Top Ten Prompts to Inspire Creative Writing

If you’re a writer, an artist, musician or creative soul of any kind you’ve probably had those days when you just can’t produce anything worth… anything. The harder you try, the less effective you become and you get yourself into a ridiculously concrete mental block. It’s tough to pull yourself out of this phenomenon, and many times the feeling has negative effects in the rest of your life too.

As writers, we’ve found that completing writing prompts not only helps us get a fresh perspective in our writing, they open our minds in a myriad of other ways. The mental fog clears, and suddenly there are windows where there were once only walls.

These prompts our a few of our group’s favorites– and a few have even turned into some of our most beloved pieces. Give them a try, let us know how it goes, and we might even feature your response as a guest post!

Happy writing,

~C

10- They told her not to open the box…

9- You’re walking along a crowded street and an old woman hands you a brown paper bag. You take it from her and feel that it’s slightly weighted by whatever is inside. She smiles and disappears into the crowd. What is inside the bag, and what does it mean to you?

8-  This picture:

St. Etienne - Muse

7- Think of a character, either from a story you’re writing or a book you’ve read.  He/she has a favorite pair of shoes. Why are they special? Where did they come from? Where does he/she wear them? What stories go along with those shoes?

6- You wake up locked inside a closed coffin. Explain your initial reaction, how you attempt to escape, and what you remember about how you got there.

5- Find and buy (or take a picture of) an object at a thrift store, and write a short story or a scene around it. Below are some examples of objects we’ve used:

Vintage radiovintage gray tub

red high heelsrose colored glasses

4- You and your friends take a three mile hike up to a campsite and you’re sitting around the fire toasting marshmallows. Out of the blue one of your friends reveals a secret that turns your pleasant camping trip into a total nightmare…

3- Write a few paragraphs explaining how this picture came about, or what it represents:(image courtesy of www.vladstudio.com)

2- Write a story from the perspective of the family pet. The family is bringing home a new baby, going through a divorce, recently lost a loved one, the children are starting school, or they are moving across the country.

1- As a person or thing that inspires all your creativity and new ideas, your muse has been trying to contact you. Write a conversation between you and your muse. There are no limitations as to what he/she/it is, appears, or looks like. What does your muse want you to know? What is your reaction?

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Top Ten Tuesday- Ten Signs You Might Be a Writer

the-writer2

10 -You notice all the things

This means you not only take interest life’s little details, you relish them. You appreciate sunrises, full moons, the smell of coffee percolating and the sound of your feet crunching on gravel. You don’t simply move through life in a happy blur. Rather, you get intoxicated in all the sights and sounds life has to offer:  Watching a bumblebee light on a lily, noticing the sticky yellow on the fuzzy surface of its back as it dips between blooms. Hearing the high notes of a classical prelude or the low notes of a Red Hot Chili Peppers ballad and finding the song reaches depths of your soul that can’t be named.

Bonus points if you not only notice the  details, you assign meaning to them, i.e., the patterns in the shadow of leaves remind you of a lace runner on your Grandmother’s kitchen table. This is obviously a sign, so you drop everything and call her.

9- You create alternate endings for…everything

You know without a doubt what should have actually happened at the end of The Notebook. You’re sure you know the missing answers in all the episodes of Lost. And you dream of what could have happened had Daisy never married Tom in The Great Gatsby…

You find yourself asking “What if” for things outside of movies too. Past relationships. Friends career choices. The road you took to work this morning. Each of those choices might have lead to alternate events, and you can’t deny you’re intrigued by that notion.

8- You regard reading as a near spiritual act

Every dedicated reader knows it’s bliss to get lost in a good book, but to a writer, a good book is a revelation. Pick up any of your favorite novels and you start finding truths on every page, parallels that speak to your life and what you’re navigating through at that very moment.You find signs in the dialogue, answers to all your big questions in the narrative.reading-a-book

You read and feel that life has new meaning. And sometimes, what you’re reading starts to make more sense than reality. Yep, you’re probably a writer.

7- You people-watch with a passion

Linger at a coffee shop or a city park and you instantly find yourself lost in the people around you. Wonder what she’s going to name her daughter, how she met her husband. Wonder why he’s red-eyed and puffy-faced, and yet breaking up with his girlfriend via Skype.

Your watching and wondering quickly heightens to the next level, in which you answer all the questions in your mind about the people you’ve been watching. She’s going to name her daughter Nina, after her sister. He can’t stand to break up in person because deep down he still loves her. Then…you create imagined scenarios for these people you’re watching.

You’re casting characters my friend. Your soul is trying to put them inside a story.

6- You daydream about fictional characters

Speaking of characters…Ever thought it would be titillating to have tea with Mr. Darcy? Yearned to forge that horrible, dark void with Frodo?  Or compared your current love-interest to the main character in the novel you’re reading…once, twice, a dozen times?

