Mix & Match

A Pen In Each Hand

By Beaver

  1. Go to random.org and use the Random Calendar Date Generator to pick five dates between January 2002 and the present (leave the Sunday box unchecked).
  2. Go to the Calendar and find the prompts that fell on the dates generated in step one.
  3. Use all 5 prompts in the same story.

Example (5 random dates and their corresponding prompts):

  1. February 5, 2002: Write about a surprise meeting.
  2. July 2, 2003: Write about a remedy.
  3. April 30, 2004: Write about magic.
  4. February 16, 2008: They had a way of walking together.
  5. December 23, 2015: “He lied about being a scientist!”

September 2015
Daily Writing Prompts

  1. A Pen In Each HandWrite about an annoying salesperson
  2. Include this line: “I actually did laugh out loud over this.”
  3. A lazy summery afternoon
  4. Use these 5 words: tribute, suspension, premise, terrifying, mandated.
  5. Write about clever graffiti
  6. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: workings, burst, street, sailors, pestilence.
    2. Use the phrase, “But not for you.”
    3. Write about picking up after someone else.
  7. A popular employee’s last day
  8. a handmade dress printed with sun, moon, stars and planets
  9. Can’t afford it with the tax.
  10. Include this line: “I don’t remember half of it.”
  11. Important message goes unanswered
  12. Use these 5 words: market, pride, tomorrow, religion, women.
  13. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: sooner, workings, curve, every, morning.
    2. Write about a delivery.
    3. Fill in the blank: “Like a ______, only better. But not by much.”
  14. writing emails to random friends
  15. It helps to be left-handed.
  16. Include this line: “It’s probably going to be turned into condos.”
  17. An old letter changes things.
  18. Use these 5 words: parade, pleasure, classified, designer, auctioned.
  19. A critical system is near failure
  20. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: misused, aeroplanes, saying, round, sand.
    2. Write about the last time somebody did this.
    3. Use the phrase, “This could be more exciting.”
  21. Once a season, needed or not.
  22. cracking the case
  23. “That’s a mistake, not an error.”
  24. Use these 5 words: uniform, propaganda, lawns, embrace, journey.
  25. A sad holiday or anniversary
  26. mechanical difficulties
  27. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: curled, slights, young, begins, slide.
    2. Write about coming home after a time away.
    3. Use the phrase, “only had two.”
  28. Include this line: “I miss [name] on rainy Mondays.”
  29. “That’s not what I intended to do.”
  30. a disingenuous interpretation

A Creative Go-To

A Pen In Each Hand

By Harpspeed

I remember on one occasion back in my undergrad days in a creative writing classroom I was expected to complete a writing exercise on the spot. I felt tired from a long day already spent at my day job and overwhelmed—being at my lowest creative moment of the day. Regardless, I had to write something. So while my peers were scratching and tapping away in their notebooks and keyboards, I was zeroing on a single topic along with some describing words, and whatever literary mechanisms my tired brain could muster up.

In the end, I broke down the assignment from paragraphs and pages to consonants and syllables. I was much like that stereotypical driver driving on empty fumes and magically making it to the gas station before the engine finally conked out for good. In fact, I surprised myself with having wellspring of creativity inspired from my lack of it. Thirty minutes later, I shared a free verse poem about an evening walk with my dog. I borrowed this technique at a similar venue years later. I wrote about the juicy clementine I had consumed minutes before. Success had made free verse my official go-to for creativity-tapping.

So, here’s the thing, if you are ever in creative trouble, don’t get upset or overwhelmed. Instead, think different. Think smaller. Think poetry. You might even consider trying a tanka poem. Here’s the skinny: Tanka poetry originated in Japan and is over 1200 years old. It is similar to haiku poetry but contain more syllables as well as metaphor, personification, and simile. Tanka poems contain five lines. Subjects of tankas include nature, seasons, and emotion.

These are examples I found on the web: [1] [2] [3] [4].

