Posts Tagged ‘Writers Resources’

Before heading off of facebook for my little vacay, I inquired to others on any recommended websites for creative writing prompts.  What I had come across in my own search were a lot that were just not that inspiring for me personally.  Either the prompts themselves were too boring or common, or some would be a supposed start to a story, but they would basically be a prompt giving away the whole story–which to me didn’t leave enough for it to go in crazy, fun, imaginative directions.


One of my friends, Greg, pointed me towards creativewritingprompts.com, which is a website with numbers 1 to 346.  On this site, you hover the cursor over any of the numbers with your mouse and then a prompt pops up.  This has been one of my favorites, and was the first one that I used.  They have some really fun abstract prompts like “write about the color of hunger,” or “write about the fickle Finger of Fate.”  Other prompts  include lists of words that must be included in your piece,  those that are written from a different point of view (like that of a wedding bouquet), or those that start with obscure questions like, “how would a broken plate feel?”


Some of my prompts have sprung up organically without having to search for them; meaning my writing took me to a place, which then made me curious, so I did some research, which led me to new information, which then led me to my next day’s writing prompt.  Kind of awesome.


I also like visual prompts, and in my hunt for these discovered the incredibly awesome Smithsonian Institutes’s photostream on Flickr.  I especially love old pictures of people I don’t know and to imagine who they were, what their lives were like, etc.  I haven’t used it as a prompt yet, but here is one of my favorite pics that I’ve found from this site:


Bob Bartlett and local inhabitant aboard ship during Bartlett’s Arctic Expedition, 1933




My newest delicious discovery is Story Starters from Scholastic.com.  It is a fantastic story starter generating “machine.”  You type in your name and then pick your grade (K-1, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-6th).  I mean who wouldn’t want to be a 2nd grader again?  It then takes you to the elementary school slot machine, where you can either pull the handle to have all four components come up at once, or push the individual buttons and do them one by one.  Once the four part “story starter” comes up, if there is a part that you’re not that excited about, you can change that one by spinning it again, but still keep the other three.  Or you can change two, or three, or all of them.  Some fun ones I’ve already been gifted with include, “Write a brief newspaper story about an overweight jellyfish that is afraid of spiders,” “Write a brief biography of an Arctic flamingo who paints murals,” and “Describe the secret wish of an unpopular carnival clown who only talks in rhyme.”  A lot of my creative writing pieces have been steering towards the more serious and philosophical side, so this was a really fun and refreshing change.


The piece I started today (I left it at a nail biting cliff hanger) was “Write a fairy tale about a hopping fire truck who loves peanut butter and jelly.”  I won’t spoil it and give it away, but let’s just say that Boris the Fire Truck may have been born with all of the natural attributes of a fire truck, but in his secret heart of hearts, he dreams of being a Monster Truck….and on this particular day, on his way home from the playground, he happens upon a magical, shiny, sparkly________….yeah I know…..you’re DYING to know the rest.



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I‘ve been avoiding you.  Don’t take it personally.  I’ve been working very hard to avoid all creative outlets in any way possible.  Facebook.  Sleeping.  Eating.  Housework.  Perezhilton.com.  You name it.  Anything that could fill my time with anything other than what I really want to be doing.

I haven’t been nice to myself about it either.  Deeming myself a procrastinator, lazy, a facade.  And the longer it has carried on, the more frustrated I have grown.  Just ask my oh-so-patient husband on the receiving end.

I have been blessed with an incredible amount of inspiration as of late.  People, places, sights, from-the-Heart live music, conversations, movies.  One was “Black Swan,” which we saw last weekend and which addresses the idea of “perfection.” (Btw, I’ve also seen “Blue Valentine” and “The Fighter” within the past couple of weeks…both which are excellent, HOWEVER, if you see only one movie in the immediate future PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE  do yourself a favor and see “Blue Valentine”—it is so rare to see a movie that is so utterly honest and raw and the true true true expression of Love—this movie lit a fire in me and moved me beyond description).  It (“Black Swan”) got me thinking a lot about myself and how I use the excuse of perfection (perfect conditions, perfect knowledge, perfect preparedness, etc) to put off and off and off free creative expressions that my LJ (Little Jenn—totally stole that from Julia Cameron) longs for.  And then by “hap circumstance” (hahaha), last week I found myself agreeing (??—certainly not without resistance) to co-facilitate a 12 week undertaking of The Artist’s Way….when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but….oh you sneaky, sneaky little chapter one:  the shadow artist and creative blocks.  Yes, of course I’ve read this chapter several times before.  Yes, of course I’ve taken 1000 classes, gone on a zillion retreats, done all kinds of release release RELEASE DAMNIT! work in the past.  Did that make me any more aware as to why I found myself avoiding the very thing I love, my very reason for being, around what this entire move to NYC has been about?


So, okay.  NOW I know.  In hindsight (20/20), it is so easy to see how and why this happened.  This move emerged from the Artist’s Way class I took last summer; the class that is about GENTLY recovering your artist.  And so what do I do with that class, but clearly hear the Voice that is within me and… I run with it.  Not teeny tiny little baby steps like Julia Cameron suggests, but huge, ginormous, giant leaps and bounds  to the moon and back.  So of COURSE there is the ego/logic brain of me that, even if on a subconscious level, is freaking the eff out.  What have you done with our safe, predictable Jenn?  “To hell with her!” Little Jenn proclaims, but the fight-or-flight, look-both-ways-before-crossing-the-street jenn (yes that lower case j is intentional) has been shaking her head vigorously, “oh HELL no.”

Prior to this revelation, I did realize I needed to get some Chi movement going in my life.  Activity breeds activity, and even though I didn’t understand that the procrastination was a block, I knew that if I could just get myself moving on SOMETHING, that would bleed out into every other creative aspect of my life.  So weeks ago, after “happening” (re: hahaha) upon a catalog, I signed up for a Creative Writing class through Gotham–which starts TODAY.  I know at the very least, it will highly benefit my acting process (during which I tend to do a lot of writing).  My gut tells me the benefits will spread out way beyond that intention.  When The Artist’s Way opportunity came along, I strongly considered dropping the class, thinking there was no way I could do both, especially with other projects I am inspired to do right now (oh, right– but am NOT doing!); but I quickly kicked that nonsense to the curb.  I have had FAR more on my plate in the past and gotten along juuuuust fine.

So here is what I am declaring: I give myself permission to take baby steps.  I give myself to take ridiculously gigantic steps.  I give myself permission to fall down, make a mess, cry, laugh, sing, scream.  Oh, and re: this blog—I give myself permission to NOT wait until the “perfect” time and inspiration have occurred.  Writing one sentence is fine.  One word.  One picture.  Whatever strikes me at that moment.  It doesn’t have to be about some big “aha” moment in my consciousness.  At the time it can seem like utter and total crap.  As long as it is me being Me.  That is my new definition of perfection.

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