Soul-Stirring Writing Prompts, Vol. 1
In this space, we’re really into nurturing creatives. Mostly so we can groom them into clickbait robots for our meager magazine and make a profit, but also because we believe any act of creating deeply influences the whole person--mind, body, and soul. And when we do the inner healing work of art (getting spiritual here, sry) we prime ourselves to give something really worthwhile to the world. When we create, we hold out our hands and say “here’s the fruit of my process,” offering hope and truth to somebody who needs it. That’s the magic of creativity. To us, anyway.
The cool part is, you don’t have to consider yourself a writer to benefit from writing prompts (a fancy word for “exercise” I’m holding on to from my workshop days). We’re all creators, co-authoring the narratives we live in and, whether we like it or not, cultivating the reality of those around us with our words and deeds. Writing is just a starting place--one (really helpful, rewarding) venue where we do the hard, slow, sometimes painful inner work on ourselves.
When it comes to prompts (and all writing, and all of life, IMHO), it’s less about the outcome and more about the process. It’s the process that makes the progress in becoming our truest selves as we are stretched from one degree of beauty to another. (Henri Nouwen vibes or nah?)
Think of these little exercises like a mirror: a place to reflect on your inner landscape. Not to analyze it, not to judge it, but to care for it. To tend it. As you pen (or type) your responses, try to shut off the inner critic that might keep you from being 110% up-front with yourself. Nobody has to read this (unless, of course, you want to pitch us. But let us be the critics in that case. I kid). Take time (whatever that means to you!) to sow into your soul so you can reap your best story--if not for yourself, then for the world. Here we go. Grab a writing utensil, and let’s dig!
- Perspective. The process is where we become ourselves. But sometimes, in the muck of life, it’s so easy to fixate on the mess and miss the potential of beauty and purpose. Map out the season you’re in. Then, imagine your current circumstances will manifest in something awesome. Maybe it’s a groundbreaking piece of art or the ability to more deeply connect with others. You get to decide. How does this fresh perspective--the possibility of hope--change how you view your current season? And how can you use this time to make your dream happen?
- The Art of Now. If you’ve read anything I’ve written, you probably know I quit writing after graduating with an English degree because I had some mental block that told me I needed to live my life for a few years to write anything meaningful. What I missed out on still devastates me. I can write about the memory of living in Texas, losing my mom, and dating my first boyfriend from where I stand now in 2016, but what I remember is so much more abstract. There is so much power in writing from now. Think about something you’ve written or created in the heat of life. It could be art, a piece of writing, or even a relationship. How would it be different had it been created or cultivated retrospectively? What few things are you experiencing now that you want to preserve for the future you?
- Curate your Art. I won’t even beat around the bush. The word “curate” is all over the freaking internet. And, for good reason. It stands for intentionality, which is a way to summon meaning. So I’m gonna latch onto that concept for a sec as we think about creativity a little bit. Imagine your writing as a landscape or some other visible place. Maybe it’s a cozy, candle-lit room, or a wide, open field in a thunderstorm. You get to pick. What kind of experience do you want your writing to evoke for your readers, and what kind of language or literary tools can you use to create that type of environment? Create a one-sheet (a vision board, maybe?) of adjectives, verbs, descriptions, and whatever else you can muster, and use it next time you start a piece of writing.
If you came up with something that you’re proud of as a result of these prompts, we would love to feature it! Just shoot us an email at upwritemagazine(at)gmail.com, and we’ll talk. Super thankful you’re here, friend.