August 2015
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. Not the worst ever, but it will do.
  2. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: sweep, agony, rest, beyond, hear.
    2. Use the phrase “I can’t imagine how I did that.”
    3. Write about something that used to work.
  3. A bad case of the Mondays.
  4. Use these 5 words: evocative, werewolf, stress, quick, holiday.
  5. “I celebrate that holiday every day.”
  6. Start with: Halfway through our international tour…
  7. Our anniversary was a Tuesday that year.
  8. Write about: a false narrative.
  9. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: happiness, policemen, barking, polished, come.
    2. Fill in the blank: “It’s not nearly as ________ as it seems.”
    3. Write about washing windows.
  10. Use these 5 words: segregated, smart, wrestling, waffle, spearheaded.
  11. Write about a bad attitude
  12. Start with: That’s a great strategy.
  13. “Let’s do that next week instead.”
  14. Write about: a small scale evacuation.
  15. What dog are the Dog Days named for?
  16. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: slide, bruises, floors, destination, memory.
    2. Write about a special meal.
    3. It’s 3am. Now what?
  17. Some day, someone in this group will discover…
  18. Use these 5 words: skepticism, impossible, cheated, raw, accused.
  19. The cupboard is bare.
  20. Start with: The tables have turned.
  21. It’s complicated.
  22. Write about: being charged with second degree murder.
  23. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: looking, through, secret, eating, laborers.
    2. Use the phrase, “I hope that will hold it for now.”
    3. Write about an ill-timed sneeze.
  24. Use these 5 words: adaptation, wildly, contaminated, hitting, beach.
  25. Give directions creatively.
  26. Start with: Photographs shape public opinion.
  27. Loss of intuitive sense of the passage of time.
  28. Write about: curing a cat’s anxiety.
  29. “You’re telling me not to talk about it.”
  30. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: saying, which, lives, wheel, observe.
    2. Use the phrase, “Tell me who you are.”
    3. Write about food of an unusual color.
  31. Too many fresh vegetables at once.

Writing Diverse Characters

A Pen In Each Hand

By Billiard

Create a character with a distinctly different gender/ethnicity/sexuality than yourself.

Looking for resources to help you write authentic characters?

July 2015
Daily Writing Prompts

  1. A Pen In Each Hand“It’s different for people like me.”
  2. He quietly helped hundreds of children escape…
  3. Write about something very out of fashion
  4. Use these 5 words: itchy, public, scratch, crazy, spaceship.
  5. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following words: wants, mole, three, toppled, remember
    2. Fill in the blank: “Last time this happened, you _____.”
    3. Write about a fruit.
  6. historians are baffled
  7. Cooking things right out of the garden
  8. There’s something extremely surprising about…
  9. On this date in (year)…
  10. Use these 5 words: high note, vanquish, point-blank, asleep, investigation.
  11. Write about a stain
  12. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: alter, dying, brush, strength, toadstools.
    2. A character makes harrumphing noises.
    3. Use the phrase, “I have too many toys.”
  13. “Do it like that, except…”
  14. beautiful worms
  15. “Where did you put that thing that was here?”
  16. “You mean to tell me…”
  17. Too many funerals.
  18. Use these 5 words: questions, effectively, teaching, break, smile.
  19. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: poetry, hear, found, noon, built.
    2. A character considers leaving in a huff after an argument.
    3. Use the phrase, “That’s not a problem.”
  20. You have to believe the experts are evil.
  21. A wintery day in the summertime
  22. “If I text you, could you text me back?”
  23. If that happens while we’re fixing this…
  24. Use these 5 words: explore, solitude, listening, patience, washing.
  25. I wish somebody would just take care of that.
  26. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: women, lunar, incantations, secret, corner.
    2. A character says “I am not sorry.”
    3. Use the phrase, “Tell me sweet lies.”
  27. “We’re working on that right now.”
  28. shark attack reported
  29. All expenses paid. Except…
  30. a parent who disapproves of the person their child is in love with.
  31. “I can’t do this any more.”

Draft Zero

A Pen In Each Hand

By Beaver

On paper, write about something you’ve never written about before—something you’ve hesitated to write about, something you’re scared to write about. No self-censoring! When you’re done… Burn it. Tear it up. Run it through a shredder. Tie it to a balloon and set it free. Put it in a bottle and toss it in the ocean. Fold it up and tuck it inside a library book. Leave it in a public place. Stick a stamp on it and mail it to Post Secret.

Now. Open a new document on your computer and begin again.

