Writing Prompts for February 2016

Wow! How did it get to February 5th without my noticing that I hadn’t created any writing prompts for February 1st? I’ve had my head in every other place but this blog, and here’s where it’s been.

A coloring book for writers with inspiring quotes to add some fun to your writing day.Launching a new book. Yes, I finished a coloring book for writers, and it’s now available at Amazon. It was a fun project, and I hope my fellow writers enjoy it. I love coloring books myself, and having learned how to play with some new software called Kaleidoscope Kreator, I couldn’t wait to create a whole coloring book just for writers. No how-to-write tips or places to write, just pictures accompanied by quotes from other writers who have “been there, done that.” The pictures vary in complexity, because for me, there are times when the ones with tiny spaces to color are just too much work. And since coloring books are supposed to help relieve stress, all those fiddly spaces seemed a bit counter-productive on the relaxation side.

Working on a new book. Last year I put together a journal to help people get into the daily writing habit in 66 days, Write Every Day: a journal for building your Daily Writing Habit. I’ve just completed working on a similar book, Journal Every Day: Inspiration and Prompts to Build your Daily Journaling Habit, Journal cover png (2)to help people get into daily journaling in 66 days. I journal almost every day and have found it to be very beneficial to my creativity and also a great place to leave my troubles behind, or to make my to-do lists, or just to say ‘thank-you’ for the good things in my life. I’ll be uploading the journal today or tomorrow, and hope that it will be available at Amazon early next week. And, yes, it has some coloring pages, too.

Learning how to create an online course. I’m currently enrolled in Joseph Michael’s Easy Course Creation program. It started in earnest on Wednesday, but there were a few pre-course assignments, plus my brain has been focused on what kinds of courses to offer and who my audience might be. The course will be writing related, and if you think that there’s a gap out there where a writing course should be, please let me know.

Anyhow, that’s what I’ve been up to and that’s what distracted me from writing my first-day-of-the-month writing prompts, until this morning. Here you go:


Choose one, some, or all of these words to write a story or poem:

a) wonder, snow, crystal, sky, glow, footprints, run
b) number, frame, sharp, cold, red, wire, slump
c) rise, platform, cries, thunder, stone, path, danger

Use one of these opening sentences to create a story:

a) “This is the last straw!”
b) Henry looked guilty.
c) Helen looked up from her reading and her book fell from her lap.
d) I’d always wondered what real fear felt like. I was sorry I found out.
e) Monday was supposed to be the worst day of the week. Today had it beat by a mile.
f) We all felt the cold before he entered the hall.
g) Breathing at this altitude was harder than I thought it would be.
h) “Are you sure he’s here?”

Try one of these titles to inspire a story or poem: Winter Chill, Runaway, Danger at Dawn, City Nights, Gone Wrong, Box of Dreams, Winner Take All, It Only Takes One, The Call, The Text Message Murders, When Winter Comes, Helen Goes West, Love and Apples

See if these lines of dialogue help you see a scene or story.

You guys are fighting over a book?
You don’t know what’s in it.

When do you think she’ll be done?
She finished an hour ago.
Then why isn’t she here yet?

I’m not ready to go.
Well, when will you be ready?
How about never.

But Chris is Henry’s best friend!
He didn’t behave like it this morning.

Don’t bother explaining it again. I’ll never get it.
But it could save your life.
That’s what you’re here for.
And what if I’m not here?

What would your character write in his/her journal in reply to these prompts?

a)   What annoyed me today.
b)   What made me laugh today.
c)    The news story/Facebook post that made me smile.
d)    How I feel about thunderstorms.
e)    Music that brings back memories.
f)     If I could live at any time in human history, it would be ________ because ….

Have fun with the better-late-than-never writing prompts, and I wish you lots of fun and every success with your writing projects!


October 2015 Writing Challenge and Writing Prompts

2015-09-20 11.40.17
My September Weekend Writing Place

October is a busy month here: two birthdays, a wedding anniversary, the trailer closes, the boat comes out of the water for the winter, two freelance deadlines loom, and because we’re in Canada–Thanksgiving!

AND I’ve decided to run another daily writing challenge over on my Facebook page because, well, of course, I’m going to have lots of time to write every day. It’s the routine of the writing rather than the word count that I’m working on. Small daily writing goals are the key, and I mean small–maybe 100 words–so that, if I’m having a challenging day (which will be every Tuesday with 7 hours of classes followed by choir), I will still feel successful if I only write that 100 words. And steady daily success is the plan because I want to start building the habit of writing that will take me through November, too. Kristi Holl (author of Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid) introduced me to the ideas of small goals and building mini-habits here.

On my Facebook page, I’ll be posting encouragement, links to interesting blogs, and I hope, some humour to keep myself  and you writing every day. To participate, all you have to do is post the word “done” in the comments under the daily posts, and we’ll know you met your writing goal for the day.

I hope that the writing prompts below will help you find a story idea if you need one. Some of today’s writing prompts come from the collection I’m preparing for my next set of journals for genre writers.

Have fun!

Opening Sentences

  • Mira felt danger in her skin. I saw it in her eyes.
  • Sometimes Henry’s smiles were warm and kind. This wasn’t one of those times.
  • Helen strained to see the sails on the horizon more clearly. Friend or enemy?
  • I knew one thing about my new job. Henry was going to be a pain in the neck.
  • Predictable could get you killed.
  • For the third day in a row, Henry knew he’d been followed.
  • Red flashing lights were never a good sign.

