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Writing Prompts to Get You Started #26

Maybe you have absolutely no idea where to start but have always wanted to try being a writer. Maybe you want to write the great American novel or you thought you'd write a poem about hidden life of a grain of sand. Maybe you just need a little inspiration to get you started or you find yourself just a little stuck. Maybe you find yourself trying to break out of your comfort zone or mix things up at work. Whatever your reason for landing here, practicing a little creativity can impact your life in ways you didn't expect.


But let's be honest. Creativity is a muscle and it needs exercise to work properly. That's where this series comes in. With any luck, this series will get your creative juices flowing and get you thinking in ways you hadn't before. Throughout the summer, we posted a couple of prompts every week. We will be cutting back a little during the school year. We'll be posting one prompt a month. If you are interested in more, not only are there prompt sites online, we also have a prompt booklet you can get from us.

 

It's easy to get caught up in our own point of view, our own values, our own understanding of the universe. Some might even say that it is neigh impossible to do otherwise. But that is one of the truly beautiful aspects of writing, and of creativity and imagination in general.


Think of it like this: Your idea is like an apple in the palm of your hand that you manipulate and feel and examine from all angles. As you handle it and turn it around in your hand, its appearance changes. It stays the apple, but at times all you will see is a round, smooth exterior, at times it will appear lumpy, or maybe you find a soft spot or a change in color, and at times all you see is a stick sticking out of the center of a hole. By definition the apple remains an apple, but your impression of it and what truth you take from it changes by your experience of it.


Another example is an old Indian parable about a group of blind men who come across an elephant for the first time. Before meeting the elephant, the six all have varying impressions of what it must be like to be able to do such varying things as clear a forest, carry a princess on its back, puncture a man with its horn, etc. And, being blind, their experience of the elephant once they are introduced is limited to touch. So, as the story goes, one man feels its side and remarks on how it is smooth and solid like a wall and powerful to the touch. The second feels the trunk and believes it is actually more like a giant snake. The third, the tusk, the fourth, the legs... on down the line. Each with a very different idea of what an elephant must be like. (I wouldn't want to be the one that only had the tail to judge it by.) None have the whole picture but each takes a unique understanding based on their limited view of the world. That is the absolute essence of perspective.


It's time to think like someone else. Really explore what it means to see things from another perspective. In the long run, this will help you develop a wider collection of characters and round them out more effectively. Goodbye flat characters!

So here's your prompt: Write about something from a perspective you usually don't take.

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