Time Capsule (a prompt for unstacking writer’s blocks)

I keep a list of writing topics handy for those times when I get stuck. Because I write on difficult themes, I get stuck frequently. Sometimes, my list isn’t enough to burst my thought dam. In that case, I like to mine completed pieces from my writing history for phrases and inspiration. When even that fails to get my creative juices flowing, I trick my writer brain with the following exercise:

Time Capsule

Find a completed story, poem, essay or journal entry on a topic you haven’t worked with in awhile but meant to revisit. After reading the piece, rewrite it. The whole thing.

This exercise takes upwards of an hour. The point is to fully disengage from the piece that has you stuck, giving your subconscious time to sift through it. However, if you are on a deadline, rewrite one stanza or paragraph, or set your timer for twenty minutes and do what you can.

Return to the piece you are struggling with and read it beginning to end. You’ll be surprised at what new ideas emerge, and you’ll have a revision to show for it.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

0 Discussion to this post

  1. This blog is my go to for writing. I can always guarantee a great session of writing with your prompts. I sent a link to your blog to mother-in-law in Canada and she is using the prompts you are giving as well. You are definitely, worth the read.

    View Comment
  2. Loving this support and feedback. <3

    View Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Stories

Search stories by typing keyword and hit enter to begin searching.

%d bloggers like this: