Writing and getting creative is a great way to support our mental health and wellbeing, but where do you begin? Read our top creative writing tips from Alex, a volunteer with our BAND community based mental health service in Bolton.
In a world which leaves little time for reflection and creativity, writing has many benefits. It can allow you to organise your thoughts, process emotions, boost your imagination, and improve your conversation skills. Over time this can contribute to your development, not only as a writer but as a person.
When staring down at a blank piece of paper, ideas are not always forthcoming. Once this hurdle has been overcome and pen has been put to paper, the words can start to flow and writing becomes enjoyable. Similar to the snowball effect, the more you write the easier it becomes and your imagination will no doubt grow as well.
To help you take steps in what is a fulfilling pastime for many (and can bring joy to others if you choose to let them read it), here are 10 writing prompts which should get your creative spark ignited.
- Pick a colour, for example yellow, and write a poem or a paragraph: what does this colour mean to you, what does it remind you of, does it make you think of a memory, if it had a smell what would it be?
- ‘Freewriting’: set a timer for either five or ten minutes and once you start the timer start writing and don’t stop until the alarm goes off. Don’t worry about writing gibberish/it not making sense- that’s the point! Just make sure you are writing whatever comes to your mind and don’t stop writing. When you’ve finished read through what you have written and see if you can make a poem or paragraph.
- Go to a window wherever you are and look outside: write one paragraph about what you can see, hear, and smell. Then right another paragraph as if you live in a fantasy world, what do you see, hear, and smell now?
- Imagine you are an animal: you can choose whether you have always been an animal or have suddenly turned into one. Never mention what animal you have chosen. Write a poem or short story about what it’s like to be this animal- mention all five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch)
- Write two sentences that make a complete short story: I recommend writing a short story that’s only a paragraph long and then cutting it down to the two most essential sentences.
- Imagine you are an alien: you have just arrived on Earth and have no idea what a TV is. Try to describe what it is and what it does. Are you fascinated or scared by it?
- Find a photograph: it can be a photo of anything (yourself, a family member, an object or animal) Write a poem or paragraph describing the photo in detail. Then how does this photo make you feel, what memories does it bring back, what led up to this photo being taken?
- Random Word Generator: you can either use the five words that I randomly selected: Mind Wish Seize Sleep Soap. Or you can go on to the website and get another five random words. Use the five words to create a poem or a short story.
- Put on your favourite song (Wear earphones if possible) and listen to it once and focus on what you can hear. Then play it again and write about what you think about when you hear the lyrics, what emotions do you feel, describe it. Write a poem or short story. Feel free to include the song title and lyrics.
Find out more about our BAND community based mental health service in Bolton.