Wednesday Writing Prompt

Friendship is a special and unique relationship that differs in obvious ways from our relationships with our family or with our significant others. Friendships come and go, but the value of a lifelong friend can’t be denied. As I’ve been a student at UT, far away from my family in Oklahoma, I’ve come to see how beautiful it is when friendships become deep, selfless, authentic relationships. I feel so much love and support from my close friends (and I hope they feel the same from me!) that even when I’m being bratty or difficult or crazy, they are still willing to love me, care for me, and go above and beyond when I need it.

For this week, write a story inspired about an important, beautiful friendship. The story can be a non-fiction account about one of your dearest friends, or a fictional story about a unique friendship. Of course, friendships also have their darker sides as we fight, get angry, and sometimes lose friends. Your story can be an example of an encouraging friendship or a destructive one. Either way, do service to the unique power that a friend has.

Cheers!
Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of space lately. Not as in the solar system, but as in how we negotiate ourselves in different locations. We act and feel differently based on where we are. We act differently, for example, when we’re in the comfort of our own home vs. when we’re at a party with a lot of people we don’t know. In the same way, we become aware of different facets of our identities based on our location. Depending on where we are, we might see our gender, race, religion, age in a different and unusual context.

For this week’s writing prompt, go to somewhere that you feel out of place and write about the experience. Why did you feel out of place? How? Did the experience lead you to think about your own identity in a different way?

Challenge yourself this week to get out of your comfort zone! Because when we are outside of our comfort zone, it pushes and encourages our creativity.

Happy writing!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

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Well, it’s officially pumpkin month! It’s technically fall these days and it’s even sort of starting to feel like fall in Austin (it’s at least not in the 100s anymore, which is really all we can ask for). Despite the still balmy weather conditions, the fall spirit has certainly arrived. And this year that spirit came in the shape of a pumpkin. I don’t know if y’all have been on Pinterest or to a Starbucks lately, but people are REALLY into pumpkins this year. Pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread, pumpkin ice cream, and the mecca of all pumpkin flavored treats: the pumpkin spice latte (this is the beverage’s 10th anniversary after all).

Now I love autumn and I love the pumpkin as much as the next person, but I think we have to step back and admit: we’re getting a little out of hand, society. So for this week’s writing prompt, I thought it’d be fun to try something a little different: a comedy about pumpkins. Your interpretation of this assignment could take many forms, such as a pithy pumpkin poem, an exaggerated mock epic about a baking experiment gone awry, a short story about the lives of pumpkin patch workers, etc.

Stretch those funny bones, drink a pumpkin spice latte, and write!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

Wedding

Have you ever watched TLC on a Friday night? If you have not, you might not be aware that “Friday Bride Day” is a thing. Alas, you are missing out. My roommates and I prefer to unwind from a long week by sitting in front of TLC for an embarrassingly long amount of time and planning weddings that are far off in the future for most of us.

But my obsession with Friday Bride Day has inspired me to write about weddings. As one’s wedding is quite the monumental moment in one’s life, a wedding is the perfect backdrop for a story. For this week’s writing prompt, use a wedding as the setting for your story. The action can focus on the bride, the groom, a bridesmaid, or simply a wedding guest. I figured out the setting, you figure out the rest!

Happy happy writing! (And set your Tivo for Friday Bride Day this week!)

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

Transitions

 

Let me tell you, transitions are weird. Some people are really good at change (or so I’m told) but I am not one of those people. Elementary to middle school, high school to college, old home to new home, even changing circles of friends: transitions have always been hard for me. There is this part of me that wants everything to remain the same always. But this isn’t how the world works! Ultimately, I’m glad that things change because transitions thrust us forward into adventure and challenge us to learn new things about ourselves. Without these forceful transitions, it would be easy to become stagnant and complacent in life. And who wants that?

For this week’s writing prompt, write a story (or a poem) focused on a character’s transition. The specifics of the transition are your choice. It can be a new job, the end or beginning of a relationship, or some sort of graduation. Whatever the transition, focus your narrative and the feeling of the story on the simultaneous scariness and excitement of being thrust forward into a new place in life.

Happy writing!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

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Dialogue is my favorite part of a story, whether I’m reading a story or writing one. I think that dialogue offers such an opportunity to get to the heart of a character. We all speak differently because of our personalities, our backgrounds, and the things that have influenced us along the way. Writing really good dialogue is a way of honoring your characters and their differences.

For this week’s writing prompt, focus in on dialogue. Develop a distinct (and distinctly different) voice for each of the characters in your story. It’s easy to let the dialogue we write become uniform or to let it be simply a reflection of our dialogue. Force yourself not to do that this week.

Now, you are free to use narration and prose in your story. But I challenge you to try to tell your whole story (or as much of it as you can) only through dialogue. This will force you to step up and polish those dialogue chops. For inspiration, I suggest reading Ernest Hemingway’s “Hills Like White Elephants,” a short story that communicates a poignant message, engaging plot, and spot-on characterization, almost exclusively through dialogue.

