Write a poem about quitting or being fired from a job you depended on. Boxes: What kinds of family secrets or stories might be hiding in that untouched box in the attic? No One Understands : Write about what it feels like when no one understands or agrees with your opinion.

Criminal Minds : Write a poem from the perspective of a high-profile criminal who is always on the run from law enforcement. Marathon Runner : Write a poem about what training you might be doing to accomplish a difficult challenge in your life.

Passing the Church : Write a poem about noticing something interesting while passing by a church near your home. Luster: Create a descriptive poem about something that has a soft glow or sheen to it. Clipboard: Write a poem about someone who is all business like and set in their ways of following a system. Architect : Imagine you are hired to design a building for a humanitarian cause you are passionate about.

Movie Character : Think of a recent movie you watched, and create a poem about one character specifically, or an interaction between two characters that was memorable. Potential Energy : Write about an experience where you had a lot of potential for success, but failed.

Listen Up: Write a poem telling someone they are better than they think they are. Basket Case: Has there ever been a time when you thought you might lose your mind? Jot your feelings and thoughts down in verse form. Lucky Guess: Many times in our life we have to make a good guess for what is the best decision. Use this poetry idea to write about feelings related to guessing something right — or wrong.

Dear Reader: What audience enjoys reading the type of poetry you like to write? Craft a note to your potential audience that addresses their biggest fears, hopes, and dreams. Ladders in the Sky : Imagine there are ladders that take you up to the clouds. What could be up there? What feelings do you have about climbing the ladders, or is their a mystery as to how they got there in the first place?

Paranoia : What would it be like if you felt like someone was watching you but no one believed you? Coming Home to Secrets: Imagine a person who puts on a good act to cover up a secret they deal with at home. Productivity: Talk about your greatest struggles with time management and organization.

Signs of the Times : How has a place you are familiar with changed over the past 10 years? Sleepless Nights : What ideas and feelings keep you up at night? By George : You can choose any name, but think of notable figures or celebrities who share a common first name, and combine their personalities and physical characteristics into one piece of poetry. Shelter : Write a poem about a time you were thankful for shelter from a storm.

Cafeteria : Create a poem inspired by the people who might be eating lunch in a cafeteria at school or at a hospital. There are unlimited possibilities for ways you can use these poem ideas to write poetry. While not every poem you write will be an award-winning masterpiece, using these poem starters as a regular exercise can help you better your craft as a writer. I wanted to share it on here, so I hope you enjoy it! On shaking ground We are all love-bound Stuck in a crate Nobody can avoid this fate.

On shaking ground Our love is profound Although we are separate Better places await. Do you dread the dark; Or do you adore the stars? Do you really think the fire place is that warm; Or you just envy the night charms? The Eve so busy, that everyone forgets to praise its beauty.

The sun has set without anyone bidding him an adieu, Failed to demonstrate its scintillating view. And I sit; I sit and wonder till the dawn. What a peaceful time it is, To have a small world of your own. Away from the chaos, I found a soul that was lost. That bewitching smile held my hand, Carried me back to shore, letting me feel my feet in the sand. Then I saw my own soul fade, Fly into my heart, For what it was made.

Who am I? What have I done to myself? Many questions were answered in self reproach, The answers were still unspoken with no depth. Oh dear night, What have you done to me? Or should I thank you for putting a soul that I see. The nights spent later were now spectacular, My darkness somehow added some light to my life, Making it fuller… Everyday after a day, walking through the scorching lawns, I wait for the the dusk to arrive, and then explore myself till the dawn.

This is so amazing I ran out of words. Very lit thoughts beautifully penned. Keep writing like this dude. Thank you for the inspiration! That was beautiful! I am a writer too! Anyways, again, that was awesome! I am a Christian, and I love seeing people write about that kind of stuff! I am jim from Oregon. I am also a writer, not very good but active. I am a Christian as well as you are. Sometimes it is hard to come up with something to write about.

All of a sudden, I have started to write poetry. Do you like all forms of writing? I would enjoy reading some of you work if you would you would like to s if you would like to send me some. She sat looking out the window. The sweet smell of burnt pine emanating from her fireplace. The sky is blue and the sun shines bright. She closes her eyes for a second. She opens them again. The window is broken and scattered on the ground. The piano sits covered in ashes, every symphony played now just a distant memory replaced with a discordant melody.

The room smells of smoke and ash. The sky is dark and rain falls on the remnants of her home. Not a living thing in sight,not even her. This is amazing! I also love this blog post by thinkwritten. So helpful! Thank you so much for this article! I love the profundity and open-endedness of the prompts. In the snow She stands alone Wrapped in shrouds of mystery Her gentle hand gloved with giving Caressing A violet stone. Math class is dismissed But there still she sits Speaking to the ceiling in tender tones A soft and healing resonance Murmuring sweetly of ascension to Another, dearer dimension.

In homeroom Her classmate weeps Of missed planes and shattered dreams Quietly She strokes the hand of the suffering And whispers then of channeling Some celestial utopia called Arcturus Where she claims to have been. Please feel free to let me know where I need to improve! He swung his arm with force He caused a loud bang He hurt his own hand He left with some blood.

