Creative writing can be a wonderful support for our mental health. It helps with so many aspects, from finding something to occupy our time, to managing intrusive thoughts by finding other thoughts that can be equally absorbing, to practising mindfulness / states of flow to restore a sense of calm, to repurposing and reframing our feelings and responses.
If you'd like some creative-writing sessions as mental respite or a creative writing project to add rhythm and creative purpose to your routine, here you go. I've created two guided-writing exercises on audio, to help take you somewhere else for a bit, and collected five writing projects for you: three fiction projects of 12 days prompts, and two poetry projects. You can also join my mailing list to get fresh prompts about once a month. Enjoy!
Both of these sessions are recorded on audio to help immerse you in the writing process. They're made up of short activities (eg 3-5 mins) to help you focus, included in the time, and gradually build up to a slightly longer activity. They're also both designed to help you think about something different, interesting, and positive. I'll talk you through everything you're doing and tell you when to start and what to do next.
A one-hour guided writing exercise, on audio, to lead you into writing a poem. Don't worry if you've never written a poem before – you'll be guided each step of the way. I originally made it for my students when their weekly class had to be postponed and would like to share it with anyone who'd enjoy some writing calm.
A 45-minute guided writing exercise, on audio, to lead you into writing a poem. Again, don't worry if you've never written a poem before – you'll be guided each step of the way.
The fiction and poetry prompts can be used as standalone writing prompts or as regular projects, and two of the fiction prompt sets are specifically designed as 12-session projects. Setting yourself a project can help give your writing a sense of purpose and momentum. A fixed writing time can also help add some structure and rhythm to your days. I suggest a regular writing slot either at your most alert time in the day (eg 11am, for me) or at a "slump" time where you might otherwise feel aimless (eg 4pm, for me).
This writing slot might be 10 minutes, half an hour, or an hour, up to you. You might decide to write every week day, every other day, weekend days, or whatever works for you. (I suggest you decide in advance for each week, to help create that a sense of purpose for yourself.) The fiction prompts are deliberately designed to be short (10-20 mins) so that they're easier to fit into your day. The poetry prompts are a mix of shorter and longer poems: I usually allow an hour for a poem, but often use less.
12 stand-alone writing prompts, each developing a specific aspect of writing. Each one is designed to work as a 10-minute exercise, though you can extend them to 20 minutes if you want.
A set of writing prompts based around one premise, to take you through various aspects of story creation, based on the Story Elements course, one a day for 12 days. Allow 20 mins for each prompt.
Another 12-day set of writing prompts based on the Story Elements course, with different prompts and a different starting point. Allow 20 mins for each prompt.
30 poetry prompts from this year's NaPoWriMo, with carefully designed content ideas to take your mind elsewhere and into interesting peaceful places. The prompts alternate types of poems with ideas of what to write about. Each type-of-poem prompt also includes some suggestions for what to write about, and each idea-of-what-to-write-about prompt also includes suggestions for a possible form or two. Start with the first prompt here.
Sixteen fun poetic forms to play with – click on the picture of each pic for more detail about that form and an example. This mixes tiny quick forms with longer forms. If you'd like a selection of just the quickie forms, you can find that here.
I also send out writing prompts on my mailing list – I email about once a month and each email has a batch of four writing prompts: a form / genre prompt, an exercise, a first-line prompt, and a themed call for submissions. It's a mix of fiction and poetry prompts and often individual prompts can be used for either. To get that, you can sign up here:
I won't share your email with anyone else. You'll get emails from me only, about upcoming courses, writing competitions, publishing opportunities, interesting articles about writing, new blog posts, and creative events in Oxford. All emails are sent via MailChimp and you can unsubscribe at any time. Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book if you want to keep the emails from vanishing into spam.