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Writing Prompts

Writing Prompt: A Bit of Inspiration

by Matilda Butler on September 4, 2014

Writing Prompt LogoPost #194 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompts and Life Prompts – Matilda Butler

Need Inspiration?

Fall has returned to the Pacific Northwest.

How can I tell? Is it the shorter days? Cooler temperatures? Oak leaves crumbling under my feet on afternoon walks? Squirrels with nuts in their mouths scurrying up the Douglas fir outside my window?

No. It’s the energy I feel as 25,000 students return to campus. The grocery stories, quiet all summer, now bustle with laughter and the chatter of friends catching up or roommates getting to know each other. Empty streets are alive with cars dashing here and there, so that their drivers can gather supplies and books in anticipation of the first class. Restaurants where our voices echo in almost empty spaces during the summer have long lines now. Yes, every small town with a college campus is coming to life as students arrive. All of this and more is the impact of the arrival of 25,000 temporary residents to a town of 50,000 full-timers.

writing prompt for inspirationTheir energy energizes me. I’ve made my list of goals to accomplish this fall and hope you have your list as well. Of course, Oregon State University helps with this inspiration through banners they have raised across the campus. I went out the other day and took photos so that I could share these inspirational messages with you. I’ve posted a few here to get you thinking.




Then I hope you’ll choose one or more of the writing prompts below to inspire you and your memoir writing.

Writing Prompts for Inspiration

Writing Prompt #1. You Change the World. The banner above is a great place to start thinking about your life. Yes, the events in your life have helped shape you and that is where we often start when we write memoir. But for this first writing prompt, I’d like you to think about the ways you have changed the world. Think about friends and family. How have you changed their world? What about your work life? What differences have you made there?

Each person makes a unique contribution so write about the changes you’ve made. No one else in the world will have the same list you have.

writing prompts for inspirationWriting Prompt #2. You Are Bold. Do you think of yourself as a bold person? If so, write a paragraph or two on some of the ways that you have been bold in your life.

Maybe you consider yourself an introvert. And introverts aren’t bold, are they? Of course, they are. Every time you get out of your comfort zone you are taking a bold step. If it is hard for you to try new things, then when you do you should congratulate yourself on being bold.

Boldness comes in all forms and shapes. Think about a few bold moments in your life and write one or more paragraphs about those times.

writing prompts for inspirationWriting Prompt #3. You Care for All. Perhaps this inspirational message resonates. There are many ways that you might “care for all.” And as strange as it might sound, be sure to include yourself in the “all.” Caring for others begins in everyday actions — courtesy, concern, friendliness. The “all” can include those you know and even the people you see as you walk down the street, take public transportation, shop for groceries, spend the day at work, and more.

In this writing prompt, think of several categories — perhaps immediate family, relatives, close friends, acquaintances, strangers. Come up with your own categories. Then write a few sentences about the ways that you care for people in these groups. Be as specific as possible.

Then, for a final paragraph, write about how you care for yourself. If you are always giving to others, then eventually there will be nothing left to give. You need to find ways to add to YOU so that you can continue to care for OTHERS.

writing prompts for inspirationWriting Prompt #4. You Are Focused. Thanks to cell phones, email, text messaging, social media, it is almost impossible to be truly focused. We multitask all the time. We can’t even take time off from distractions when we are on vacation.

So what does it mean to be focused. Well, another part of us knows that we have to focus if we are to accomplish goals. We have to say, “For the next hour, I won’t be interrupted and will just write (or whatever your goal). Sure, we can’t maintain a constant state of focus. Yet, we can’t give up on it either. Sometimes it helps to break a large goal into smaller goals that can be focused on and accomplished.

Write about a time in your life when you were focused. Write about a current goal and how you can focus to accomplish it. Both will help to inspire you.

inspiration and writing promptsWriting Prompt #5. You Envision the Future. Memoir writing seems to be primarily looking at the past, looking backward. But the best memoirs use the past to help envision a different or better future. Don’t get caught in a trap of previous action and reaction.

Write a paragraph about your future. What will it look like? How will you use the experiences from the past to create a better future?

Write another paragraph about how your past can help others in their future. Take away negatives and restraints and imagine what is possible and how you can assist in that vision.

memoir writing

I hope you enjoy writing about these inspirational statements. I’m going to head back to campus and find more for you. Check back here next week and see what I’ve found.

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