He is the man that punched the mailbox His hand dripped blood on it He left it with a dent He left it alone after that. Interesting tips and keywords for boosting inspiration. Take me back to those days, When I was allowed to dream, Where no one use to scream. Take me back to those days, When I was a child, Where I never use to find reasons to smile.

Take me back those carefreee days, When I was far away from school days. Take me back to those days , where every one used to prase, no matter how foolish i behave. Take me back to the day I was born, So that I could live those days again…………. I had good inspiration from 51, locked in a jar. I used it more metaphorically instead of literally. I need to move, I need to soar, I need to be able to speak my opinions and more.

Just wanted to add a twist to this promt. If anyone has any creative criticism, go ahead! My brain is out of order My thoughts have filled it to the brim Of my deepest thoughts of who I am Who we are As people We are out of order Never focusing on what we want Our passions All we ever get is work on top of work Pushing us down and down Like a giant hand Squeezing us into the depths of our depressions Until We can do anything But take it Anymore.

Was inspired by 77 listen up Listen up…….! When would you listen up! No matter who shut you up! Stand straight and look up! You might have been down Like you have no crown Because deep down You were shut down. There is still hope When there is life Yes! You can still cope If you can see the light Yes! Even in the night. Oh listen up! Please listen up and take charge, You are better than the best Listen up!

And oh! Please listen up. Clear glass is all i feel, apart from people, I hope I heal, I will never be equal,. You might want to get them doing some kind of activity themselves. Or maybe you want to pose them somehow, maybe with certain objects. You could simply begin to sketch notes and lines about what you see in front of you, and then finish the poem later. Mindstorm for five minutes — you might automatic write without letting your pen leave the page — and just pour out all the things the word makes you think of.

Memories of parents your own and other kids ; adverts; fictional characters; images; associations. Think verbs or nouns you associate with the word baking, the newspaper, darts, weepies, ironing, poohsticks ; character-traits reliable, stern ; expectations. Write down scents or tastes or sounds you associate with your own mother or father or yourself as a mother or father. Your notes will be the basis. Draft a prose poem that inhabits a moment from childhood, either real or fictional.

This should sharpen its focus. Next, do one of the following: i revise your poem into a single sentence, or ii revise your poem to make use of anaphora repeating the beginnings of sentences. Remember or imagine a scene of cataclysm or devastation. You can research an historical event that you have found haunting. Put yourself into the scene as an observer and, making use of a catalogue or list, take stock of everything you see and hear.

Extend your descriptions as fully as you can, and vary your syntax. Write a poem which explores the ideas about work that you have grown up with. Think back to being a child — how did the adults around you show you what work is?

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Marathon Runner : Write a poem about what training you might be doing to accomplish a difficult challenge in your life. Passing the Church : Write a poem about noticing something interesting while passing by a church near your home. Luster: Create a descriptive poem about something that has a soft glow or sheen to it. Clipboard: Write a poem about someone who is all business like and set in their ways of following a system.

Architect : Imagine you are hired to design a building for a humanitarian cause you are passionate about. Movie Character : Think of a recent movie you watched, and create a poem about one character specifically, or an interaction between two characters that was memorable. Potential Energy : Write about an experience where you had a lot of potential for success, but failed.

Listen Up: Write a poem telling someone they are better than they think they are. Basket Case: Has there ever been a time when you thought you might lose your mind? Jot your feelings and thoughts down in verse form. Lucky Guess: Many times in our life we have to make a good guess for what is the best decision. Use this poetry idea to write about feelings related to guessing something right — or wrong.

Dear Reader: What audience enjoys reading the type of poetry you like to write? Craft a note to your potential audience that addresses their biggest fears, hopes, and dreams. Ladders in the Sky : Imagine there are ladders that take you up to the clouds. What could be up there? What feelings do you have about climbing the ladders, or is their a mystery as to how they got there in the first place?

Paranoia : What would it be like if you felt like someone was watching you but no one believed you? Coming Home to Secrets: Imagine a person who puts on a good act to cover up a secret they deal with at home. Productivity: Talk about your greatest struggles with time management and organization.

Signs of the Times : How has a place you are familiar with changed over the past 10 years? Sleepless Nights : What ideas and feelings keep you up at night? By George : You can choose any name, but think of notable figures or celebrities who share a common first name, and combine their personalities and physical characteristics into one piece of poetry. Shelter : Write a poem about a time you were thankful for shelter from a storm. Cafeteria : Create a poem inspired by the people who might be eating lunch in a cafeteria at school or at a hospital.

There are unlimited possibilities for ways you can use these poem ideas to write poetry. While not every poem you write will be an award-winning masterpiece, using these poem starters as a regular exercise can help you better your craft as a writer. I wanted to share it on here, so I hope you enjoy it! On shaking ground We are all love-bound Stuck in a crate Nobody can avoid this fate. On shaking ground Our love is profound Although we are separate Better places await.

Do you dread the dark; Or do you adore the stars? Do you really think the fire place is that warm; Or you just envy the night charms? The Eve so busy, that everyone forgets to praise its beauty. The sun has set without anyone bidding him an adieu, Failed to demonstrate its scintillating view.