June 2015
Daily Writing Prompts

  1. A Pen In Each Hand“Try to get it right this time.”
  2. Use these 5 words: thunderstorm, scared, anniversary, party, cloud.
  3. Rapidly falling temperature
  4. Start with: If he had the chance…
  5. Watching advertisements with the sound off
  6. Use this line: “It’s time for me to reflect on my choices.”
  7. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: wheelbarrow, fading, secret, began, poetry. If you don’t like those, try these: song, screams, crepe, librarian, eating.
    2. Write about fabric (literal or figurative).
    3. Fill in the blanks: ______ is okay if ______ is unavailable.
  8. Use these 5 words: zipline, teen, twisted, diploma, promise.
  9. A stilted reading of lines that should be spontaneous
  10. Start with: A small part of me fears…
  11. “I can give you three minutes.”
  12. Use this phrase: “how the universe works”
  13. It’s easier if you’re left handed.
  14. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: silence, inside, which, women, stamp.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I’d like to take advantage of this awkward situation to _____”.
    3. It’s not time for dinner yet.
  15. Dinner is popcorn tonight.
  16. Open any social media app, scroll to the 7th post & use it as inspiration.
  17. Was it a Tuesday or a Wednesday?
  18. Use these 5 words: protests, club, flame, elected, panel.
  19. “You can see where the foundations were.”
  20. Start with: The seven stages of ____ are…
  21. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: shall, roads, said, marry, prevent.
    2. Fill in the blank: “I never promised you _______.”
    3. “We’ll be back tomorrow.”
  22. Use this line: “He stayed remarkably composed, all things considered.”
  23. First holiday without a loved one.
  24. Use these 5 words: altruism, performing, prison, sane, library.
  25. A little of every spice in the cabinet.
  26. Start with: Another thing I’ve been doing is…
  27. He/she’s coming unraveled.
  28. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: alter, broken, beside, blues, ourselves.
    2. A cultural reference goes over someone’s head.
    3. Write about a consistently mispronounced word.
  29. Living situation violates zoning rules.
  30. Use this phrase: “a risky and record-breaking journey”

(Don’t) Enter

A Pen In Each Hand

By Baker

Writing contests can inspire and motivate you, but stories don’t always turn out as planned. As you work on your story, you might find it breaking through the parameters. Let your story flow naturally.

  1. Enter: Set it aside and try something new if you want to continue to work on something for the contest. If you’re set on entering the contest, don’t get too attached to a single idea until you find something that really works with the parameters. You’ll know it when you find it.
  2. Don’t enter: If you’re inspired, keep working on this piece and try a contest another time. Just because you started a story for a contest doesn’t mean that’s where it has to end up. A finished story is a win regardless of whether it ends up being your contest entry—just make sure you submit it somewhere.

May 2015
Daily Writing Prompts

A Pen In Each Hand

  1. MAYDAY! MAYDAY!
  2. Use these 5 words: athlete, sinuous, restless, science, breathing.
  3. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following words: machine, prefer, dotted, coffee, sideways.
    2. A character runs out of something at an inopportune time.
    3. Someone repeats something they’ve said before.
  4. Perhaps he will learn.
  5. Start with: “Whoops, I didn’t mean to do that.”
  6. Apparently I can’t count.
  7. Marching in [city].
  8. A supersaturated solution
  9. Use these 5 words: zillions, getaway, mint, foundation, organized.
  10. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: street, o’clock, author’s, skeleton, convulsive.
    2. Write about a difference of a few degrees.
    3. “Is that what you really want?”
  11. First one through makes the rules.
  12. Start with: “None of you think I’m cool anyway.”
  13. Besides that, Mrs Lincoln, how was the play?
  14. Resisting temptation.
  15. Trying to make everything fit, with a few extra pieces.
  16. Use these 5 words: digital, releases, podcast, iconic, graphic.
  17. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following five words: bone, mother, gone, synthesis, white.
    2. Write about a physical blunder.
    3. Write about interrupting somebody who’s busy.
  18. The rocks remember.
  19. Start with: “Wait. What?!”
  20. Picking gravel from a wound
  21. Revealing private details.
  22. Where’s the odd job person?
  23. Use these 5 words: crucial, stark, madness, embryos, analysis.
  24. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.
    1. Use the following words: repeat, notebook, throw, least, quickly
    2. Write about a spurious correlation.
    3. Refer to someone’s horoscope, fortune cookie fortune, or tarot reading.
  25. But that never happened.
  26. Start with: “Just wanted to get outta there.”
  27. Drop everything and write a haiku.
  28. A spark of danger.
  29. There’s a story behind this…
  30. Something money can’t buy.
  31. Get today’s prompts at Twitter.