Random Words

  • clouds, wind, cry, shiver, grey, hurry
  • campfire, fear, scream, hidden, red
  • leaves, gold, broken, pond, clear
  • stones, sun, blue, carry, escape
  • city, rain, climb, smell, green, alone


The Fallen, Unbroken, Trust Not, Generous to a Fault, Road Trip, Last Chance, Love Waits, The Enemy Within, Strange Music, Kept


You’re Henry, aren’t you?
So, Max is looking for you.


I want to go home.
You know that’s not possible.
No buts. This is where we’re safe, and this is where we’ll stay.


Why didn’t you tell me you were hiding here?
There wouldn’t be much point in hiding then would there.
Very funny. You know I can help.


It’s awfully steep. I’m not sure.
Can you see another option?


I’m sure Henry has it.
You’re lying. It’s you.

If you’re still stuck for inspiration, check these out, too. Just click on the covers for more information.

201 journal cover



Writing Challenge Update–And Some Writerly Links

inspirationToday is day 16 of the 30-day writing challenge. We’re over half-way to our goal, and it’s feeling pretty good. Have I written every day? All but one, when a migraine flattened me, and I there was no way I could face the page. The other days I managed to pound out some words on my new project–some days more than others–but I’ve made steady progress. My focus is to write every day, not to worry about word or page count, but to get something written every day that will get me closer to my goal. I’m happy with what I’ve done so far, and look forward to the next two weeks.

On the way, I’ve found some blog posts to pass along to my fellow writers to help keep them (and me!) focused on writing every day. Here are three of them. Hope they help you on your writing road, too.

How to Always have a Bagful of Exciting Writing Ideas  by Tal Valante

“Whether you write a blog, fiction, or non-fiction, inspiration is all around you. Here are some ways to make your daily life an endless source of writing ideas.”

Mastering Mood-Dependent  Writing Stages by Kristi Holl (This one was particularly timely for me during the writing challenge.)

“… I found a chapter in The Write Type by Karen E. Peterson very encouraging. The author said that not all the stages of producing a story or book involve heavy-duty creative thinking. If you’re not feeling the best some days, use that time for a writing job that requires less energy–but still has to be done sometime.” http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/2015/04/mastering-mood-dependent-writing-stages/

Anne Lamott on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity by Maria Popova

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life.” http://www.brainpickings.org/2013/11/22/bird-by-bird-anne-lamott/

Good luck with your own writing challenges, and I wish you every success in reaching your goals!


Autumn and Accountability

Hope you’ve been Touch of Autumnenjoying a great start to autumn. We’ve had a long run of sunny days and cold nights and are starting to see the colours change in the trees. Lovely. This is my favourite time of year. There’s just something about the angle of the sun that feels right to me. I know that it’s the same angle in the spring, but spring doesn’t come with crunchy leaves and flocks of starlings and fresh apples.

The writing has been muddling along. Not every day, but bits and pieces here and there to make me feel like I’m making progress. I’ve signed up for Kristi Holl’s accountability challenge again and am committed to writing first thing in the morning for 25 days in October. Since, two days a week, I’m up before 6 AM to take my son to band and then get myself to college ready to teach an 8 o’clock class, you can see that this definitely will be a challenge. But, I have so much on my writing plate that I’m considering starting tomorrow just to get a full month of progress underway. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I had a very quiet house last week when both my son and my husband were away. I also realized that absolute silence isn’t my best working environment. I’m on the hunt for some new music to accompany my writing time. I’m really enjoying the soundtrack to Life of Pi. Instrumental music works best for my brain. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Hope you are having a creative week!

Thoughts on the End of the Writing Challenge

End of the day in my favourite place
End of the day in my favourite place

Today marks the last day of my early morning writing challenge. And now I face the ‘what next?’ question.

Did writing every morning make a difference in the rest of my writing for the day? Yes, it did.  I really believe that, later in the day when I got down to doing my other writing work, having written in the morning did make it easier to focus and find the words I needed. I was encouraged by what my other group-mates were doing, too. Some were adding daily to their WIP. That was a big incentive for me, who was doing very little on that front. The early morning writing helped me sort out why. It gave me a place to think about the project as a whole and to find some positive self-talk about what I was doing, had done and would do. It gave me a place to make plans and think ahead. For that alone, the daily writing was worth it.

I often get caught up in a short-term to-do list because there just isn’t time to think out a little further into the future. The gift of that early morning writing time has helped me look ahead at what I want to do with my most recently published book and given me the patience to get more of my ducks in a row before I start marketing in earnest. The book is a fantasy for grades 5/6 and I want to finish a teacher’s guide and get my website organized before I try to interest people in the project. A lot of home-schoolers visit my book website. I want to have everything they need to teach my book ready for them. I’m thinking of branching out into Pinterest, too, because that’s where they share the free stuff that’s on my book site. (If you have any advice about using Pinterest, I’d love to hear it.)

So what next? What next means continuing to do my daily morning writing. It’s been too valuable to put aside now. I’m hoping that one or two others in my group feel the same, because checking in with other writers really helps keep me going.

So thanks Kristi Holl for launching this month of writing accountability. I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did! (Check out Kristi’s books, too. Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid at http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/more-writers-first-aid/

May’s writing prompts will be posted tomorrow!

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