Are you suffering from creative burnout? With the following five writing prompts for stimulating your imagination your storytelling will soon reach new stratospheres.
During hard times it’s quite common for our imagination to take a nosedive. Our daily lives, crises and sorrows are so demanding that we lose the ability to see what lies beyond them. If life suddenly becomes too real, one can always find shelter in one’s imagination. There we ourselves determine the beginning, the ending and all those genuine moments in-between.
However, during especially in hard times–like the pandemic–our imagination seemingly doesn’t want to cooperate. Instead of tackling new challenges, we find ourselves trying to find solutions for already existing ones. Our creativity is focused on daily chores: the writing of e-mails and shopping lists, the baking of bread and so forth. And that’s fine, at least for a while. Those of us, who want to create something new however, to write a book or a poem, to compose music or a new recipe, will soon be shown our limitations. Imagination doesn’t come from an assembly line. It’s not nurtured by routine, but rather by new sensations, adventures and impulses. When times are dire and inspiration has run dry, authors need to be open to the unexpected. Those, who do not allow themselves new experiences, aren’t providing the necessary nurture for their imagination. Since nurturing one’s imagination isn’t always easy, we at novum have conceptualized five writing prompts to inspire our readers. With these prompts for sparking your imagination we’ll hopefully allow you to get lost in your daydreams and find the inspiration you seek. What’s needed from you? Pen, paper and the desire to let the demands of your daily life pass you by for a couple of hours.
Five writing prompts for more imagination
One of the most joyous things about writing is the ability to surprise oneself. Even when adhering strictly to a predetermined plot structure, new never-thought-of ideas pop up. To enhance this surprise effect, try the following writing prompt: Write about a situation, where you were truly surprised by something. What happened in that moment? Which reactions and feelings were triggered? Can you relive this specific moment in your imagination?
If you are currently writing a book or a short story, you could try to surprise one of your characters. Imagine that your main character receives an unexpected letter. If you like to be surprised by your own thoughts, consider also which things can’t surprise you any longer or those that still surprise you, even though you should know better. You’ll see that your imagination will create extraordinary ideas and scenarios all by itself.
Window into the world
Those who have spends days and weeks in isolation during quarantine, have surely come to treasure the view from their windows. A window into the world outside opens up the possibilities for a good conversation or bizarre observations. All throughout the day and night there is a chance of making unexpected discoveries. For your next writing prompt think about windows. There are multiple ways to tackle this topic.
To sharpen your writing skills, you could–for example–describe the same scenery in summer and then in winter. How does the landscape change? How does the light of the streetlamp illuminate the cold winter compared to the soft dusk of summer? If you like this prompt, you could also try to describe how one and the same scenery changes throughout the rhythm of a single day.
You expect more from the unexpected? Imagine that you see something nefarious through your neighbour’s window. What could it be? Maybe all you see is the commonplace of daily life. Leave nothing out in your description and try to see as much as possible from the perspective of the people, who live next door.
If you enjoy opening the windows of your imagination, try the following free association exercise: Which words and stories come to your mind when you think about windows? Lean far outside the windows of your imagination during this exploration.
The art of seduction
Let yourself go completely–during hard times we dream of someone or something that will take us by the hand and release use from our daily lives. With this writing prompt you’ll transport yourself into the unknown. It works like this: Let yourself be seduced. Describe the personal object of your desire. Find words for the effect a doughnut, an expensive vacation or your ideal partner can have on you. How could you attract them? What leads you to desire? How does he, she or it speak to you? And how does the moment feel, when you finally let go? Build imaginative skyscrapers and castles in the air.
Ambassadors of imagination
Not only spiritual people believe in other-worldly signs and messages. Maybe as an author in your dreams, during a walk or while conversing you have received a signal, which helped you to push your narrative forward. Imagine that kind of signal now. Describe a real or fictional situation, in which a message changes the life of the person receiving it. Maybe it’s something subtle like a smell that you’ve long forgotten or the unmistakable cry of an eagle owl from outside your window. It could also be something supernatural like a picture that suddenly falls off the wall or something deeply imaginative like a being of light in your wardrobe. Surely, you’ll have some ideas by now. Describe the exact situation and the importance behind the sign. How can one single sign change an entire life? What type of stories will be revealed trough this thought experiment?
Saving the best for last
You don’t want to accept the ending of a real or fictional story? Then write your own! During the first step, write down the ending which comes to your mind. Now imagine every detail of the re-narrated story. Dig deep into the structures of the scene, the plot and the characters. How does the story continue? The end, which you use as a template for this prompt, can be taken out of a book, a film or a play. Turn it into a completely original story, expand upon your ideas and–the most important part–surprise yourself!
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Let your hands roam freely over your keyboard!
Your novum publishing team