And I sit; I sit and wonder till the dawn. What a peaceful time it is, To have a small world of your own. Away from the chaos, I found a soul that was lost. That bewitching smile held my hand, Carried me back to shore, letting me feel my feet in the sand. Then I saw my own soul fade, Fly into my heart, For what it was made. Who am I? What have I done to myself? Many questions were answered in self reproach, The answers were still unspoken with no depth.

Oh dear night, What have you done to me? Or should I thank you for putting a soul that I see. The nights spent later were now spectacular, My darkness somehow added some light to my life, Making it fuller… Everyday after a day, walking through the scorching lawns, I wait for the the dusk to arrive, and then explore myself till the dawn. This is so amazing I ran out of words. Very lit thoughts beautifully penned.

Keep writing like this dude. Thank you for the inspiration! That was beautiful! I am a writer too! Anyways, again, that was awesome! I am a Christian, and I love seeing people write about that kind of stuff! I am jim from Oregon. I am also a writer, not very good but active. I am a Christian as well as you are. Sometimes it is hard to come up with something to write about. All of a sudden, I have started to write poetry. Do you like all forms of writing? I would enjoy reading some of you work if you would you would like to s if you would like to send me some.

She sat looking out the window. The sweet smell of burnt pine emanating from her fireplace. The sky is blue and the sun shines bright. She closes her eyes for a second. She opens them again. The window is broken and scattered on the ground.

The piano sits covered in ashes, every symphony played now just a distant memory replaced with a discordant melody. The room smells of smoke and ash. The sky is dark and rain falls on the remnants of her home. Not a living thing in sight,not even her. This is amazing! I also love this blog post by thinkwritten. So helpful! Thank you so much for this article! I love the profundity and open-endedness of the prompts.

In the snow She stands alone Wrapped in shrouds of mystery Her gentle hand gloved with giving Caressing A violet stone. Math class is dismissed But there still she sits Speaking to the ceiling in tender tones A soft and healing resonance Murmuring sweetly of ascension to Another, dearer dimension. In homeroom Her classmate weeps Of missed planes and shattered dreams Quietly She strokes the hand of the suffering And whispers then of channeling Some celestial utopia called Arcturus Where she claims to have been.

Please feel free to let me know where I need to improve! He swung his arm with force He caused a loud bang He hurt his own hand He left with some blood. He is the man that punched the mailbox His hand dripped blood on it He left it with a dent He left it alone after that. Interesting tips and keywords for boosting inspiration.

Take me back to those days, When I was allowed to dream, Where no one use to scream. Take me back to those days, When I was a child, Where I never use to find reasons to smile. Take me back those carefreee days, When I was far away from school days. Take me back to those days , where every one used to prase, no matter how foolish i behave. Take me back to the day I was born, So that I could live those days again………….

I had good inspiration from 51, locked in a jar. I used it more metaphorically instead of literally. I need to move, I need to soar, I need to be able to speak my opinions and more. Just wanted to add a twist to this promt. If anyone has any creative criticism, go ahead! My brain is out of order My thoughts have filled it to the brim Of my deepest thoughts of who I am Who we are As people We are out of order Never focusing on what we want Our passions All we ever get is work on top of work Pushing us down and down Like a giant hand Squeezing us into the depths of our depressions Until We can do anything But take it Anymore.

Was inspired by 77 listen up Listen up…….! When would you listen up! No matter who shut you up! Stand straight and look up! You might have been down Like you have no crown Because deep down You were shut down. There is still hope When there is life Yes! You can still cope If you can see the light Yes!

Even in the night. Oh listen up! Please listen up and take charge, You are better than the best Listen up! And oh! Please listen up. Clear glass is all i feel, apart from people, I hope I heal, I will never be equal,. I am different I am hurt raging currents people put on high alert but no one cares.

One day this will all blow away someday I will be molded out of clay but until then I will be lead astray. Thus, to me she said… You cannot use curse words in a court report… you need to paraphrase his quote. If you were my English professor back in the day, I could only imagine how much further in life I would have been….

But what if, You met someone, Who had a secret so big, That telling anyone would lead to horrible things. And what if, That person told someone, And what they told them, Was more horrible than anything they could have ever imagined. What if, That person told everyone, And when the parents, Of the kid with the secret found out, They were furious.

What if, They kept doing horrible things, Even though everyone knew, Even though they knew it was wrong. And finally, What if, No one ever helped, The little kid with the biggest secret. On number 28 : Poision I wrote a poem for it and would like to share it. The poision of friends and love. Beaten,she lies there. For they may be mistaken.

Laughter rings throughout the school halls; a pure disaster. The dissapearence of parents hast caused this yet no one stops it. Perhaps im out of place.. Shes lost in space. I miss when you called me baby And I was in your arms saftely I know we drive eachother crazy But I miss callin you my baby. My heart only beats for you My feelings for you only grew You understood what I was going through I will never regret knowing you.

Your smile melted my heart I wish we could restart And I could be apart Of a man I see as a work of art! I raised my paint brush to my canvas So I could help people understand this This feeling of emotion for this painting has spoken I see the light as opportunity As for the whole thing it symbolizes unity The swirls degnify elegance and uncertainty For this painting executes this perfectly Where as my paintings let me adress Everything I feel I need to express!

