Shelter and Write Prompt 13: Re-Vision

Look back at a piece of writing that you did before the pandemic affected your life. This could be as simple as an email that you wrote, something as complex as a contract you made, or it could be something more creative, like a story or poem.

How would you write this text differently now? Perhaps a short story you wrote will now have this news in the background. Perhaps you can add new meaning to a poem because of something you’ve learned. Perhaps an essay you wrote will now include your current experiences. 

Rewrite the piece you’ve chosen in a new way, looking at it with today’s eyes.

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 12: Gratitude

Pick one thing that you feel particularly grateful for right now. It could be your dog, chocolate, the snow melting. Anything that has caught your attention and made you feel some gratitude. 

Write about it in detail. Why are you grateful for it? What does it mean to you? How has your feeling about this thing solidified or changed? Did you notice this thing in the pace of your normal life? Was it something you took for granted? Or has the way things have slowed down made you see it in a new light? Perhaps it is something you never needed or noticed in the before-times. Or maybe it is something you have always been grateful for. Describe it for us and help us also feel grateful for it.

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 11: Someone Who Thrives

Imagine a character (or write about yourself!) thriving during the epidemic. Write their story. 

Who is this person? What was their life like three months ago? What did they want for their life then? 

How has their life been affected? Are they thriving now because of coincidence, or because of something to do with Covid-19? Are they thriving by chance or have they taken advantage of the situation? What are they gaining? Are their dreams coming true or is it a situation that is wholly different than anything they could have imagined? 

What is happening in their lives as the pandemic takes place around them? And how does their story end?

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 10: Write a Haibun

Write a haibun. A haibun is a mix of haiku poetry and prose. To begin your haibun, go outside (but keep your distance from people!) and write 3 haikus (5-7-5 syllables!) about things you see in nature. Perhaps it is the change in seasons, new growth as snow melts, or the absence of cars. What specific images do you notice? Write haikus about the small things you notice, and try to keep your focus on the concrete imagery.

Then, write prose between each haiku about what the images you used from nature make you think about. Why did you choose these specific images? How do they connect to your life right now? How do they connect to the larger picture of our current times?

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 9: Changes in Setting

Write about a setting that changes. This could be fictional, or it could be your own setting. 

What is your (or your character’s) current setting? Start small, with a bedroom, or an office. Give us the details so that we really feel like we are there. Then think about how this setting has changed in recent weeks. Are there more people around or less? New smells because of your roommate’s new baking obsession? A new makeshift desk in your garage? How has your immediate setting changed and been changed?

Then go larger and larger: How has your house been affected? Your neighborhood? Your town? Your state? Your country? Bonus points if you can then tie back to the small and the personal at the end!

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 8: Find the Helpers

Mr. Rogers said: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Find someone who is helping and write about them. It could be someone doing something big on the front lines, or someone doing something small in your neighborhood.

Who is this person? They could be someone you know, someone you saw on the news, or even a character that you imagine. What are they doing that is helpful and who are they helping? How did they start helping and why?

Why is the thing they are doing important? How does it connect to the larger picture?

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 7: The Windows

What is outside your window right now? Sit in front of the window for 30 minutes and record everything you see. Describe the cloud passing by, the way the shadows are falling. Tell us about the birds that pass by and the movement of the sun and the wind. Are there cars passing, or people? Try to paint the picture just outside your window in as much detail as possible. 

As one of my mentors used to say, “notice what you notice.” What do you notice about right here, right now? Why are you noticing those things? What thoughts are spawned by what you see? How is this window also a window into your thoughts?

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 6: Look to History

Do some research on a historical epidemic that has some relevance to you. It could be a family story or the history of epidemics in a place you feel connected to, or even one you’ve just been curious about.

Write about the similarities and differences between that epidemic and the one you face today. What are the stories around that epidemic that you feel inspired by? That you can look to for comfort? Where are the connections? What lessons can we learn? 

Find one point of connection that is helpful to you. Maybe it is something different about our current situation that gives you hope. Maybe it is someone from the past situation who inspired you. Write in detail about this helpful point of connection.

For a fictional twist, write a story in which the main character is living in the historical epidemic and comes to similar lessons and connections.

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 5: Taking Comfort

What is one small thing you are taking comfort in right now? Maybe it is a song, a person, seedlings, or the days getting longer. What is it that is bringing you a little bit of solace?

Describe this thing bringing you comfort in great detail. What does it look like, feel like? What does it remind you of? Why is it bringing you comfort?

Then draw connections between this thing and the current situation. In what ways are they similar? How could the thing that is bringing you comfort signify your current state? Can you turn the thing that is bringing you solace into an extended metaphor for your experience, or create a story centered around this comforting thing?

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.

Shelter and Write Prompt 4: Start with an Interview

Find someone who is affected by COVID-19 in a different way than you are. It might be someone who is taking a different approach to protecting themselves, someone who is quarantined, a local teacher, someone who had plans that have now changed. 

Get their story. What is interesting or notable about the way they are handling the situation?

Use this interview as the inspiration for today’s writing. Perhaps you want to juxtapose your own experience with the interviewee’s experience. Maybe you want to take key words and phrases from the interview and use them in a poem. You could use one detail from the interview to base a story around, or something that was said as your first line.

This post is part of a series I am doing that includes 30 prompts for 30 days of sheltering at home. You can read more about my reasoning and also find other prompts here. I would love to see what you come up with. Feel free to share here or to tag your work #shelterandwrite.