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?

Oh it’s NOTHING!

guest-posting

My Auntie M (as children we thought we were pretty special to have our own Auntie M–Like Dorothy) shared some of her writing with us this month and– ass that I am, I forgot to post it last night… chalk it up to all the changes I’m supposed to be going through.

Anyhow, it is a beautiful idea that she had and I am honored to share it with you today.

“Oh it’s NOTHING.”

 Have you ever done something for someone that you think is small and they tell you Thank you, And you reply – “Oh, Its Nothing.”?

Something like, taking the newspaper in when you walk in your grandma’s house.

Or giving a child a drink when her mother is especially busy?Pint girl

Maybe you just handed someone a napkin when they were too far away from the dispenser, or said; “Hello”, to someone who was all alone?

To you it may be nothing. But have you ever thought about what “Nothing does?

Today I was filling out a form for a woman.  It was so that she could receive an award, a token of the boss’s appreciation for a job well done.

As I typed in the amount of the bonus I was supposed to input $100.00 but accidentally put in $1000.00! When I proof read the form and realized the mistake, it was amazing to me how much one NOTHING can do.

It made me think of the many times I have said or heard; “Oh, It’s nothing.”

I just imagined what would have happened if I had left the form like that…

The awards were going to go clear up to the big boss’s desk and just suppose that she had missed that amount as well.

(I had actually shown it to the individual’s manager and he didn’t notice my mistake.)

Think with me for a moment, if you will.  What would have happened – say – If it would have gone all the way through the pipe line?  WOW what a bonus for a few hours work!

What if I had left off one of the nothings – $10.00?  WOW what a slap in the face for all that work!  Or Lets say I had not put in another nothing?  $1 – for all the work this employee had done over a month’s time that had helped the company greatly.

If we were to take out all of the nothings in the amount it would be just 1 cent.  That would have been quite a kick in the teeth! Let’s go back and imagine for just a second if I had added ANOTHER “NOTHING” to that award form? $10,000.00 Wouldn’t you have wanted to be the recipient of that?  I know I would.  Shoot – today I would take the $10.00!

This made me think, What if we do a bunch of ‘NOTHINGS” in each day – what a difference we can make, in our lives – because after all “IT IS NOTHING”.  Yet how do you feel when you do a “NOTHING” for someone?  You would feel pretty good most of the time if you knew you were doing little things for others that to you may be “NOTHING” but that they may be struggling to get to or just can’t do.

helping handsImagine – what the world would be like at work – people doing little random acts of “NOTHING” for each other? WOW – we might just want to be at work. Or our days would be so fun!

How about at home?  You and your husband just doing the little “NOTHINGS” that mean so much to each other or your children doing all the little “NOTHINGS” that would help SO much.

Have you done nothing all day?  You should feel pretty good about yourself about now.

Well, this is a whole lot of “NOTHING” for me to write a whole page about –

But it made me think.  “NOTHING” CAN MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE EVERYDAY!

Margo Loftus

Two Young Boys and the Importance of Family

guest-posting

The following two poems are very special to me. They are from my Aunt who wrote them for her son and my brother. I would like to take this moment to express how grateful I am for the example my Aunt set during this extraordinarily difficult time in her life. She doesn’t know, but her example of faith and fortitude have carried me through hard times in my own life.

The first poem is to my brother.

I will let her introduce them:

Bryan was born 3/26/86 and was diagnosed with Leukemia in July 1986. He was not initially diagnosed with Leukemia. They told us it was a virus that attacked his blood system because babies don’t get cancer. He was treated for a week and was sent home.  About 10 days later he went to Primary Children’s Medical center and was diagnosed with 2 kinds of Leukemia.

Bryan was in McKay Hospital getting blood and platelets when Jimmie was being born upstairs!  I feel they were friends and there is a reason Jimmie came when he did and is such a great man.  His guardian angel is the same age as he is.

Bryan died 3/2/87.

Dear Little Jimmie,
Dear little one
Do you know of the loss
Of my own little son?
You come to me
Stay with me
Laugh with me
Play with me.
I can see in your eye
You somehow know why
I cry.

Dear little Jimmie,baby hands
Dear little one.
You can never replace
My own little son.
But you hug me and kiss me
And somehow understand
And you dont seem to mind
when I kiss your small hand
And cry.

Dear little Jimmie,
Dear little one.
Your Parents are thankful
For their own little son.
I’m thankful too, that their son is you.
You are helping me through some difficult times
Sometimes through the tears
Because of your special charms.
I smile.

Margo Loftus
August 4, 1987

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you are gone,
Did I tell you I love you each day?
Before you left here for your Father so dear,bryan
Did I teach you my very best way?

Dear little Bryan,
When you were here
Did I say all that needed be said?
Did I cover you softly and kiss you enough
as you lay in your sweet little bed?

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone
I know I did not do enough.
Cuz there’s never enough time to do all that you should
But I did do the best that I could.

Dear little Bryan,
Now that you’re gone,
I can tell you in three little words
And I’ll send them to you so that they can be heard
On the wings of a special blue bird.