Eardrums splitting from the screams Yet none seem to care Can even hear my cries for help? For I am screaming as loud as I can. White Noise. I read the prompts and the poems posted and this community is a creative bunch. I liked 35 People You Have Known. I want to share it with you guys. This is the body repair shop where we fix humans that have stopped how may we help you?

I did poetry prompt 7. I wrote about the street I grew up on. Luverne Luverne, I moved onto you at the age of three. We like to race up and down your pavement road, either biking or running. You keep safe the house that I grew up in, one that has six humans and three dogs. You shelter other houses, too, that hold family friends and best friends to last a lifetime.

I was inspired by the prompt poison. Monster Roses are beautiful and delicate, but flawed. Prompt number 8: Street signs STOP Stop look and listen Stop at the corner Stop at the red light Stop for pedestrians Stop for cyclists Stop for animals Stop doing that Stop drop and roll Stop doing something else Stop shouting Stop whispering Stop talking Stop being quiet Stop posting cute cat videos Stop forgetting your appointments Stop making plans without me Stop eating all the yummies Stop running Stop the insanity Stop shopping Stop the never-ending commentary in my head Stop stopping Stop.

Thanks for making this site and all its suggestions and especially this space to post our work, available! I wrote from prompt 72 about moonlight. Shining down like a spotlight, Illuminating everything around you. The pure white light, Paint your surroundings in a soft glow. The round ball in the sky, speckled with craters like the freckles on your face. Looking down upon the sleeping earth, A nightlight for those still awake, a nightlight for you. Guides you, pulls you, lulls you towards it.

It caresses your face with the light, casting away the shadows of the night. I liked it I just wrote a small poem dedicated to my tutor and tutor just loved it. I used 21 good bye. I liked it really. A full bed Just the left side filled Soft, cold, baby blue sheets wrap around bare feet. She sweetly invites herself in Dressing the dark in a blue hue through cypress filled air, like 5 A.

How do the other patrons feel about this person? Try to have all the action in the story take place inside the establishment. Love Story: Usually if someone's in love, they know it. Love is an all-encompassing emotion, often casting a person's life in a pleasant, rosy glow.

But as with most emotions, love can be confusing. This week, write a story in which your character doesn't realize she is falling in love. Do her friends notice the development and try and make her see what's happening? Does she remain completely oblivious, or does she adamantly deny any affection towards her love interest?

Is she even aware of her love interests' feelings towards her? Consider the fine line between close friendship and romantic love, and how difficult it is to tell whether that line has been crossed. Virus: News and social media channels are buzzing about the recent outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus.

This week, write a story in which one of your characters is a doctor responsible for treating patients that have contracted a highly contagious virus. Think about how she handles the risks involved, and what emotions she'll struggle with. Maybe there is a lack of proper medical equipment or limited space in hospitals and treatment facilities. Is there information on this virus, or is it something doctors have never seen before?

Off the Grid: Farming as an occupation isn't nearly as common in the United States now as it was a century ago, but there are still some people who feel compelled to live a simpler, more self-sufficient lifestyle. This week, write about a character of yours who comes to the decision to give up her more modernized way of living and commits to living "off the grid"—growing all of her own food, raising livestock, collecting sunlight for electricity or forgoing electricity altogether.

How difficult will this be for her to pull off? Is it still feasible for people to live this way in the twenty-first century—especially city dwellers and suburbanites—or is this type of lifestyle too strenuous and time-consuming for the average person to manage? Picnic: There are few things more pleasant than finding a beautiful spot on a sunny afternoon to have a picnic lunch.

That's if everything goes according to plan. This week, write a story about one of your characters planning an important picnic lunch. The occasion could be a family gathering, a first date, or a holiday celebration. How does this character handle the task?

Do things end up going smoothly, or does everything fall apart? Maybe another character needs to step in and offer assistance, or maybe something beyond anyone's expectations occurs and the plans change completely. Seniors: Some people slow down in their golden years, taking it easy and enjoying the family and friends they've gathered around them in the comfort of their community, while others try to continue to live like their younger selves. This week, write a story about an older person who still has the mindset and physical stamina of a twenty-something.

How does this affect her interactions with her peers? What are her secrets? Is she one of those people who wishes to live forever, or does she simply make a habit of staying healthy? Think about how a person's biological age and true age are related and what happens when they are in conflict. Opposites: We've all heard the advice "write what you know," which encourages us to write characters like ourselves or people who are close to us.

This week, write from the perspective of a character that is your complete opposite. First, make a list of all the qualities you identify with yourself, and then make a list of qualities on the other end of the spectrum. For example, if you are a woman who lives in the country, write from the point of view of a man who lives in the city. Try to avoid using stereotypes to describe this character's actions or ideas, and instead try to embody this character—climb inside his or her head and live there a while.

Tourist Towns: Do you live in a tourist town, or a town that sees a surge in population during a particular season? Maybe there is a town you visit when you're on vacation. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live there year-round?

This week, write a story set in a tourist town, trying to write from the perspective of a local. How does this character, or the locals in general, feel about the tourists? Is this really a friendly town, or does it just seem friendly to vacationers? Transformers: Even if you're not a big fan of the Transformers movies, consider the basic idea of everyday machines transforming into some sort of robot or creature.

