Tag Archives: November PAD Challenge

We’ve hit the 1/3-way mark! Writing prompts & an exercise for you.

Hi folks, hope you’ve all been writing strong for the past ten days! We’re already 1/3 way through the challenge ūüôā Let’s keep our energy up and charge ahead!

For today, let’s take up¬†lists.

And, what about lists?

It’s completely up to you to decide what to do with the theme:

  • Use it as a prompt for writing lists of some kind, perhaps in your journal
  • Write a character who is obsessed with making lists for everything
  • Write a story that is written in the¬†format of a list or utilizes¬†listing¬†for its narration
  • Make “lists” a theme in your story–perhaps a metaphor of some kind (things that we remember to list, things we miss out, what really happens thanks to or despite of our lists, etc.)
  • Write a list poem
  • Write a blog post that is a list of pointers/ideas/suggestions
  • Anything else that comes to your mind!

'Think Like a Tree' - a lovely list poem by Karen I. Shragg [Image Source]

Think Like a Tree by Karen I. Shragg [Image Source]

I pulled today’s theme¬†out of the poem I wrote today, which (I only realized after it was done) turned out to be

a list poem! (this lovely one is Think Like a Tree by Karen I. Shragg)

Specifically, it was a list poem about the ways we deal with¬†wounds, and in this case, those caused by¬†love. You’re welcome to use that as another prompt: wounded.

A list poem I wrote a long time ago was about what a writer’s “grocery” list would look like. Notebooks, pens, sachets of inspiration, that sort of thing ūüėČ Feel free to expand on the theme with your imagination here! What does “list” make you think of? What are the most unique or outrageous lists you’ve heard of? What is a¬†powerful list poem you could write today, based on an experience of yours?

A writing exercise!

Here’s a quick writing exercise with list-making:

  • List twelve¬†of your favorite songs.
  • Pull out twenty phrases/lines from these songs totally (up to three¬†lines per song, it’s okay if you don’t use lines from all the songs)
  • Re-write the ideas in these lines with completely different¬†analogies/metaphors/words
    • (Re-write in prose or poetry, depending on what kind of piece you want to write)
  • Is there any way to glue these new segments together?

You don’t absolutely have to glue the segments together; you could choose to put some together and ditch others completely; you could tie them all into one big bundle–it’s up to you.

Just as a note: you don’t ever have to¬†absolutely do anything in any writing exercise, unless you’re trying to write in form. ūüėČ

Hope this helps with your November challenge! Happy writing/poeming folks!


Friday Reflections & Prompts for Your November Challenge

Good day, folks! How has your November challenge been going so far? I didn’t end up taking on anything other than the Poem-a-Day challenge, but that’s keeping me busy enough ūüėČ I’ve been going at the average pace of two-poems-a-day, dropping to one on busier days.

We are already a week into November! Today’s post will include the usual Friday Reflections topic as well as some prompts and links to keep you rolling ūüôā

Friday Reflections: Translation

Translation is a daily activity for a lot of people who are multi-lingual. You may not even realize how often you’re translating things from one language to another. If you’re used to this, perhaps you could take a close look at some of the “ordinary” acts of translation you’re always doing, and try to capture that in what you write. Often there’s some comedy in the effort of translation–in the futility of the effort, since there’s always something important “lost in translation”. (You could try writing about what it is that you think is lost in translation.)

All the same, you can’t live without translating, either, just because it’s not a 100% successful activity all the time. Perhaps you could imagine a scenario in which translation is not possible–what kind of communication remains in the end?

Translation doesn’t necessarily have to be¬†from one entire language to another. Often you’re simply trying to translate your ideas, feelings or thoughts into words. Isn’t that what we’re doing when we write? Or when we try to explain our experiences to others?

Perhaps you could write about some of your specific efforts in translating what’s on your mind into communication. Meta-fictive and meta-poetic works (like¬†poems that are about writer’s block) are all about this¬†(difficult) process of¬†translation!

The act of translation¬†isn’t limited to words, either. We translate between words and actions all the time, too!¬†Charades is a classic game that tests how well you can do so. There are interesting ways to play with this kind of translation, such as by highlighting the¬†incongruity between a character’s words and actions ūüėČ

Also, translations gone wrong can often lead to misunderstandings–there’s much scope for humour (and tragedy) in this.

These¬†are just some ideas. If you’ve got something more creative you want to try with translation, have a blast!

Apart from the poem I’ve quoted here, you can also check out ‘Lost in Translation’¬†over at The Poetry Foundation for a fun read ūüôā

Prompts for your November challenge

Here are a few more quick prompts to keep you fuelled for your November challenge:

  • punctuation
  • frostbite
  • there’s this ______ (fill the blank in with any word)
  • set (the) _______ on fire

If you need to hear some poetry to get you into a poetic mood or rhythm, The Poetry Station is a great place to find something inspiring and contemporary to listen to!

Happy writing, folks, and keep the November writing fever¬†going! ūüôā

November – the write-a-thon month – is here!

Hullo, folks! I hope everyone’s ready for a month of furious writing! ūüôā

Yes, it’s¬†November already! Month of the Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge, NaNoWriMo, NaBloWriMo, and any other way you can think of tweaking¬†that second syllable; it’s time to get cracking, dear fellow writers!

For anyone who is new to November’s writing fervor, I’ve given a quick introduction to the various challenges in this old post ūüôā

Has everyone decided which of the challenges they’ll be taking up? I’ll be attempting¬†the Poem-a-Day Challenge as always, but I still have till the end of the day to decide whether I want to attempt NaNoWriMo ūüėČ it’s a challenge as it is, and to take it up last minute…but I’m still willing to play with the idea, so let’s see!