Dear little Bryan,
I’ll be with you someday and then I can do all the things
And tell you the three little words you have heard
That have come on that special bird’s wings.

Dear little Bryan,
I miss you my dear
And I think of you day after day.
I doubt that the pain that I feel in my heart
will stop ’til you’re walking my way.

Dear little Bryan,
My sweet little child,
’til that day comes and I hold you again
Be happy.
Do God’s work.
And remember ~
You’ll always be my little man.

Love, mom

May 1988
Margo Loftus

Guest Post: Jenny Shaw

A musician’s thoughts about channeling emotion into art…

By Indie Ogden’s Jenny Shaw
 

Writing can be therapeutic. Taking emotions that fill you with pain, anger,anguish, sorrow, love, hope,  hopelessness, dreams, love guest-posting– unrequited or fulfilled – and let you place them outside of you, where they can be used to create, to build, to make something beautiful out of something ugly…or something heartbreaking . The words you put on that page can let other people know they’re not alone, not the only person to feel this way.

Writing can be challenging. It asks us to move outside of the box we normally live in, the way we express ourselves to others. There are no rules to writing (aside from spelling…), no one can tell you what you have to say, what pictures you must paint for your readers. Writing frees you from the confines of the “normal” world and lets you escape into a place where nothing you say is wrong, nothing you feel is “too much”,Jenny singing too passionate, whiny, pleading, hopeful, silly, it’s never too much.

I write songs. Sometimes, I really like what I write. Sometimes… I wish they sounded more like something else. So, I start over. I never scrap anything, because who knows but that something I wrote three months ago and hated won’t speak to me now?

This is mine. It doesn’t have a name. But it speaks to me. It may become a song…maybe not. It might just stay how it is.

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

Who would’ve guessed something so good could ever end…

As one day blurs into the nextgirl moon stars

I long to see you again…

Now I look for you each day

Praying that someday soon you’ll find me,

Somewhere along the way…

As of yet, I walk alone through this dark and stormy world, 

Hoping and wishing on stars 

for a love to call my own

So my heart, at last, can be at home.

I thought I’d figured this out, at last

But I realize now how naive I was

To think someone like you would want someone like me

To keep

To call dibs

To say “She’s with me”

What was it?

What did I ever see?

Are you really such a fleeting thing?

To go from embraces by the fire,

to stolen glances filled with shame

Things will never be the same, will they?

I lie in wait

Waiting for your call.


When I listen to a song by someone else, or I choose to learn a song to play, the words are the most important thing. Followed by how I know it will sound when I sing it. The following is a song called Perivigilo by a band called First Aid Kit. The lyrics speak to me so strongly, a song of passion and desire, unrequited love and hope with the full knowledge that it’s just never gonna happen…

 And that’s all she wrote… for now!

-Jenny

About Jenny Shaw

I grew up in a rural town in northern Utah. My life wasn’t particularly exciting, no grand adventures or epic love stories. The oldest child of a middle-class American family, homeschooled and the only non-LDS family on the block, I didn’t have many friends growing up. So, I made them up. Writing became my escape, my way into the life and friendships I only dreamed of having. 

I’d been singing since before I can remember and writing for almost as long. Eventually, the two merged into angsty teenaged poetry which then evolved into something almost called real music. At this point in my life, my music and my writing are my ways of expressing myself, reaching into the world outside of me to add to it, make it more beautiful than it was before…and it is much cheaper than therapy. Ha!

 

Paradise Found

Rough trail leading to a seclysed campsite. Boats bobbing up and down on the lake.

Crystal clear water.campsites

 

Searing sunlight.

 

Smoke and pine sap.

Cool, clean air.

 

Crackling fire. Yelling and laughter. Hissing and fading voices.

 

How long will this paradise last? When will I have to leave?Indian_Lake_Campground_004

 

Calmed by the natural beauty. Overjoyed that it lasted. Sad to leave.

 

Lasting paradise. Lasting paradise. Lasting paradise.

 

By: Bradin Hodgson

 

Bradin Hodgson is 14. He lives in Utah. Bradin enjoys playing baseball and reading. Bradin is working hard to attend BYU after graduation.

 

 

Weird Cats I Know

There once was a cat,

Named Pickerie Pat,

Who didn’t believe in Santa.

There once was a cat,

A weird-o in fact,

Named I Like To Pee In My Pantsa.

Now one faithful day,

When these two cats met,

They met up with Pablo and Pattie Purr Pet.

What’s weird to you,

I think is fine.

Those cats are all mine.

 cats

By: Erin Jones: Hi! I’m Erin and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE cats so much. When I got the idea of typing stories and stuff I couldn’t wait to type cat stories. But when I read a Dr. Seuss book that had the best little poems in it I couldn’t wait to type a cat poem. One crazy thing is I’m only 7 ½! Crazy, huh? So one day when I was working on my 2nd cat story I remembered the little poems and rhymes that made me want to write little poems and rhymes, too. Sense I couldn’t get cats and weird stuff off my mind I had to write a poem about cats. Bye!

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!