This week, write a story in which one of your characters discovers a household appliance that has transformed itself into something else. For example, when making her morning toast, your character notices the toaster has morphed into a small flying machine, and is stuck in a tree in the backyard. Write about how your character feels upon discovering this machine has a mind of its own, and how her relationship with the machine in question, as well as the world around her, is altered after this experience.

It took them six months to paddle their twenty-three foot vessel, named Spirit of Madiba in honor of Nelson Mandela, across the Atlantic Ocean. This week, write a story about what you imagine such a journey would be like. Consider the dangers of crossing such a massive body of water, and what it would feel like to spend that much time sharing such a small space with another person. Listing Details: Descriptions offer clarity, and the more detailed your descriptions of events, places, and people, the more fully the reader can experience the emotion and ambiance you are trying to establish.

This week, make loads of detailed lists. Make them everywhere you go: the supermarket, your car, the park, your bedroom. Use all five senses to classify where you are, how you're feeling, and what those feelings make you think of.

When you're writing a scene about a sticky summer morning on the bus, you'll be able to look back at your list and use the notes you made about the condensation on the windows, or the crying child in the seat behind you. Although he was certified as the world's oldest man, there are sixty-six women who are older than he was. This week, create a character who is one of the oldest people on earth. You could choose to write about the passing of the torch to the new oldest man in the world, or you could focus on one of the sixty-six oldest women.

Consider how this person feels about being over a century old, how many historical events this character has lived through, and how this character has managed to live so long. Wheel of Fortune: Most of us associate the phrase "Wheel of Fortune" with the popular television game show. There is, however, another wheel of fortune—the tenth card in the tarot deck. This wheel isn't as glamorous as its television counterpart, but it can be equally exciting; the card represents a pivotal point in your life when new options become possible and which signals that luck is on your side.

This week write a short story about a character spinning the wheel of fortune. She could be on the game show, in a casino spinning a roulette wheel, or at a summer carnival. Include some element of dramatic change once the wheel is spun, whether it's winning the grand prize, or taking the first step on a new and unfamiliar path. Pet Matchmaker: There's an old adage that people tend to resemble their pets.

This could be due to the law of attraction, which many people believe is at play when we look for a partner, and which suggests that we tend to feel more comfortable with those with a similar appearance and who share similar interests. What if there was a service available for people looking for their perfect pet match? Write a scene in which a character visits a "pet matchmaker," a professional who consults with clients on what they value most in a pet, and then conducts a search to help them find "the One.

In the most basic sense driving facilitates transportation from point A to point B, but it can also be a job, a sport, and even a form of relaxation. When highways sprang up across the U. This week, try writing a scene with two or more characters in the car together on a Sunday drive.

Maybe the drive doesn't wind up as peaceful as the group expected. Or, maybe it gives them the perfect setting to work through a problem and come to a long-awaited solution. Comfort: Most of us have a place we go to when we need to rest, recharge, or recuperate.

Does one of your characters need a break from her daily routine? Or did she just experience something traumatic? Send her somewhere to heal her mind and spirit. It could be a relative's home, a beautiful park, or a favorite restaurant — someplace calm and comfortable. Home may be where the heart is, but sometimes it helps to get away for a little while. Through a Child's Eyes: There's a beautiful scene in Markus Zusak's novel The Book Thief during which Max, who is hiding from the Nazis in the basement of a German family's house, asks Liesel, their daughter, to tell him what her eyes see when she goes outside.

What he gets is an almost magical description: the view of the world through a child's eyes, beautifully unaffected by the dark cloud of World War II looming on the horizon. This week, try to describe something through the eyes of a child. It could be a day, a landscape, an object, a person — anything with a bit of hidden magic only a child can tap into.

Daydream Believer: Spring can at times seem like one long daydream. Does one of your characters have the habit of drifting off into a fantasy world? This week, write out one of these daydreams. Use plenty of surreal elements that make it clear this is a fantasy sequence and not just the character re-imagining a scenario working out a different way. Green Babies: In David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, mother Avril Incandenza is remarkably devoted to her houseplants, so much so that she calls them her "green babies.

Or does she dislike being responsible for houseplants? Think about what this might reveal in terms of the character's personality. What drives someone to take something meant to live outside and bring it inside? Is it a desire to cultivate beauty in her life, or does she prefer a more controlled environment to the wilds of nature? Phobias: What if one day you woke up with a crippling phobia?

What if the object of the phobia was something you once loved? This week, incorporate this scenario intoan existing piece of writing, or use it to create a new character. Think about the nature of fear and how it shapes us, how it restricts us yet also protects us. For inspiration, visit phobialist. Does one of your characters have a diet that is putting his health in jeopardy?

Try writing a scene in which that character is told by a healthcare professional to overhaul his eating habits. How does this character react? If this character can no longer have some of his favorite foods, how does this affect his mood and his day-to-day routine? This week, create a character that you think would be perfect for one of those types of shows.

Then put your character in a scenario in which he or she must go through a dramatic, emotional struggle publicly, in front of millions of viewers, with another person or group of individuals. The key is to really amp up the drama and imbue the scene with as much nail-biting tension as you can muster.

