7 prompts to inspire your writing during holidays

holiday_writing

Holidays…you like them and you hate them in the same time, right? I don’t know about you, but for me – every holiday I enjoy some additional spare time  I have if I manage to take short travel or read a good book. But sometimes, it can get hard and hectic to fulfill all family duties that are expected of you, do the errands, cleaning, cooking…and guess what – little or no time for writing. As we are entering a ‘red zone’ of holiday celebrations, there are some smart ways you can employ even in the midst of chaos and steal few minutes for your poem writing. Still, being busy with everything else can leave us feeling empty and tired – all you want is sleep and quietness.

Today I want to encourage you even if you are buried over your head with holiday preparations, travel plans and ext. to use that atmosphere creatively and festive, holiday spirit transform into an inspiration for writing.

Here are my top 7 seven writing ideas:

1.If you have some unresolved issues about upcoming holidays, use that as an opportunity to more explore in your writing. What are your current plans – would like to change them? Are you excited or nervous? How would you rather spent your holiday time? You can write a poem, story, or just as an idea for free writing or journaling. This can also serve as a casual warm up writing sessions for something more concrete you have in mind to write.

2.Imagine you are a travel writer set on a new adventure, traveling to a place you always wanted to visit. Where are you going? Who is traveling with you? What are you most excited about? Describe every detail, people, atmosphere, landscapes…For more creative insights on this subject you can also have a look at this creativity exercise and deepen your writing practice further.

3.Try to evoke some dear and meaningful childhood memory you have in relation to holidays. Portray those feelings in a poem that will honor that happiness and excitement you experienced as a child.

4.Remember some funny moment or joke during family gathering. What was funny about it? Did you have a good laugh? Or you disliked it? Use it as trigger to further inspire your writing.

5.Pretend you are a hosting a festive party for your favorite holiday. Everyone is there, your family and friends…everything goes well until something unexpectedly happens. Guests are confused and don’t know how to react to latest developments..

6.What is your favorite holiday? Describe it without actually naming it, but through the usage of your senses: how does it smell, is it cold or warm? Is it noisy,  are you alone? Are you traveling? Employ your senses to the most intricate details and let your imagination takes you from there.

7.You are just about to go to the airport (for your holiday vacation), when your old school friend, you haven’t seen in ages appears at your door. What do you do? You engage in conversation, you invite them in, you are pleasantly surprised or something else happens?

Use these prompts not only to ignite your writing but challenge yourself to examine some of those feelings you might be having about holidays, family relationships and ext. Let your imagination go wild and no matter how chaotic your holidays get, squeeze in some time for writing to release any tension you might have and give yourself a chance to relax.


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Spice up your writing with ‘upgraded’ found poetry (creative writing exercise)

stevejobs

Creating and being creative are certainly two conditions similar, but not the same. Creating is often related to producing something new, innovative, while being creative is often referred to being able to observe two, three or more unrelated objects and connect them in a new way, thus eventually producing something new.

So today’s exercise is while having a broader writing prompt, also an opportunity to practice being creative, where poetry can be a wonderful tool to use.

For example, pick your three favorite poems, from three different authors – the best is if the poems are thematically different (but doesn’t have to be) and ask yourself, what do they have in common? The more challenging this is, the more creative you’ll have to be with your writing and create  a new poem. But instead of just creating found poem, go a step further: use these three poems just as a starting canvas for your new writing where you will try to revive the initial feelings that made you love those poems in the first place. Find that image in your mind that emulates the experience you had while reading those poems and portrait that image in your new poem.You can use some stanzas in your writing or you can just refer to those poems as a starting point – it’s up to you.

I’ve chosen excerpts from the following that are quite dark, sensual and haunting – perfect for the Halloween warm-up 😉

This Is A Photograph Of Me by Margaret Atwood

It was taken some time ago
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you can see something in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or how small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion.

but if you look long enough
eventually
you will see me.) 

