Writing Prompt by Terry Wolverton

Do something you don’t usually do or go somewhere you don’t usually go.  Go rock climbing, visit a goat farm, float in a sensory deprivation tank, take a belly dancing class.  Shake up your normal routine.  While you’re having the experience, pay attention to everything–what do things look like, what do they smell and sound like, what terminology do people use, what kind of people are there too, what does it feel like to be doing this activity or be in this environment?  You’re gathering data.

Pretty quickly after the experience is complete, give yourself some time to write notes about it.  It may not turn into a “piece” of writing for a while, but you don’t want to lose your immediate impressions. Then, see where it goes.  You may be writing fiction and find out that a character has had this same experience–maybe she or he felt different about it than you did.  An image or a word may find its way into a poem.  You may end up writing an essay or memoir piece about it.

But the experience will stay in your memory bank, and you’ll always be able to draw on it.

Biography of Terry Wolverton:  Terry Wolverton is the author of seven books, most recently a novel, The Labrys Reunion.  She is  founder of and instructor at Writers At Work.   www.terrywolverton.xbuild.com


One thought on “Writing Prompt by Terry Wolverton

  1. Hey Terry – I so agree with ur post. In my 20’s I worked as an Assistant Creative Director for this advertising diva on Madison Avenue in New York City. She would always tell me, ‘Get out of here. Go for a stroll or to a museum. Or just go to any of the make-up counters at Saks and watch the people staring at themselves in the mirror. Something will come to you for our campaign.’ And you know what, she was always right.
    Thanks for reminding me of one of the secrets to great writing.
    Mary Kennedy Eastham – who wishes she still lived down there near you guys – you have the BEST writer’s workshops!

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