Yeah. Us too. You aren’t weird. But it’s a good sign there are probably characters in you waiting for the chance to be written into existence.

5- People say you’re a dreamer

But you’re not the only one… Head in the clouds, scatterbrained, wanderlust, or preoccupied. If any of these names have ever been cast at you, chances are your imagination is working at flittle_dreamer_wallpaper__yvt2ull capacity and creating something beautiful.  You have a literal art factory in there, stories waiting to find their way into the universe.



4- You’ve ever thrown a book across the room

Books are sacred, yes. But when they are bad, you take it personally. Poorly written, overstated, or books that take cheap shots at unsuspecting readers send you reeling, and that book flying.

We feel ya. Bad writing is like an insult you can’t shake. You have to do something physical to the book to feel even slightly satisfied.

3- Blank notebooks excite you

Simply put, something about all those blank pages is intriguing. The open possibilities of what might come to life in those lines…

2- You like big words and you cannot lie

You enjoy language, and sometimes use unusual words, just for thChild reading a dictionary in school uniforme sheer joy of their weight on your tongue. Imbrication. Unencumbered. Labrynthian. Mellifluous. You wonder why your friends don’t understand that words like these are music.

And…if you read the dictionary for fun as a kid, you most certainly belong in a writers circle. It’s the only place you won’t be referred to as a nerd.

1- You write to resolve

You have a fight with your best friend, and instead of calling her up to sort things out, you write her a novella-length email. When considering whether to take a new job, you write down all the reasons you might be in love with it, and all the reasons you might regret leaving your current employer. Yes, part of this is a natural and organized way to discover feelings and weigh options. But not everyone’s mind works this way.writing on notebook

If you can come to major conclusions in your life through a sharpened pencil, your favorite pen, or a keyboard- you probably have a knack for writing. It’s not only the process, it’s what happens between the lines. Insight. Creativity. Epiphany. Written to life.

We hope you decide to join us.

Til next time,

~Cindy

It’s Music Week!

Hey Firefans!

We are so excited to share a special treat with our loyal followers this week. And…if you’re new to Writing the Fire, you picked a great time to join us. We’ve had an epiphany.

Last week when I wrote the 3 Ways to Keep Writing… or How Not to Lose Your Writing Mojo post, I was chatting via Facebook with Lori and asked her to give me a few ideas about what inspired her to write. She said:

“Music is huge, particularly when I am writing something spiritual. Music speaks to the soul in ways that nothing else can. In fact, I believe that when we pass on, we’ll communicate through music…somehow. It’s a more complete form of communication.”

Eureka! An idea came into my peripheral vision: We need a tribute to music on Writing the Fire!

Why? Because for each of us, when nothing else moves us, when the Muse is MIA and we’re certain we can’t write another word, music gives us fire.

Do something for me: Think of one of your favorite songs- from any genre or phase of your life, by any artist or group. A song that you can listen to a thousand times and not get sick of. Now… go pull it up on YouTube and have a listen.

What images start to come into focus in your i-love-musicmind…Inside your heart?  What emotions rise up from within, what memories does it bring back into your conscious realm?

Whether you felt ecstatic or sentimental or sad or angry, isn’t that a beautiful phenomenon? What a wonderful thing, that some notes strung together with the right voice and some instrumentation can produce that kind of raw feeling in a human being?

Part of the reason the three of us became so attached from the get-go because we all quickly realized we have one sort of odd phenomenon in common. We write to music. We all figured out we were alike in this way during Camp NaNoWriMo last August, and we all kinda geeked out about it together. Our group Facebook page became a virtual corkboard where we shared all our favorite songs and the scenes we’d written to go with them.

So this week we’re going to let you inmy_favorite_song-3892 too! We’ll share some of the music that plays a part in our writing, along with the story that appeared in our heads as we listened. I also convinced a local performer, our Indie Ogden friend Jenny Shaw to share some of her music here, for a look at the other side of things. We’ll answer the question: What music summons stories from the minds of writers, and what stories propel a musician into making music?

Consequently, this morning at our monthly business meeting I asked Natalie to give me some song ideas to go with this post. I wanted something that anyone could listen to and see the vision that we see: Music is a pathway to the soul. She came up with this one:

It really is perfect for this post, but it’s funny…  I think if someone was ever to write a story of our group, this would definitely be our theme song.

