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The Time Is Now: Writing Prompts for the New Year

Poetry

Look through your poem drafts, notes, and writing fragments. Choose one line that stands out, and refine it until it feels as complete and polished as one line out of context can be. Use that line as the refrain in a new poem. When you’ve completed a decent draft, try writing an additional draft of the poem without the line, using it instead as the title.

Fiction

Choose a specific place and time in the past: the North Shore of Staten Island before the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge was built; the Back Bay area of Boston in the 1850s; Phoenix before air-conditioning was invented; Seattle in the 1970s. Research this location during this time, gathering as much information as you can about how it was and how it has changed. Review public records, read newspaper articles, and peruse archival images. Write a story set in the time and place you’ve chosen, using the details you’ve uncovered to make the story as authentic as possible.

Creative Nonfiction

The erasure is a poetic form created by obscuring words and phrases from an existing text and using those that remain to construct a poem. Apply the erasure to an essay. Copy five to seven pages of an existing essay or two. Then, using a black marker or white correction fluid, select certain words on the pages and erase the rest. Compose a short lyric essay using the selected words.

Visit The Time Is Now page for more exercises to inspire your writing all year long.

Reader Comments

  • onyx says...

    i always pick lines and polish but this "writing an additional draft of the poem without the line, using it instead as the title" well, is all new to me, but i'll try it out anyway.

  • onyx says...

    i always pick lines and polish but this "writing an additional draft of the poem without the line, using it instead as the title" well, is all new to me, but i'll try it out anyway.

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