As for other ideas, I was just thinking it’d be nice to try something like “a short story a day” challenge. I’m sure there are plenty of people out there already trying it! If I skip on NaNoWriMo, I might attempt something of this sort instead.

The point of November’s furious writing, for me at least, is to make sure you show up at your writing desk every day and get something done. Making writing a habit. It’s hard to do it all year long¬†(though that’s the ideal), so if you can’t, start here–start now, for just one month.¬†November. Your write-a-thon month. Take any challenge that suits you, and do your best every day. Whether you’ve got a chapbook or a novel at the end, the more important product is the daily development your writing takes!

So gear up, sharpen your words, and write away ūüôā

Prompts for the Weekend

Today’s the first day of November and it also happens to be a weekend, so here are¬†a few¬†of¬†prompts to get you started. Feel free to mix up/compound prompts or change words/phrases/punctuation marks as you please! There’s only one rule in November and that’s to write every day!

  • the first day

This could be about your first day at anything, like school, college, work, or your first day at your November challenge! It could also be about someone’s first day of–well, life! It could be the first day of reading something different, or writing something different, or living somewhere new, perhaps living¬†with someone new. These are just simple examples, I’m sure your brain could churn out something much more creative than what mine’s giving me now ūüėČ

  • “How could I have known?”

This entire line¬†popped fresh out of my first November PAD poem ūüėČ there, it had something to do with communication and how we get to know things, sometimes without words. For your piece, it could even be about not knowing something had happened, but perhaps being expected to know. Whatever the line suggests to you works best ūüôā

  • Dawn / Daybreak¬†(+music prompt)

For this prompt, I won’t say too much, since it probably already has so many possibilities brimming in your mind; I shall only add that you can always change any¬†prompt into a different part of speech if you’d like, like “dawn” to “dawning”, or just add that meaning into your piece ūüėČ I will also add this piece of music to the mix, so you’ll have a music prompt for this one:

(You could always make use of the novel/film association here, or interpret the piece individually!)

Happy November!

I hope everyone’s got a good start on their challenge(s)! I shall try my best to make regular posts with more prompts (I expect to have a little more time now, at least for the first half of November). Wish you all a very happy, writerly November, folks ūüėČ

Friday Reflections: The Last Lap


Congratulations! You DID IT!  (Image Source)

Hullo, folks! I’m sorry I wasn‚Äôt able to offer any more prompts for November, the second half of the month kept me busy. But I hope everyone was able to hit their November Challenges’ goals! If you did…congratulations!

There’s a lot that comes after the completion of the NaNo Novel draft, or the PAD poetry collection, but you should spend some time cooling off before all that.

Maybe write something else!

And that’s where today’s Reflections post comes in. ūüôā

The topic is…well, not so much a topic as a phrase: “the last lap”


I wouldn’t want to hamper your creativity by putting my thoughts into your head, so take a few minutes and brainstorm on the phrase “the last lap” – jot down all the words, phrases, thoughts and sketches (perhaps you see an image in your mind) that come to you. Maybe you drew a poem right out of that? I’ve even read a short story that had a title resembling “the last lap”; I can also see much potential for it in non-fiction!

The Last Lap

This Reflections topic came to me on November 30th – the last day of the November challenge. I told myself, just one more day, just one more poem (when, really, that’s how I’d been doing it all along – one day at a time, one poem at a time).

The last lap.

Some days, along the November challenge, I’d felt a little burnt out by the time I got to poeming, but I managed to write the one. But this was the last day.

Just as I would’ve done if I’d really been on the track, running a mile or a marathon, I decided to sprint the last few hundred yards. Pour every last bit of my creative energy unto the page and let it take me where it would.

Never mind if you’re burnt out, this is the last one – it’s amazing how powerfully convincing that thought can be.

One last time. The last lap.

I used to run a lot of track & field some years ago, so the last lap metaphor resonates with me a great deal. (In fact, one of the poems I wrote this November -one of the better ones- is all about running track.) Long distance running is all about pacing, but the end, whenever I turned the corner and knew the finish line was less than a minute away, I would just make a dash for it. That always used to be my favorite part.

Just as the ending of a good book is my favorite part, or that last line of a poem that has the power to break, utterly crush, or just sweep your soul away, and be remembered fondly for it.

Those are some of the things that always come to my mind when I think ‘the last lap’. Maybe you could write about the month of December – it’s the last month of the year. Or about Winter, the last of the four seasons before Spring rolls in to “renew” the world.

The idea of the¬†last lap¬†also vaguely reminds me of the O’Henry short story,¬†The Last Leaf. You could look at it from the¬†time’s running out, but you’ve still got a lap to go¬†perspective (recalls Frost’s “miles to go before I sleep”)!

You could recollect your experience writing the last bit of whatever you’d taken up for your November Challenge.

Maybe, as how I related to track & field, you could write about the literal last lap in a race – could be a car race, or maybe you’re the last runner in a relay?

You could look beyond the finish line: with the perspective that the end of something means the beginning of something else.

Sometimes the after-the-last-lap time turns out to be most interesting. After the month-long challenge, I rode on simply by momentum: I wrote three poems within the first two days of December!

Happy Writing!

I hope everyone’s last lap of November had been satisfying, maybe even rewarding! ūüôā November’s a great month to take up a writing challenge because the writing fever’s just goes around, as does inspiration. But the writer’s real challenge is to keep at it, to create something every month of the year, to work writing into his/her every day.

I wish all my fellow writers a great last month of 2013 – filled with plenty of writing and holiday & family goodness!

Happy holiday season, and happy writing, folks~ ūüôā