Happy writing, friends!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

First day of school

My mother has always hated the end of August and the beginning of September. As summer ended and the new school year began, I always remember her getting a little sad. She would tell me that she didn’t like the change. That even though she knew it was good for me and my brothers to head back to school, she missed having us at home and that the transition was a difficult one.

I, on the other hand, loved school starting up again. The beginning of September reminds me of first-day-of-school excitement, the promise of new classes, the first cool drafts of fall (I grew up in Oklahoma, where summer doesn’t last quite as long as it does in Texas), and the freedom of fresh starts. Every year, I had my back-to-school outfit planned out days (if not weeks) in advance. I compared class schedules with friends, desperately hoping for classes together. I picked out the perfect school supplies at Walmart, stocking up on new pens and folders. My dad (who usually left for work before I was even up, bless his soul) stayed home each first-day-of-school morning to cook my brothers and I breakfast. My mom made us pose, backpacks and big smiles on, in front of the rose bushes for a traditional first-day-of-school picture. Then I grabbed my back pack and walked to my elementary school, or caught the bus to my middle school, or got in my car and drove myself to my high school, or of course, hopped on the 1L/1M  with my roommate to make it to campus in time for my 9:30 class. My belly full of eggs and first day of school jitters, I bravely faced the new beginning.

My last first day of school (I’m graduating in December) came and went this past Thursday with little fanfare on my part. The eager excitement I once felt replaced instead with a state of boredom, a state of apathy, almost. I made my own breakfast (by which I mean: peeled a banana and scooped out a spoonful of almond butter). I tossed some notebooks into my old beat up backpack (notebooks I only had because I was lucky enough to remember to pick them up while at HEB a few days before). I threw on whatever clothes I found first and took a nostalgic first-day-of-school picture to text to my mom.

I walked the grounds at the University of Texas, a campus that has ceased, long ago, to be a new place to me, and I felt. I felt old. I felt unsure for the future. I felt confused that it could be my last first day of school. I felt like summer sped by. I felt weird being on campus after so many of my friends had graduated in May. I felt overwhelmed. Most of all I felt, of course, at home.

For this week’s writing prompt, write a story about the first day of school. Write from any point-of-view you’d like: a student, a parent, a teacher, a janitor. Write about your own memories of the first day of school or, if you’d prefer, write the memories of a made-up character. However you chose to do so, just make sure to write!

Cheers!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

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I feel emotions very strongly. This is something I (usually) love about myself because it helps me to live my life to the fullest. When I’m happy, I’m happy! And even when I’m sad, I like how open I am about my sadness. I don’t believe in bottling things up or shoving emotions down. I think that when we force ourselves to ignore how we feel, we cheat ourselves out of experiencing the fullness of what it means to be a person. Emotions are beautiful, even when they’re difficult.

This week, write a story or a poem driven by emotion. It can be sadness, anger, joy, nostalgia, anxiety, or any other emotion you want. But whatever the emotion is, allow it to drive your characters and your plot.

Happy writing, friends, and don’t be afraid to feel!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

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I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma and I absolutely love it. Tulsa’s not an impressive city by any means, really. We can boast the Hanson brothers and a giant golden statue of a 75-foot tall oil rig driller, but that’s about it. Despite Tulsa’s lack of excitement, it holds this special place in my heart because it’s where I grew up. Every visit home reminds me of the formative years I spent there. Almost every place in the city whispers to me, reminding me of some small moment I had there. I drive down Sheridan or Yale or 61st and I’m immediately flooded with all of these warm memories of growing up.

Hometowns hold a special place in our heart, whether that place is a fond one or not. For this week’s writing prompt, write about your hometown. This can be a fictional account of the place you grew up in or a real story from your childhood. Either way, the story or poem must take place in the town you grew up in.

Happy writing!

– Annie

Wednesday Writing Prompt

“They went in and out of each other’s minds without any effort.” – Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

Much of writing, I think, comes down to our wish to connect with another person. We write because we want to connect. We read because we want to connect. We create characters that are capable of connecting with each other in a way that we aren’t always able to with those around us. Literature is a beautiful reminder that we aren’t alone in all of this, that there is someone else who feels like we feel. Someone who understands.

For this week, write a story inspired by the above quote from Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway. Write a story about two or three people who are so intimately connected that they are able to go in and out of each other’s minds without any effort. The characters and the scene are up to you. It could be about a mother and her daughter, an old married couple, or a pair of friends. Capture the intimacy of understanding what another person means without them even articulating it.

Or, on the flip side, write a scene in which your characters are incapable of understanding each other. Write about the frustrating experience when it feels like the person you’re talking to just doesn’t get what you’re trying to say, no matter how hard you try.

Whichever path you go down, focus in on this idea of connection, or the lack thereof.

Cheers!

– Annie