Explore how this event opens up unexpected possibilities for your story. Will two characters meet for the first time because of this mishap? Will your protagonist be late arriving somewhere as a result? Parades: Parades are usually exciting occasions for children and a source of aggravation for commuters. This week, write a story or scene centered around a parade. Try to show contrasting reactions to the event. Draw from your own memories of parades at different times in your life.

Stopping Through: Motels are frequently depicted in novels, TV, and film. This week, write a scene that takes place in a motel. Perhaps it's a seedy, roadside fleabag; a clean, well-maintained establishment with a dark history; or simply a familiar setting for a dramatic turning point in your narrative. You can weave it into a short story or use it as a starting point for a new piece. It can be inspired by your own experience or entirely imagined.

What Are the Chances? Of course, the author curates these random acts—the accidental encounter, the winning lottery ticket. This week, try introducing an element of chance into a story whose plot you've struggled with. Be open to wherever it takes you. This week, try to write a scene that incorporates a spring tradition. If you need some inspiration, research how different cultures welcome the spring months.

Shopping: The prospect of shopping excites some, while others find the experience tedious or even stressful. This week, write a scene in which your character is faced with a big purchase, perhaps one that requires some prior research.

Is your character impulsive or thorough? Does he or she approach the experience with excitement or unease? What does your character ultimately end up purchasing? This week, write a story whose protagonist is also in a creative enterprise. Your character can be an artist, or he or she can be involved in a field your typical reader may not initially think of as creative. Try to find and describe this creative impulse. Super Bowl: Some of the most revealing scenes in fiction occur when characters gather for an event.

The Super Bowl offers an opportunity for friends, whether they are sports fans or not, to do just that. This week, write a scene in which your protagonist is watching the Super Bowl. Is he or she playing host? Which team does he or she root for? What happens during the commercials? Sporting events provide wonderful opportunities for tension and elation. How will your characters engage with this event?

Historical Flash Fiction: Think of a deceased historical figure and make a list of his or her qualities and attributes. Then try to conjure a modern version of this person in a five-hundred-word story. For instance, a character based on Jean-Jacques Rousseau might be on a walking tour of a city; a character inspired by Marie Curie could be working in a lab. Make this figure your own by weaving in imagined details and context.

Imagine a character who needs to forgive someone. Who does he or she need to forgive? What was the nature of the injury? What were its implications? Does forgiveness come easily to your character, or is retaliation a more natural impulse? Does your character try and fail to forgive initially? Listen Carefully: Effective listening is imperative to effective writing. Listening carefully while sitting on a crowded subway, drinking coffee in a lonely diner, or asking a stranger for directions can lead to new characters, settings, and story lines.

It is also important to listen to your own characters. Make a list of ten questions to ask a character you are developing. Most people, including fictional characters, will tell you who they are. You just have to ask. Clear your head. Forget about your significant other, your editor, and your audience. Place your protagonist and antagonist in a location familiar to you, and write six hundred words about their interaction. The characters are people unto themselves, but your mind creates the attitude, style, and tone of the world in which they live.

In fiction, the writer is nowhere, and everywhere, at all times. This is the authorial being that readers come to love. Lighten Up: There's only so much you can carry with you before the weight becomes unbearable. Take a moment to think about all the things you haul around with you. First, focus on your physical burden. What do you keep inside your messenger bag, purse, pocketbook, or backpack?

How much does it weigh? What do these things mean to you—and why do you keep them within reach every day? Consider carrying only the absolute necessities and write about how your load has been lightened. Then try to do the same thing with your mind.

Write down everything that you feel has been cluttering up your thoughts lately. Now that you've written it down, give yourself permission to stop thinking about these things. Take a deep breath and turn to a clean page.

The pleasures in the familiar way the story begins, the anticipation of familiar turns it takes, the familiar moments of suspense, and the familiar climax and ending. This week, write a personal essay on the momentum of the winter holidays and how they carry you through to the new year.

Do you use social media sites like Facebook to make new connections, or do you prefer to meet new people at social events? This week, write a personal essay reflecting on how you get to know people, and how they become a part of your life. A Day in the Life: This week, look at a day in your life through the eyes of an ancestor. How would your grandmother react to the e-mails you get at work? How would your great-great-grandfather navigate modern public transportation?

Write a diary entry in the voice of someone from an earlier generation. Consider the cultural norms of the time period your ancestor grew up in as well as his or her personality. Focus on the surprising similarities in your daily lives for a challenge.

This week, write a short personal essay about your attitude towards holiday shopping. Do you look forward to it, or do you dread it? Do you plan to finish your shopping all at once, or do you space it out and plan ahead? Feasting: Thanksgiving is a holiday of abundance, good will, good company, and most importantly, good food. We all have our favorites—that platter or dish we set strategically in front of us and hope nobody asks us to pass.

This week, write about the one item in your Thanksgiving feast that you look forward to every year. Is it something you make? If not, who usually makes it? Is it a secret family recipe? In an age when most dishes can be purchased or made on any day of the year, take a moment to reflect on how certain dishes become special.

Simple Twist of Fate: Looking back, can you pick out a moment in your life that was altered by a simple action or pure happenstance? Perhaps someone you met under unfortunate circumstances a fender-bender, at the doctor's office ended up becoming a close friend of yours. This week, write an essay about one of these instances. Is there an organization you volunteer for in your community?

