Shelter and Write Prompt 25: Found Phrases

Over the next few days, collect the words and phrases that stand out to you. There are a lot of phrases that have come into the recent zeitgeist: “new normal,” “flatten the curve,” and “social distance,” to name a few. You might also consider using quotes from news articles, survivors, politicians, or friends. What are people around you saying? What do you hear on the TV? What are the headlines, or the things you are reading on your feed? 

Take some time to make note of the ones that really strike a chord with you. Create a piece based on these phrases. For fiction, you could start with one of those as your first line. Or your last. You could try to use them all in a poem, or reflect on the underlying meaning of each one in an essay. One great example is Jessica Salfia’s The First Line of Emails I’ve Received While Quarantining. 

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 24: Forbidden Places

Think of a place you cannot be right now. Maybe it is with someone you love, or a vacation you were planning, or even just your local hang out. Or perhaps it’s a place you don’t want to be right now. Describe that place in as much detail as possible so that we can experience it along with you. 

What would it be like if you were currently there? Is it good or bad that you cannot be there? What does this place mean to you and what are the repercussions of not being able to be there? What would the repercussions be if you were there?

PS: Like always, you can fictionalize this prompt and use it to get started on a short story. 

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 23: The Structure of Days

Write a detailed description of current daily life. Perhaps you will use your own life as the basis for a poem or essay. Or you could imagine a fictional character trying to get through these uncertain times. 

Start with a schedule. Go into detail. How do days generally unfold now? Are they all similar, like Groundhog Day? Or are they completely unpredictable? What do you notice about the structure of the day?

How has daily life changed? How is it similar? Describe the movements and habits of this person. What do they do right when they wake up? Have eating habits changed? What they wear? Where they go? What is different in the way that the day flows? What do they notice, or not notice anymore? 

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 22: Responding to Inspiration

Find a poem that resonates with you in these times. You could check out these poems chosen by poets from Emory University, these collaborations sponsored by the Poetry Society of New York, or these pieces written by Alaskan writers for 49 Writers. Or perhaps you have recently seen some other piece of writing that spoke to you about what you are going through now. 

Type out the poem and then under each line, write your own response to just that line. It could be one word, a paragraph, or even the start of a story. Continue through the entirety of the poem. Then, delete the original poem so that only your lines are on the page. Use these lines to create your own piece of writing. Perhaps one line sparked an idea for a story or essay. Maybe  delete lines or words, or rearrange them to make a poem. Whatever you choose, use the writing you have done in response to your original chosen piece to create your own, new work.

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 21: Erasure

Find a text about current events that really catches your eye. It could be a news article, a social media post, a poem, or any kind of text, but it’s good to choose something with at least a full page of text so you have a lot of words to choose from. 

Black out sections of the text to create a poem or story with new meaning. This means that you will use only words from the text in the order they are in, but you can erase any part of the text you wish. Check out Sara Adam’s poetry for an example! 

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 20: The Worry Solution

What is your biggest anxiety right now? Imagine that you hear a knock on the door and it is someone who has the solution to your worries. 

Who is it who shows up? Is it someone you’ve been missing? A doctor with a vaccine? Someone offering you your dream job? Your fairy godmother? A better version of yourself? Who can help fix these worries and anxieties?

Write a conversation in which you tell your worries to this person in detail. What advice do they offer? What solutions do they have? What do they bring or do in order to quell the worries? What is the outcome?

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 19: The Lasting Image

What is one image, one photograph (from the news, or your social media feed, etc.) that has left a lasting impression on you? 

Describe this image in detail. Do not use your memory. Actually look at the picture and describe exactly what you see. What did you remember about it and what details do you notice about it now? You might even want to do a little research about the image. How do these details make meaning for you? Why and how has this image impacted you?

Now that you have all the details in mind, use your description of this image as the starting point for an essay, a story, or a poem. Create the world around this image. What happened before, after, and during the image that we see? What happened behind the scenes?

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.