11 writing prompts inspired by famous authors

There are a thousand and one writing tips. Each writer has their own method and process. Some writers don’t need to have exactly anything on their desk except their laptop. Some people need to light juju-boosting candles and put on noise-canceling headphones before they get to work. Some freestyle and write about whatever comes to their mind about a noisy subway car. James Joyce wrote Finnegan’s wake with pencils and Zora Neale Hurston hired a man for cover his ears while she was typing. You know, typical #AuthorLife stuff.

Habits also change when writing for fun and when writing for publication. This doesn’t mean that writing “for yourself” isn’t without pressure, but there is more freedom when a deadline isn’t looming. I give myself a month every year to work on something that’s right for me. Something I won’t post online or let anyone read. Usually that’s when my mind goes blank and I scream “writer’s block!”

Whether you believe in “writer’s block” or not, you have to admit that there is always a point where words stop. Writing prompts are a method of breaking through the drought, or just writing for fun. Sometimes I watch what other writers are doing and how they are doing it. TS Eliot once said: “Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal. So let’s steal some ideas.


There is something about Conan

Conan the Barbarian Soundtrack, $ 6, Amazon

In an interview with The Daily Beast, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz said: “I wrote my first book while listening to the soundtrack of the film Conan the Barbarian endlessly. This is how I ride. ”Earlier this week, the New York Times bestselling author Jay kristoff also had the soundtrack looping while writing.

Maybe I should listen to this.


The truth hurts. Write it.

VALERIE MACON / AFP / Getty Images

In June 2016, the late Carrie Fisher started an advice column for The Guardian. In her presentation column, Fisher said, “If my life wasn’t funny, it would just be true and it’s unacceptable.”


The forgiveness method

Battle Hill Bolero by Daniel José Older, $ 8, Amazon

It’s okay if you don’t write every day. Sometimes what holds us back is the fear of failure. As Daniel José Older said during the 2016 edition NaNoWriMo: ” Writing begins with forgiveness. Let go of the shame of the time that has passed since the last time you wrote, the lingering fear of not being a good enough writer, the doubts about whether or not you can do it. So let go and keep writing.


Take a page of history

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It took six years for Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the record-breaking and award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton. While we can’t all to be Lin-Manuel, we can take inspiration from the way he reinvented history. Find a forgotten period or figure from the past. Who is telling their story?


Poetry intermission

Sherman Alexie is one of the greatest contemporary writers. But before deciding to be a writer, he was pre-law. He took a poetry class (to meet girls) and then everything changed. In This interview Alexie attributes the line of the poet Adrian C. Lewis, “Oh, Uncle Adrian, I’m in reserve of my mind” saying, “You could argue I’ve rewritten that same line ever since. ”


Face upside down

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In a 2009 interview celebrating the 25th anniversary of Mango Street House, Sandra Cisneros said: “Writers always live their lives upside down, [considering] things we said or could have said, or things we wish we could take back. The job we do is precisely trying to clean up the mess we’ve made, the kind of emotional imprints we leave behind or the mess we inherit. ”

Find a time or event in your life that you would like to change. How would that be different?


We should all be careful

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Change gender for a day

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Before she was unveiled as Robert Galbraith, critics pointed out that JK Rowling could make a detective writer.

Take an element of your writing and bring it to the fore. For example: do you write fantasy with romantic elements? Try to write a scene that is straightforwardly contemporary romantic. Adopt something new, even if it’s just to try it.


Read. Seriously. Read.

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The plain by Jhumpa Lahiri, $ 11.74, Amazon

No amount of “butt in the chair” will actually get the words on the page. But reading helps. This prompt may seem redundant, but I have attended writing classes and workshops when an aspiring author proudly proclaims “I don’t read.” Take it from Pulitzer Jhumpa Lahiri winner who said: “I believe that all writing is born from reading, from the love of it.


“To dig.”


About writing: a brief of the trade by Stephen King, $ 10.72, Amazon

Stephen King’s Memoirs and Writing Guide On writing full of great tips. One in particular is “Dig. Stories are relics, which are part of a preexisting, undiscovered world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his toolbox to extract as much of each from the ground. intact as possible. ”Regarding your characters and world-building, keep digging until you find your answers.


To write is to rewrite

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NO by Zadie Smith, $ 14.03, Amazon

One of Zadie Smith’s the writing of the rules is, “Leave a decent amount of time between writing something and editing it.” If it works for Zadie Smith, it works for me. Maybe something you edit will spawn a life of its own.

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