Are there times you wish you had a helping hand from someone? This week, write an essay about what giving and receiving support means to you. Songs From Your Past: We all have music artists that we connected with in our youth.

But as time goes on, our music tastes tend to change. Write a short personal essay about your reaction to the song. What was it about that song that made you connect with it at the time? Do you still like it as much as you did then? What was it about the costume that really made an impact on you? Muse: When you sit down to write, do you invoke a muse? Who is this muse, and what do you ask of her?

Is this someone in your day-to-day life, or an unearthly entity—like the nine muses in Greek mythology? This week, write a personal essay about a person who brings you inspiration, courage, and clarity in moments of creative effort. Blood Moon: Last Wednesday, a full lunar eclipse occurred in the early hours of the morning.

Some people believe it to be a sign of things to come, while others see it as simply a unique, astronomical event. This week, write about what eclipses, blood moons, and other unusual celestial events make you think about. Birthday Buddies: There are only three hundred and sixty-five days in a year, but billions of people on the planet, so chances are, you share your birthday with at least one celebrity or public figure. This week, find out who your birthday buddies are, and learn a little bit about them.

Notice any similarities? Write a short personal essay about how sharing your birthday with these people makes you feel. Autumn Almanac: Summer is officially over, and the time has come to drag our sweaters out of storage and sip warm beverages pumpkin-spiced or otherwise. There are many things about autumn to look forward to: bountiful produce, gorgeous foliage, comfortable temperatures. In a short personal essay, pick out some of your favorite things about this time of year and describe how and why they bring you joy.

For a list of banned and challenged classics, visit the American Library Association's website. How would your life be different if you never had the opportunity to read this book? Or if nobody could? Write a short personal essay exploring how you feel about Banned Books Week and why this particular book is so meaningful to you. Portrait: Have you ever been the subject of a work of art? What is it like to look at someone else's artistic interpretation of who you are?

This week, write a piece analyzing why the artist made the compositional choices he or she did. What medium, lighting, color palette, and setting do you think would capture your spirit? Who would you want to create the piece? Where would you want it displayed? Idioms: Some phrases, such as "toe the line," are so ingrained in our minds that we automatically link the phrase with its intended meaning in this case, to conform to a set of rules without thinking about the literal meaning carefully placing your toes along a line on the ground.

This week, pause for a moment and try to imagine the actions described in these idioms. When someone says you're "barking up the wrong tree," what do you picture? Is there an idiom that you use frequently, or that you've always been a bit confused by? Write a short personal essay about what this idiom means to you. Then do some research into its history, and if you decide to go further, look up how similar sentiments are expressed idiomatically in other languages.

Messages: It may be a drag to be the bearer of bad news, but consider the recipient. Would you want to learn that your significant other is ending the relationship through words on a tiny screen? Sometimes we can't connect in person and we must rely on phone calls, texts, or e-mails to communicate difficult news.

But what if you could recruit a messenger, a total stranger, to deliver your message for you? How would that alter the message? Write about a message you wish could be delivered by a stranger. For inspiration, watch filmmaker Miranda July's performance piece involving the new mobile app, Somebody. Discovery: Before online shopping became a convenient and popular method of purchasing things, one would have to go to a specialty store to find uncommon and rare items.

Many of these specialty stores are closing their doors due to rising rent prices and dwindling customers. Is there a specialty store you used to frequent that has since closed up shop? Or do you wish there was a good video store stocked with foreign films, or a record shop with an incredibly knowledgeable staff in your town? Think about the process of going into a store and sifting through their stock until you discover something, versus having Amazon recommend something based on your previous purchases.

Is there any difference? Which method do you prefer? Climbing: Climbing is an exercise that's both exhilarating and exhausting. This week think of the highest you've ever climbed. It could have been a ladder to your childhood tree house or Mount Kilimanjaro. Were you climbing for fun, or out of necessity?

How did it feel once you reached the top? If you feel you've never climbed to any significant height, would you ever want to? Letter to Yourself: This week, think about what you need to hear and write a letter to yourself. In it, try and touch on all the things you feel have been tripping you up recently—all the things that have been bothering you or getting in your way, all the things that you need to remind yourself of more often, and all the things that you wish people told you on a regular basis.

Go ahead: Give yourself some love and celebrate the goodness you bring into the world. Crafts: Are you a crafty person? Or would you like to be the type of person who gives handmade presents to loved ones for the holidays?

This week, write about something someone has made for you. What makes this item so much more special than an item you could purchase in a store? Or, write about something you want to make for someone else. Maybe you are working on the item right now, or maybe you still need to acquire the skills necessary to make it.

What would you have to learn? How long would it take, and what makes the effort worth it? Photographs: Friends and family members often aren't photographers. This sometimes results in great memories captured on film in a not-so-picturesque way. This week, think of a photograph depicting a fond memory that, in your opinion, doesn't cast you or your loved ones in the most visually pleasing light. Do you still display or look at the picture often? Or do you keep it hidden in the shoebox under the bed?

Write about the story surrounding the photograph, and how it makes you feel when you look at it. Confidence: Deep within us, we have desires or goals we might be nervous about bringing out into the open for whatever reason. Maybe we feel embarrassed or that we can't compete with those who have already mastered the skill we seek to learn.

