Writing Prompt Pit Stop: A Fresh Start, A Big Challenge

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! Here we are at the beginning of a new year. I was going to write a send-off to 2014 last week, but decided against it, as I felt that during my blogging during that topsy-turvy year left not too much more to be said. All I can say is I’m thrilled to be in 2015 with a clean slate and a fresh start for all endeavors…including my writing.

As I’ve written here in years past, I’m not one that makes New Year’s resolutions, instead I like to set goals. I have many goals for this year, among them to get more poems published, get my full-length poetry manuscript sent out, get some of my plays staged, etc. But another goal I have is actually a challenge that I share with one of my dear poet friends, Mary Sexson, and that is to write a poem every day…yes, that’s right…365 poems. Not just one a month, which can produce a lot in itself, but this is a daily endeavor. It is a huge commitment, but in sharing it with others it holds one more accountable, much like doing Weight Watchers or some such thing.

Mary and I completed this challenge in 2012 and we both did really well and had so many good poems that came out of it – some that were included in our poetry book, along with Jayne Marek: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and many were also accepted by a variety of literary journals. During 2013, we were more involved with promoting the book, even though we still wrote poems often. In 2014, we both completed the Found Poetry Review’s Oulipost project during April: National Poetry Month. That project was a poem a day from a provided prompt, it was a fun and rewarding challenge – and one I wasn’t sure I could complete in 30 days, only because of my teaching and other various commitments, but I did and it felt good.

After Oulipost was over, I know I planned to keep writing a poem a day…but it didn’t happen…and during the last four months of 2014 I became more involved with theatre again – I was selected to be a director at the Canton One Acts Play Festival in January 2015 (my directing debut!) and that has taken up time, and I also committed to the 365 Women A Year: A Playwriting Project where I wrote two short plays, one featuring Frida Kahlo, the other Alice Neel.  I absolutely love theatre and want more of it in my life, but I still love writing poems and my poetry writing friends.

Over Christmas I visited with Mary in Indianapolis and we decided we would make 2015 a year we write a poem a day – just like in 2012. Mary says, it makes her “scared and happy all at the same time.” I understand her sentiments. When you think of it as writing a poem a day for 365 days it seems like an overwhelming undertaking, but I can tell you when you get something written it feels good…and when you get to the end of the year and see what you’ve accomplished – it’s a wonderful feeling! I decided there might be others out there that might like our challenge, posted it on Facebook, and we’ve already got another poet from Indy that has joined in…welcome Dawn! It would be cool if others from WordPress joined in this challenge with us this year…

So, here’s the 58th edition of prompts for Writing Prompt Pit Stop to kick off 2015:

“A Fresh Start, A Big Challenge”

1) In your daybook write a rough draft of a poem…each and every day of 2015. It doesn’t mean that it has to be a complete poem, or one that is a masterpiece. In fact, it’s good to just have starts and duds; these can be catalysts into a new, better poem the next day (or someday when you feel tapped out). The point is – you’re attempting a poem a day...and from my experience, you can salvage quite a bit of the ones that you thought were awful at first. It just takes a lot of revising and playing around with word/line arrangements.

2) Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day…simply write two the next and so forth – the idea is just to get more poems written in 2015. If you end up with 52….one a week, isn’t that more than you have right now? Remember, you can get quite a lot written in just 10 minutes.

3) If you write plays too (as I do) or short stories – take some time and write five pages of dialogue a day. If you’re on a roll, map out dialogue for a 10 minute play. Flash fiction, flash creative nonfiction, and so forth can be written in the same way – just take 10 minutes every day and write as much prose as you can. If you’re working on a story already, great! If not, these writings could give you jump starts to ideas that you didn’t even know were there.

4) Find a writing buddy or two or three and take this challenge with them. It keeps you honest, and if you have the chance set aside a time once a month to share what you’ve written – it will really keep you going, believe me. Writing, as we know, is a solitary action…but we all need an audience and what better audience to try new work out on than writing friends that you trust? That means not someone that says “I like it,” and “that’s nice” all of the time, but who really tell you if they think something doesn’t work or you need to add/subtract more; or what it is about your poem/play/story that works for them.

5) As always, I wish for you a successful writing year! If you’re interested, you can always let me know if you’ve accepted the challenge and what you’re doing to keep yourself motivated; if you feel up to it, I’m always open to any sharing of your work, or comments on this blog…or you can contact me at lylanne@lylanne.com

Check back here weekly as I will be posting prompts to help give you ideas for your writing endeavors.

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