Music has often created the wellspring out of which my imaginative efforts have sprung."  

                                                                                                                      William Styron

Create Your own Writing Topics

There is so much we care about and want to write about that sometimes we become paralyzed by the infinite choices available. Everything is right and nothing is right. What do I write about?

rereading your practice pages can help you discover what you want to write about. It is often difficult to write on a topic someone else has chosen for you so it might be a good idea to develop your own practice topics.  Here are ideas that might help.


  • Write the words “I remember. . .” at the top of a blank page and then, without hesitation, write the words that come to you. Be specific. Begin by listing some of the details, not just the general idea.  As soon as you have completed a few sentences of the image, and before you stop to think of the next, drop down a few lines and begin again with the words “I remember. . .”, and write the next snapshot that comes. Continue until the page is full and you will have opened a door into several writing sessions.


  • Stash notepads and pens in all your reading locations. When you come upon a phrase or image that strikes you, write it down.Do this with everything you read. Once taken out of context these tidbits assume a random quality that separates them from their source. Store these in a file or envelop that you dip into for a practice session.


  • Go within the belly of your own writing for topics.Here you will find images and phrases of your own making that can also be used outside of their original context.


  • As others read aloud from their writing, make notes of phrases that resonate with you. Be sure to let them know you are using their material as a prompt. While some will not take it kindly, others will be complimented.


  • Use song lyrics as writing prompts. Try to stay away from the familiar, which would be akin to using a cliché for a topic. Go to lesser known works.


  • Everyday for one month, create a first sentence in your writer’s notebook. Don’t worry how or when it might get used. At the end of the month cut them into strips, fold them, and place them in an envelope and put them away for a while.When you have almost forgotten what you have written, begin using them as topics for your writing sessions. Spontaneity is always a good ingredient for a practice session.


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