Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – writing ideas are all around you everyday, even the mundane things you think might be boring to write about may have a hidden surprise waiting for you, you just have to be observant – I tell that to my students all of the time and I do practice what I preach. So the next few weeks we’ll tackle some prompts that call on your keen sense of observation.
I generally have my daybook with me everywhere I go, but sometimes I just don’t have the opportunity to write things down anyway – so I have to be extra vigilant in observing, and in using my memory of those observations when I finally get a chance to jot things down. So you should get in the habit, too, of being aware at all times, being in the moment so to speak, and you can always have those images/insights to choose from.
For example: this past Sunday I had the opportunity to go down memory lane with my daughters, who are grown now, with kids of their own. They invited me to go to the New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) concert in Indianapolis (which turned out to be the last night of the tour).
I admit, the only reason I decided to make the four hour trip was not for the concert, but to spend time with my daughters, and teenage granddaughter, and to make some new memories and build on some old ones. You see back in 1990, when my daughters were 10 and 13 years old, they were New Kids crazy – posters on the walls, clothing, bags, playing their music, etc. So, when the New Kids on the Block came around on tour I took them to their concert, not once, but twice. What does this experience have to do with a writing prompt you ask? Many things! During the day Sunday, and the concert that night, I couldn’t sit and write down everything I wanted to as it was happening – so I focused on remembering the images (sometimes a camera helps!), or on things that were said. When I got back to my daybook I made a list of all of those things. Some of which were as simple as: ’80s dangling earrings, sparkle shirts, “Hanging Tough,” how all of us have changed in 23 years, laughter, Donnie & Jordan – their favorites, music as memory maker, and so on. With just those simple prompts I can get several poems, or maybe one long one. Plus, I’m sure I’ll be adding to my list of images and dialogue even these few days later.
So because I’ve discussed images, dialogue, music, and memories – four power-packed ways to get into writing, this week’s prompt is going to ask you to utilize memories/images/music using your own concert experiences. If you’re set to go to a concert in the near future, great! It’ll give you a chance to get fresh images in real time. If not, just think about a favorite concert – or even a bad concert experience, and let that get you into your writing.
BTW – I wasn’t expecting much from the NKOTB Package Tour concert (with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees) but they put on one of the best concerts that I’ve been to – and I’ve been to too many concerts to count, enjoying my own favorite bands and singers! It just goes to show: Pleasant surprises can turn up anywhere! With that said, here is your seventh prompt:
“Step by Step”
Step 1: Attend a concert, or brainstorm a concert or two that you’ve attended and write down a list of any images or dialogue that strike you as interesting or that you keep going back to when you’re thinking of the experience.
Step 2: Revisit the songs from the concert – perhaps there’s a title that will work into your writing, or maybe even the title itself will be what gets you writing.
Step 3: While you’re working with your images/dialogue from the concert, have that same music playing in the background – you’ll be surprised how hearing the songs can seed imagery & energy into your writing (well, maybe not if you write a lot – music is an excellent trigger!).
Step 4: When you have your music going and your list in front of you – write for 10 minutes or until you’ve run out of steam. As always, revise what you have written in that time: find better word choices, add to, or cut out, etc. – whatever it takes to make your writing sing!
I feel that this exercise will lend itself well to any of the writing genres, it could lead to a good poem, or an interesting essay about a specific experience or by capturing different experiences through the years. By the same token, writing about your concert of choice could make its way into a piece of flash fiction, a short story, or even a 10 minute play. Once you get writing you’ll see the possibilities.
As with all writing, it should be fun! If you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!