I’m sometimes asked where I get my ideas from. Anywhere and everywhere is the quick answer. I have a head full to overflowing with ideas – it’s getting them down on paper that’s the tricky bit.
But occasionally, I’ll resort to going through old notebooks for inspiration, and I’ll sometimes find little gems I’ve forgotten about, pieces of writing I always intended going back to but never did. That’s why I keep all my old notebooks. It’s not that I’m a hoarder or anything…
Anyway, here’s a bit of a writing prompt for poets (sorry, story writers, essayists and memoirists, although you can try this too!).
Do you have a Spotify playlist of your favourite songs? If you have, you can skip this next bit after noting the first 15 titles and numbering them.
If you don’t have a playlist, it is time to make a theoretical one. Write down a list of the titles of your favourite 15 songs. I’ll go off and make a cup of tea while you do this (I like mine strong, black and unsweetened, preferably an Earl Grey blend, thanks for asking).
Now read on (no cheating here, otherwise this simply doesn’t work).
Pick numbers at random, from 1-15 (you could roll a couple of dice or three, or just guess, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey style).
Now look at the list of song titles you have. I bet you have a really random set of words? Good!
Your writing task is to turn this list into a poem – 10 lines maximum, which allows you to leave out a few of the trickiest words if you must.
Get creative – at this point, anything goes because you’re the only person reading this new creation. But by working hard at it, rearranging the words, listening to the rhythm of the sounds, thinking about the length of the lines – and, of course, the meaning – you might end up with a short poem you’d like to share with the world. Good luck!
If you’d like some more writing prompts and to find out about publishing opportunities, consider joining a friendly writing group like the ones I run in Charlestown Arts Centre (County Mayo, Ireland). We’re currently open to new members. We meet on Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings, every other week, and you can find out a little more about what we’re up to on our Facebook page.
No booking required, just come with pen and paper (preferably in the form of a notebook you’ll want to keep) – and an open mind.