Articles with titles like “What I Learned by Shaving My Head” are my favorite kind. When I click on an article like that, I know that I’m getting genuine thoughts from somebody who is writing about an experience, not just a topic. Nobody wants advice from an inexperienced, self-proclaimed expert. All this to say: you’re welcome. I started to write a cookie cutter blog about creative writing and all the marvelous topics you can find on the internet to help you get started on your creative writing journey, when it occurred to me that I have never actually used writing prompts myself…
So, instead of suggesting you do something I’ve never even done, I decided to try them out. I found a creative writing website called Think Written that provides a unique prompt for every day of the year. I asked three of my coworkers to each choose a number between 1 and 365 and committed to writing about the corresponding topic. Naturally, I disliked all three topics, but for the sake of experiment I went through with it anyway. For clarification, each of the prompts are bolded, my commentary is in normal font, and the actual product is in italics.
89. Facebook or Twitter Status:Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update.
I don’t poem, so this was a discouraging start. At the suggestion of fellow writing consultant Isaac, I went for the easiest poem of all, a haiku. In a strange twist of fate, it happened to be Isaac’s status that first popped up on my Facebook feed: “This morning, as I sleepily ate my breakfast, I noticed that it kind of tasted like a waffle cone. Y’know, for ice cream. I was eating waffles. I guess they’re called waffle cones for a reason. *facepalm*”
A haiku about waffles; why not?
Waffles for breakfast
Ice cream in a waffle cone
360. Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.
I started this creative writing challenge back on January 8, after having done literally nothing for the first few days of 2016. Oh joy. Since I hate writing poems, I went with a couple of journal entries instead, and this is the weirdness that was produced. I apologize in advance.
I’ve been assessing the past week of my life, and I’ve come to a terrifying conclusion: I live a very lowly existence. I have only accomplished three things this week. I’ve gone to work, I’ve cleaned my apartment, and I’ve consumed food. That is it. In my defense, these three things are forcing me into a vicious cycle. I get hungry, so I have to go to work to make money to buy food. When I cook the food, I usually make a mess and I am forced to clean it up. Cleaning then makes me hungry all over again. A vicious cycle I tell you!
As you might expect, upon making such a pathetic discovery, I decided to evaluate my life as whole. I backtracked to examine this past month and I hate to report that my findings are grim; I have spent my time doing only three things. You guessed it. Working. Cleaning. Eating. Panic led me to determine if this is something I have been doing all year long. And it is.
Aside from an occasional scroll through Facebook and a few episodes of Gilmore Girls, I have done nothing with my year except work, clean, and eat. Mozart composed over 600 works in just 30 years of life. Alexander Hamilton wrote 51 of The Federalist Papers essays in six months. Michael Phelps won 8 gold medals in less than two weeks. And what am I doing with my time? Working, cleaning, and eating. White crayons contribute more to a coloring book than I do to society. I must figure out something to do with my life!
False alarm. Something important occurred to me last night as I lay awake pondering my measly existence. Sure, I may have spent this week, this month, and this year to date doing nothing of significance, but that’s okay. Because today is January 8. The week may be lost but the month and the year are young! Now I must go. It’s Friday night and I have plans.
204. Strength: Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.
The best thing that came to mind was the time I was a participant in the I Am Second Race and sprinted past some guy right at the end. This is the essay that memory inspired.
Beating boys is a lot of fun. Now, I don’t mean beating up boys, because that’s just mean. Beating them competitively is something entirely different.
In my heart of hearts I believe that sports are about having fun. Really, I do. They are fun, but they’re exponentially more fun when I’m the winner. In fact, I’ll just be honest and admit that I hate losing. I hate losing more than the Grinch used to hate Christmas. In my early years of playing sports I was taught to believe that any team can beat any other team on any given day (this is especially useful to remember when the Cowboys are playing). I was also taught that competing against boys is no exception to this rule.
I’ve played almost every sport available to me since I was four years old, and I’ve encountered many a male opponent. My all-girls-traveling- soccer team played games against our counterpart all-boys-traveling team on a regular basis. Basketball practices sometimes involved scrimmages against the guys. Driving range competitions at golf practice were usually held between boys and girls. Mixed doubles in tennis demanded that I play with and against boys. And races may give awards to separate gender categories, but when you’re out on the course, everybody is somebody to beat.
I have never once excused a loss simply because the winner happened to be of the male species. Sometimes girls out-run, out-shoot, out-swing, and all-around out-play boys. It’s not a big deal, though the world likes to pretend that it is. Competitiveness is a human trait, not exclusively masculine or feminine. Beating boys is fun; not because I feel like a successful underdog or a redeemed victim, but because winning is fun. That’s all there is to it.
And there you have it; my experiment with creative writing prompts is complete. If you want to give it a shot yourself, here’s the link to Think Written http://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/ I can’t say that it’ll be an easy task or that I would recommend you do one every day, but writing prompts definitely have their advantages. It will be a fantastic way for you to sharpen up creative skills you may not have used in a while, and it will definitely boost your confidence as a writer. If you are capable of writing a poem about breakfast food, you are capable of writing about anything.
Written by Savanna
Image credit: http://40.media.tumblr.com/001f8c42ea985c0a777cc2c7820d2376/tumblr_njtpuc6X5t1sg2aiqo1_500.jpg