There Are Intersections… by Joyce Mansour

There are intersections where the night

The joy jumps on the back

Of the passerby

Such the lonely dawn in the acid wind

The decapitated dies standing up

Below

Body to body in the mud

Teeming furnace

The worms

Whips with triple straps

Caress the tip of the roots

Of flesh

Meat of sacrifice

Gem of the putrefaction

With no burden other than its arms

Tied elbow to elbow

Behind

Bundles of blood on the promised land

Thunderbird Motel by Kelly Boyker

There is no place to drown here, so instead
we take turns suffocating each other with pillows
going just a little longer each time.
I am already rehearsing my speech to the manager,
already placing the ice cubes in my mouth
hoping they melt before the maid wheels her cart into our room.

 My ‘upgraded’ found poem:

There is no place to drown here,

yet if you do leave a lonely dawn to live

melting ice cubes will form a lake,

with muddy intersections

where worms eat the roots

of the acid wind with joy.

The center of the picture,

photograph carved in the land halfway up of
a gentle
slope,

is the blooded pillow I dived in, absorbing my mute speech.

Body to body

elbow to elbow

awaken city of your sensual thoughts

culminates in this subsided, heavy roar of

broken eternity –

resistance takes place,

like gem of the putrefaction,

distortion of time

in the tied flesh of the watery space.

This is a wonderful exercise as it teaches you to connect things in different relations and helps you evoke that emotional response you need to fuel your creative writing. I was always somehow amazed with the topics of loneliness, isolation, mysterious and esoteric, always being different and not falling into patterns of societal stereotypes (which partially explains my selection of poems). And it is one of my driving creative forces – exploring and going beyond the given boundaries and prejudices.

I simply love this exercise as it helps you literally to rewire the typical thinking of your brain and produce interesting moments in your creative writing. It’s super easy, doable anywhere you like it, and can keep you being proactive with your writing when you lack ideas or inspiration.


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Making sense of life: putting your memoir in poetic discourse (writing prompt)

Dent Blanche im Nebel, 4000er im Kanton Wallis, Schweiz. Alps of Switzerland

Following this post published few weeks ago, it occurred to me: there is always something we haven’t told yet. A story, an event or memory that we shy from for some reason, that we avoid thinking about, talking about. And I don’t mean talking to others, but to ourselves. That internal conversation (or lack of it), has a subtle impact on our day to day life governing our decisions and choices in ways we are not even aware of. Our subconsciousness is like a vast ocean where we can drown deep with our feelings or we can strive for the surface to enjoy the sun and blue sky.

Each emotion and memory from the past has hidden opportunity for growth and healing. And these are the main reasons why people engage in writing memoirs. It’s a path of self-exploration, where time, the main ingredient offers different perspectives and lays a platform for us to embrace and accept our past. Not simply to remember but to celebrate each moment in life as these moments are the foundation for our future self. It can be painful and cathartic, but most importantly – freeing! In this interesting interview, Samantha M. White the author of  Someone to Talk To: Finding Peace, Purpose, and Joy After Tragedy and Loss explains that in your memoir writing  – the results can go beyond your initial intention.

Writing my memoir transformed my life. Not only my day-to-day present, and my future, but even the past about which I had written!

Transformation was not my goal. I wrote it because I had a story pent up inside me, pressing to be told – to share what had happened to me, and how I had found my way out of pain. I wanted to assure readers of the universality of suffering, and the reality of healing and finding new joy. I felt driven, and afraid that if I died before publishing the book, an important message wouldn’t be heard”.

So today I want to propose a bit different writing exercise. Think of any event or situation in your life that you would like to understand better, to explore, analyze or that just needs to be ‘poured’ on your paper and write a poem about it. Tell your story using poetry. And you might ask, why just don”t write about it? I think that poetry goes beyond prose writing and it allows you more freedom to express your feelings in different ways. Often we can’t find the right plain, straightforward words to say something but it needs metaphoric guidance that offers us strengths to deeply dive into the ocean of our subconsciousness. Take your time and write your way through it.

Narrative form of poetry and memoir complements each other to open the door of that internal conversation – you might be surprised what ‘s on the other side.

I personally often use this technique to simply sort my feelings and make a sense of life. These confessional poems are often highly emotionally charged and there’s the beauty: being able to feel is for me a proof that I’m alive. Accept every emotion that comes your way, because that’s human – to be vulnerable and celebrate your flaws, mistakes and successes as you navigate through life – the best you can.


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