ANYTHING Can Be a Prompt: (Prompts, Pt. 2)

Do you believe me when I tell you that ANYTHING can be a writing prompt?

When I did a week-long writing retreat with Natalie Goldberg, I remember ‘tar’ was a prompt, and I thought, “Really? What am I going to write about ‘tar?’

But if you read, 4 Reasons to Never Judge a Writing Prompt: (Prompts, Pt. 1), you know that you can never tell beforehand where a prompt will take you and how the prompt might reveal what wants to be written, known, experienced, or released.

ANYTHING can be a prompt.

*dusk * what I learned from my mother *a favorite feeling you had this week *coffee * I want… *peppers *sneakers *4th grade *nail polish *trust

Object Prompts and Concept Prompts: You’ll notice that object prompts (*sneakers *nail polish *coffee) are easier to write with concreteness and sensory detail compared to concept prompts (*what I learned from my mother *a favorite feeling you had today *trust) which can lead you into abstract thought. With either prompt, the more specific you are about the sensory details, the more in your body you’ll be.

Ways to pick a prompt:

  • Look around the room, or if you’re outside, look around you. Find 5 objects that catch your eye or interest or stir an emotion (or not!): *coffee mug *rug stain *hummingbird *red bike *gray clouds…
  • Tune into sounds around you: *dishwasher *lawnmower *neighbors fighting *dog snoring *traffic
  • Open a book, newspaper, magazine, book of poems and scan the page for the first word or phrase that jumps out at you. *I am releasing… *investment *beauty is startling *ice skates *she sleeps on a futon on the floor and lives close to the ground
  • Visit a prompt website, or get a deck of cards with inspiring or thought-provoking phrases, questions, and mantras. Here’s a Danielle LaPorte card I just pulled from her TruthBomb deck: *What would give you great comfort right now? (I LOVE this prompt)
  • Create a list of your favorite evergreen prompts to use again and again. My favorite evergreen prompt? In this moment…

Happy pen and prompt writing.