With the holidays fast approaching, take some time to sit and think and write. The following prompts come from the book Q&A A Day for Writers: 365 Questions for Creative Exploration. Enjoy!
December 1, 2016
What is something you tend to notice that others (probably) don’t?
December 2, 2016
Do you have a bio at the ready? Attempt to write or update your bio here (while picturing it on a book jacket, a speaker program, or after a blog post). As an extra challenge, try to add one note of humor to it.
December 3, 2016
In an Exquisite Corpse, writers pass a story back and forth, writing one sentence at a time. Find a friend and write an Exquisite Corpse with them.
December 4, 2016
As the season approaches, think back on a beloved gift from childhood — and write about it here.
December 5, 2016
Describe falling in love as a resurrection.
December 6, 2016
If humans successfully colonized Mars — say the outpost had been up and running well for a year — and you were given the opportunity to go, would you take it? Even if it was a one-way ticket? Write through your decision and what you imagine it would be like to give up life on Earth.
December 7, 2016
What stimulates you?
December 8, 2016
Bedridden with cerebral meningitis in a cheap residential hotel in Paris, Oscar Wilde said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” He died a few weeks later. Use this milieu as inspiration for a description of an invalid’s room, perhaps even Wilde’s own.
December 9, 2016
Write about a race that begins and ends in this small space.
December 10, 2016
If you had to describe a place as your spiritual home, or a group of people as your spiritual family, what/who would that be and why?
December 11, 2016
Open a random book to a random, right-hand page. Read the last sentence and write what you imagine could come next. (Yes, you can look at the real outcome in the book after you’re done).
December 12, 2016
Recall a time of visceral fear. How would you describe the experience only through sensation rather than your thoughts, emotions, or the event itself?
December 13, 2016
In the film, American Beauty, one teenager shows another video footage he’s taken of a plastic bag dancing in a breeze against brick and concrete, saying, “It’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world.” Can you devise a scene in which something ugly or mundane suddenly makes an emotional impact?
December 14, 2016
Describe a first: a first kiss, a first pet, first dance — yours or someone else’s.
December 15, 2016
Listen to Louis L’Amour, who said, “A writer’s brain is like a magician’s hat. If you’re going to get anything out of it, you have to put something in it first.” Simply copy down a piece of writing that you love here.
December 16, 2016
Peel the personality of someone you know like an onion. There is the protective exterior — what they present to the world — and then there are layers and layers until you come to the heart. See how far you can go.
December 17, 2016
Pen in hand, a man stares down at a contract, sighs, and signs the document. What is the contract for?
December 18, 2016
How do you feel about your educational history and who you have been as a student? Do these things affect you today?
December 19, 2016
Do you think the Internet is a reflection of society or its own kind of society? Will the Internet ultimately prove to be a force for good or evil?
December 20, 2016
Charles Dickens was described as a friend as having “a hankering after ghosts.” He didn’t just write about them, he hunted them as part of London’s Ghost Club in the mid-1800s. Do you have a good ghost story to share? If not, write one about Dickens on the hunt.
December 21, 2016
Write a scene that embodies hygge. Hygge is a Danish concept that conveys the emotional coziness of conviviality. Fire and candelight are often used to create an atmosphere ripe for hygge.
December 22, 2016
In his memoir, On Writing, Stephen King implores, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Find a previous entry you quite liked and rewrite it.
December 23, 2016
What will change in ten years?
December 24, 2016
From the Department of Good News for Visionary People, a quote from Julian Barnes (in Flaubert’s Parrot): “Happiness lies in the imagination, not the act. Pleasure is found first in anticipation, later in memory.” Studies have shown that the reality of gratification can pale in comparison to planning, imagining, and remembering. Use this space to plan an adventure.
December 25, 2016
If you had the power to decree a new holiday, what would it honor? How would we celebrate it? What would some of the essentials of this holiday be, and what foods would be associated with it?
December 26, 2016
Write a “conversation” without spoken words. (A hint if you need it: body language.)
December 27, 2016
Describe your best feature.
December 28, 2016
In Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel, Tessa warns that you must be careful of books “and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.” Write about a book that has changed you.
December 29, 2016
As the year comes to a close, think about your creative goals. What do you want for next year?
December 30, 2016
Attempt to predict how you will spend New Year’s Eve a year from now.
December 31, 2016
If this year had one more day in it, what would you do with it?