Writing Prompts -NaPoWriMo and Beyond. . .

Here are some past writing prompts that I’ve shared and used during April in years past.  Use them anytime as a writing exercise to help keep those creative juices flowing. . . NaPoWriMo is the acronym for NAtional POetry WRIting MOnth.  During April, poets and non-poets write a poem each every day of April because it’s National Poetry Month.  It’s good exercise that can develop a good writing discipline and it’s also great therapy.  Research shows it can even stimulate your brain and create new brain cells!

Here are some Prompts

  1. Three in a Row

The prompt for today is “three in a row.”  Maybe that means you’ve won something (tic tac toe or slot machines).  Maybe you think of superstitions and how bad things come in threes; three celebrity/famous person deaths, injuries, signs.  Three can mean good or bad luck.  Third time’s a charm!   Write about trios The Three Stooges, Groucho, Chico, Harpo or the trinity.  Now write.


    2. Painting by Poem.

The colors of crayons and the colors of paint in the hardware/Home Depot store have imaginative names.  Collect several imaginative color names and use three or more of them in a poem of any style or any length.

   3.  Lines/sayings made famous by Shakespeare

In your poem use at least 2 of the 135 phrases Shakespeare takes credit for making famous in a poem. (‘All that glitters is not gold’ or ‘a plague in both your houses’ or ‘as good luck would have it’ . . .)

You can use many more if you would like (try using 14 perhaps?) . Click here for a list of 135 phrases.


  4. Garage Sale Items

List ten items you would buy at a garage sale, or an auction or your local thrift store. Be specific. Now write a poem that includes all of these items. Call your poem: Things Found at a Garage Sale or Things Found at the Thrift Store, or Things Found at an Auction or In the Attic…In the Basement…. or call it Ishmael. It’s your poem after all.

5. Something or someone is missing.

YOU know what it is.

Don’t panic, but write about it. Whether it’s an important someone or something or not, doesn’t matter. Now without actually telling us exactly what it is… write about it. It can be positive or negative. Do NOT mention what the object is or who the person is in relation to you in the body of the poem.

At the end of the poem you can tell us what it is you have been writing about if you want to… but you don’t have to. Entirely up to you.

6. Movie Quotes

Use 3 to 4 movie quotes (or more) in the poem you write today. Your poem can be about anything you would like. Love, Nature, Movies, Politics, Religion… you are a poet, you are fearless. The quotes can be favorites or ones you look up and decide to play with. You can go to IMDB.COM, look up a movie you like and often there will be a box on the left hand side that includes a link to quotes from that movie. You can try googling the movie and see if quotes will come up for it. Use the quotes in a completely different way in the body of a poem then how they are used in the movie. You can even change the tense or gender of a word if need be. Make sure you use at least three quotes. Each quote can consist of a couple of lines of dialogue or a single line- up to you. Tell us in a post poem note where the quotes come from. “Here’s looking at you, kid. “

7. Pick a Phrase and then a color.

Write a poem that starts with one of these phrases:

I don’t know . . . I have no idea . . .or I can’t write about . . .

include something red OR something blue in the poem.

8. Smelly Poem

Some of the poems I write for NaPoWriMo really stink. So let’s write a poem about things we smell and let’s make sure that we give a smell to something that doesn’t have a smell attached to it… it could be love, it could be tragedy, it could be happiness etc. In a trip through olfactory roads, also give a feeling or concept to an identifiable smell. Everyone’s poetry stinks today…. Write on!!!!

9. Write two different types of Septolets today.  (Sep-toe-lay)

Septolet 1: Total of 14 words in 7 lines, no line should have more than three words. The poem should relate to one subject, object, thought or feeling. The first four lines create a coherent picture or thought, the last three lines create another. Each could stand separately, but both are related.


Septolet 2: Line 1 has one syllable, Line 2 has two, Line 3 has 3, Line 4 has 4 syllables, space, Line 5 has 3, Line 6 has 2, Line 7 has one syllable. Poem should relate to one thought, feeling, object, place.


Formal Septolet                                                                                Informal Septolet

One                           1 syllable                                          “This

Second                      2 syllables                                       is easy

Or perhaps               3 syllables                                 anyone can do

Four ticking bombs 4 syllables                                 it,”

Blank space

Reminder                  3 syllables                                said

That you’re               2 syllables                                tightrope walker.

Late                              1 syllable                                 “but don’t look down!”

(14 words.  4 words maximum on one line.)


10. Excuse for being Late

You’re late for work or an important date, because you overslept, but your boss hates over-sleepers. (your date doesn’t tolerate lateness) He or she does love entertaining stories however, so create the most outlandish excuse as to why you were late. And please try to make it rhyme…..


Many more to come stay tuned. . .

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