Anyway, get ready to read some of our deep-from-the-murky-depths writing this week, and hear the music that inspired it. And- we’d love to hear your favorite songs and how they inspire you too. So don’t hesitate to give us a shout out if you want to sing along. ; )

So. Much. Fun. You do not want to miss this. Stay tuned!  🙂

Cindy

“I Apologize” and “You Have Some Wonderful Stuff Coming”

 

failure

Well, this isn’t uncommon for me. I start out with a goal and I fall flat on my face. Our first week of guest posts and I only posted two. (My fault, not the group or our guest writers.) But, as I say this type of failure is not uncommon for me and I know how to pick myself up, dust myself off and just keep going. I apologize for the hiccup.

That being said, we will have some amazing writing for you in the coming weeks.

The whole of next week is a story by Josh McCracken. In his words, “it is a bitter sweet tale of first love.”  You’re going to enjoy it! I was tempted to post it this weekend, but refrained. It’s like when you want to give your kids their Christmas presents early. I’m so excited to share this with you!

The following week will have some very special, personal posts. They are pieces which come from the heart. Although some of them are written by people who do not describe themselves as writers, the pieces themselves are full of love, warmth and tenderness…the fire part of Writing the Fire.

And so, with our first week done we are moving forward.

I’d like to personally thank those who have submitted their poems, stories, articles and ideas. The pieces which have been submitted are beautiful, imaginative, funny, heartwarming and provocative. This has been a humbling experience. Thank you to our writers and thank you to our readers!

We are still looking for other writers to join our month of guest posts. If you would like to join us, or you know of someone who does, please email lori.king322@gmail.com. We’d be happy to have you.

Lori

lotusWelcome to our new home.

Our writer’s group is excited to be able to move over to WordPress, offer help to other writers and hopefully spread around some joy and a few good stories.

We have some exciting things planned for the upcoming year including more fiction, some writing advice and opportunities to hear from other writers. We want this to be a true (and yet virtual) community where we can share ideas, resources and friendship with other writers.

With that in mind, I have an invitation…

Have you frameever been to a place where everyone is equal? A place where race, religion, economic status, physical appearance and abilities don’t matter? A place where it is safe to just be you.

Natalie and I experienced that at the Holi Festival at the Sri Sri Radah Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah last year. The Holi Festival is a Hindu celebration of spring.

We arrived at the ornate temple after parking our car at a local high school. Where we were herded onto a school bus and taken to the temple amongst a throng of people, most of them dressed in white to make the colors stand out on their clothing.

As we enteredmeaghan the temple grounds, a sweet scent became evident on the breeze. Something soft hit me in the chest. I looked down to see a streak of orange across my shirt. A young woman stood smiling at me. Before I could say anything she ran off to join her friends in laughter.

We made our way to the top of a small hill and were met with a crowd of multicolored humans some of them on the outskirts of the celebration, some right in the middle of it.

babyNatalie and I were soon covered in colorful powder as the celebrators noticed the “fresh blood” entering the festivities. The revelry was contagious and we soon joined the mass in covering our fellow humans in bright pinks, oranges, blues, yellows and greens.

Out of breath and smiling, I climbed the temple stairs to view the mass of humanity from a different perspective. The air was thick with powder around the crowd. Music from a rock band pounded its way through the mass while people danced. Laughter could be heard everywhere. Then I noticed something else – a spirit of connectedness. There were so many people and unlike any other celebration I’ve ever been to, everyone was a part of everything. It didn’t matter who was there, simply by existing, they were a part of that huge celebration of spring.mouse

I was amazed at the number and variety of people. There were families, couples, lovers, the young and the old, hippies, yuppies, every race, every creed…you name it, there was a member from every facet of society. The Holi Festival brought us all together and made us all equal. All of us were covered in sweet smelling powder and all of us smiling. For a moment all pretense was removed and we were a human family. Spring and the Holi Festival brought us all together for a weekend.

crowd2

That is what we want to have with our blog this month. Once again it is spring and the Holi Festival is upon us in Spanish Fork. So in the spirit of the celebration, we want to invite our friends, followers and family to provide a guest post on our blog this month. Anything goes. Our goal is to have a post every Monday through Thursday for the month of March. If you are a writer or a dreamer or you just feel the inklings of spring moving you, email your submission to lori.king322@gmail.compillar. Every one is welcome, including children, (sometimes they’re the best) and all posts will be considered. The only thing we ask is that you keep your post clean and polite.

So welcome to the new blog and may spring find you at peace, happy, healthy and surrounded by people you love.

Natalie, Cindy and Lori

 

 

Photos of Holi Festival were provided by Samantha Chapman.

samSamantha Chapman is an aspiring photographer from the beautiful state of Maine. She currently resides in Clearfield, Utah where she spends her time cooking amazing food for and scheming shenanigans with her two super awesome kids, her BFFF and other members of her Security Council, a very handsome and hilarious Scotsman, and some amazing friends and family. She is happy to sell any of the photos she takes while out and about on one of her adventures, or photograph your friends and family on an adventure of your own!