You might have felt this way when showing your writing to someone for the first time—or maybe you still haven't shown your writing to anyone yet. This week, think about whether there are any factors that make it difficult for you to share your work.

If you've taken the leap and put yourself out there, write about what that felt like. If you have yet to do so, write about what's holding you back. Hitchhiking: Hitchhiking can seem scary to those who have never done it before. But, as Jack Kerouac famously portrayed in On the Road, it is also a cheap and interesting way to get from one place to another if you don't have a car. Have you ever hitched a ride, or do you know someone who has? Write about the experience. If you have never hitchhiked, write about your feelings on the subject—whether you'd ever try it, or why you've decided it's something you would never do.

Fireworks: This past weekend the sky was filled with sparkling bursts of light. A symbol of celebration, these explosive light shows often bring up unexpected emotions in people viewing them. What do fireworks make you think of while watching them? Do they make you feel nostalgic, excited, or uneasy? Think of a memory or a strong feeling, and write about it. Influences: German writer and statesman Johan Wolfgang von Goethe insisted that "The greatest genius will never be worth much if he pretends to draw exclusively from his own resources," and that "every one of my writings has been furnished to me by a thousand different persons, a thousand different things.

What would you say your biggest influence has been? Write an essay reflecting on how your influences have shaped you into the person you are today. World Cup: Whether or not you're a die-hard soccer fan, you're probably noticing the intensity with which people are focusing on this year's World Cup. These types of international sporting events tend to bolster one's sense of national pride. Have you ever felt united with others through such a large-scale sporting event?

Do you feel like cheering on a team with a large group of people gives you a sense of community and belonging? Write a short personal essay reflecting on the subject. Family Reunions: Some families are gung-ho about holding regular family reunions, while others would prefer not to go through the ordeal of rounding everyone up. This week, write about a family reunion you've attended, or one you've heard stories about.

Was the event hosted by your family or someone else's? Did everyone go on a trip together, or did it take place at someone's house? There is bound to be some drama when families get together, so don't forget to include some juicy details!

Write a scene that encapsulates the feeling of the quote above, whether it's set during a summer camping trip with a best friend, catching up with a cousin during a family reunion, or just an average weeknight spent staying up past your bedtime with your siblings or parents. Cynics: It's easy to slip into a bad attitude, and even easier once you're there to stew in all that negativity.

For most it's a passing phase, but for some it can color their whole outlook on life. Would you describe yourself as a cynic? If not, do you know someone who fits the bill? Today, write down what happens to you using a cynical perspective. If you keep a journal, compare today's entry with those of previous—perhaps more positive—days and note the similarities and differences in style, tone, and word usage. Is there a street corner somewhere that should be named after your mother, your brother, or you?

What makes it special? It could be the road on which you learned to drive, the one you swear you could drive with your eyes shut, or perhaps the one on which something happened that changed the course of your life. This week, think about your five favorite albums.

Whether it includes a record your mother used to put on when you were young, or the soundtrack to your daily commute, think of the music that shaped you, bolstered your spirit, and comforted you in trying times. Make a top-five list of your own and write about why each album is important to you. If you are having difficulty picking entire albums, try choosing individual songs instead.

Rivals: Whether it's with a sibling, best friend, or colleague, there comes a time in most of our lives when we find ourselves engaged in a bitter rivalry with another person. This week, write about someone you've had to go head-to-head with in order to achieve a personal goal. What were you two competing over? What were the driving motives behind the conflict? Were you and your rival pitted against each other by a third party? If this occurred a while ago, try and access the emotions you felt when it was all happening to strengthen the scene.

Flowers: You know what April showers bring. This week think about flowers. More particularly, think about your flower. Is there a certain flower that you personally identify with or fills your heart with joy?

If not, is there a flower that reminds you of a special person in your life or brings up a fond memory? Write about this flower and why it's important to you, taking care to illustrate its beauty. Weird Food: No matter how adventurous an eater you are, there's bound to be some foods that immediately turn you off. It could be the smell, the texture, or just the way it looks that makes it unpalatable.

This week, write about a time when you were faced with something that is supposedly edible but that you found absolutely unappealing. It could be a food from a different culture, an odd combination of flavors, or a culinary experiment a friend or relative cooked up that didn't turn out as planned. Did you eat it anyway? Or did you leave it for someone else to enjoy? Costumes: There are several holidays that incorporate dressing up in costume: Halloween, Purim, and Mardi Gras, to name a few.

On these occasions, the goal is to look like somebody or something else. But on the days that aren't dress-up holidays or occasions, there are times when you put on a certain outfit or a particular style of clothing and it can feel like you are putting on a costume. Try writing about an experience you've had when you dressed yourself in a way that made you feel like a different person. Was it a pleasant or uncomfortable experience?

Did people recognize you? Describe what it felt like. Like a Tourist: As the weather gets warmer, more and more people are getting outdoors to do some sightseeing. After all, with the trees budding and flowers perfuming the cool breeze, how could anyone resist a little adventure? This week, write about being a tourist. Think of a specific trip you took. Where were you? What did it feel like to be a visitor there?

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