Writing Prompts for January 2016

IMG-20130709-00210inspirationHappy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family and friends and that you’re ready to tackle whatever the new year brings.

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you good at keeping them? One thing I have to keep reminding myself is that everything I resolve to do doesn’t have to be achieved by the end of February. Way too much pressure—and way too easy for someone like me to give up at that point. (I have a lot of experience with that!)  At this time of year, I like to think about what I hope to achieve next year. I don’t have resolutions exactly, but instead, I have an ongoing, ever-in-revision to-do list that serves as a daily reminder of what my year’s goals are. And yes, if you check my last post, I did go out and buy a new journal to help me keep track of everything.

For my own health and sanity, weight loss and more exercise are on the list–starting with a standing desk–plus I’m working on a plan plan to go out more often with my husband. (I’ve already bought the concert tickets!) I’m also looking for one thing to do each week to help fill the creative well that so easily gets emptied when you’re a busy, creative person.

For my writing, I have a lot of goals to reach this year—more books and journals and, at least, one online course. The last will be a challenge. Like most people, I don’t like the sound of my voice on tape, but I’m finally ready to take the risk and work on this project that I’ve had in the back of my mind for a couple of years now.

I’m also going to attempt to learn to read Latin this year. I know that’s a weird goal, but I’ve written a couple of books set in the Middle Ages (not published) and have ideas for more–one involving a person who illuminates manuscripts. I’ve always wanted to actually read the words on the medieval manuscripts I’ve seen so often while doing my research.  And, since my mom bought me a set of how-to-learn-Latin DVDs for my birthday, I no longer have any excuse!

I want to thank you all for dropping by the website to check out the resources or to say hi over the past year. In the next couple of weeks, I’ll be adding some new sites and information for teens who want to get published. Visitors drop by from all over the world, and I’m humbled that so many of you find inspiration for your writing or your classroom here. Whether you make resolutions, or set goals, or just let life bring whatever it brings, I wish you every success, and a healthy and happy 2016.


draft cover for journalIf one of your goals is to write every day in 2016, research shows that it takes 66 days to develop a habit. There are ample writing prompts on this site to feed a 66-day, habit-building plan many times over. If you need something a little more structured, check out the journal I created last year and see if it has the solution you’re looking for.



1.See if you can use one, some, or all of the words in one of these groups in a story or poem.

a) cup, danger, blue, fragile, reach, high
b) book, scratch, far, wonder, red, end
c) curtain, lights, remember, warm, close, fear

2. What story can you create that begins with one of these opening sentences?

  • Henry said, “Do not wish me a Happy New Year.”
  • Helen dropped the last of his photographs into the trash.
  • Why wasn’t I surprised that the light switch didn’t work either.
  • I hoped they remembered the old adage, “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
  • We’d never make it before dawn.
  • They were not her people. Helen realized she was lucky to still be alive.

3. Can you think of a story to go with one of these titles?
Winter Solstice, The Offer, Sonata in Screams, Haunted, I Hate Love Stories, Blue Wednesday, Rodeo, The New Year’s Mystery, A Dog for a Day, I said No, Fire Place, The Witch Next Door.

4. What scenes can you imagine around these lines of dialogue?

Turn on the light.
I did—and I checked the bulb. There’s no power.
That’s not good.

Why did you leave Harry?
I didn’t. He left me.
That’s not what he said.

I’m sorry for your loss, Helen.
Believe me. It was no loss.
But how can you say that?

I thought robots were supposed to do what they were told.
Not when they’re told something stupid.

What’s in the bag?
The stores closed an hour ago.
Okay then. I liked.

Have you ever seen any creatures so disgusting.
Should I say something?
You should say, thank-you. They saved our lives remember.

Happy New Year! Have a wonderful 2016!

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