Tag Archives: November PAD

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 😉 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 🙂

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 😉

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 🙂

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! 🙂


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

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

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 🙂

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 😉 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 🙂

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 😉

  • “How could I have known?”

This entire line popped fresh out of my first November PAD poem 😉 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 🙂

  • 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 😉 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 😉

Friday Reflections & Some Prompts for your November Challenge

Hullo, folks! How are your November challenges going? You’re already half-way there! That’s 50%! You’ve done half of it – so you know you’ve got it in you to do another half…don’t stop now! 🙂

I have to say, I’m doing pretty well so far on my Poem-a-Day Challenge. For the past few days, I’ve been cranking out two poems a day; yesterday I was so inspired, I wrote three! I love it when I’m into a challenge full-swing.

If there’s one thing I could never get enough of during a poetry-writing challenge, I’d vote for prompts. So in addition to today’s Reflections topic, I’ll be listing a handful of prompts towards the end of this post based on the poems I’ve written so far in this month, just in case someone needs the words/sparks to set off their creativity.

Friday Reflections: Peace

I’m sure this dove famously carrying the olive branch would’ve put an idea into your head, but apart from this image, what else do you think of when you read/hear the word “peace“?

Maybe you could come up with a piece explaining why a dove and why an olive branch? It doesn’t have to be logically reasoned – just be creative!

Do you immediately think War, peace talks, treaties, the UN, and the like? In that context, do you believe that “peace” is possible? What exactly would “peace” be – how would you define it? Is it some kind of utopian ideal?

Or does peace mean something closer to home for you? The chaos/peace binary pops out to me every time I think of the word “peace”. It leads me to: finding peace of mind (which recalls that hilarious scene at the beginning of Kung Fu Panda 2 with Master Shifu’s “inner peace“). Peace has different connotations when it comes to martial arts or yoga, as it does with religion (as in phrases such as “peace be with you” or “peace be upon you“).

Also, I’m always envious of people who can write in any kind of atmosphere, because I always need a relatively peaceful surrounding to be able to produce anything worth reading!

There is always, of course, the “peace out” v-sign slang, for which I see great potential in a poem or short story (perhaps as a symbol or refrain), maybe even a novel for characterization.

Go ahead and brainstorm for more ideas and maybe you’ll discover a poem or story along the way! 😉

Prompts for your November Challenge

Here are some prompts based on what I’ve written in this month so far:

Hope that gives you something to write about, if you were looking! Good luck for the rest of the November challenges, folks! And always, always: happy writing 🙂

Friday Reflections: Clockwork

How’s the first week of the November Challenges been? Hope everyone’s been progressing swimmingly! We’re already one week in, which means we’re a quarter way through our challenges! Here’s the weekly prompt/reflection, if you need something to write about:

This Friday’s topic is clockwork!

I was actually talking to my father about the physics/mechanics behind clocks at dinner tonight and that’s when I figured I could blog/poem about the same topic – there’s a lot of potential with stories and poetry where clocks, time, mechanics, cogs and the like are concerned.

What’s the first thing that struck you when you read the word clockwork? Did this image here put anything into your head? This image may take the term in a very literal sense; is there a way you can take the idea behind clockworks and convert it into a metaphor for something bigger, some similar function in life or the way something else works in the world?

Fiction writers: maybe in your next story, clocks play a major role as symbols? And perhaps the functioning of the clocks reflects the way things happen to/around the characters?

The Physics Behind It

Looking into the inner workings of clocks got me reflecting on how intricate the setup is on the inside, compared to how simple and, perhaps mundane in the 21st century, the external appearance now seems to us. (This contrast could also be something to write about!) It’s interesting to break machines down to their basic principles and take a closer look into their functioning – the oscillations that make it run, the sixty minute (as in tiny) motions that make a larger hand move…

Much study and effort have gone into the development of this tool – it happened years and years ago, but it has a most common place in many people’s lives now. The clock is perhaps something we take for granted at this point in time. [Random thought/prompt: When did you learn to tell the time? In how many languages can you tell the time?]

The physics behind machines offers a great deal to reflect upon. It also applies to all living things, even ourselves. There’s so much (both physically, in terms of brain and muscle power, and psychologically) that goes behind every movement we make, every action of ours!

Other thoughts

Some of the other things that come to my mind when I think “clockwork” are:

  • that splendid tick-tock sound clocks make – which annoys some and inspires others
    • what about the source of that sound?
    • consider your sense for time – are you always aware of it, or do you lose track of it completely? (perhaps you don’t care much for it at all?)
    • how about your characters – do they keep a close vigil on time?
  • time-bombs (I’m pretty sure I thought of this just because I watched crime-related tv shows an hour ago)
  • this line from Paul Auster’s novel The Man in the Dark: “I’m just a personnel officer, a little cog in a big machine.” (loved this book, would definitely recommend the read)
  • the number 32,768 (which is now stuck in my head, and has to do with the mechanics of the clock – among other devices)
  • the very system of day/night/time makes for a great tool in fiction and poetry
    • I’ve seen the progress from day to night being used in several ways in novels – as symbols, as metaphors; to establish setting, to create a sense of urgency. Day and night are common archetypal symbols – perhaps they carry different meanings for you?

Hope this gives you something to write/blog/poem about along your November ride! Happy writing folks! 😀

The best thing…

The best thing is to go into my study in the morning and put words together.
-Robert Harris

I couldn’t agree with these words more.

It’s been a long time since I wrote poetry first thing in the morning, fresh out of bed – but when I did it today, it felt wonderful. I’m a morning person – most productive before 1 p.m. Since I have the day off (it’s Deepavali) and since it’s a festival, I got to wake up earlier than I would on the average day, and had some free time before preparations.

I poemed right away, hair dishevelled and glasses barely on straight. Fellow writers, I have to say: it makes me wonder why I don’t do this every morning! If at least for the sake of the November PAD challenge, I’m going to try making the morning hours my regular writing time.

A couple of prompts

  • fire juxtaposed with rain
  • light juxtaposed with darkness

I used the second for today’s poem (which is in keeping with my November PAD chapbook theme!), but the first prompt came into my mind when I saw a sudden burst of rain (it hardly lasted ten minutes) earlier. Put that next to the endless music of firecrackers, you get an interesting picture (thinking of it now actually reminded me of this Hindi song – one of my favorite compositions sung by one of my favorite singers). You’d think rain would damper everyone’s spirits, but it almost always rains this time of year, so the folks are used to it. They just wait it out and start lighting fireworks again.

Deepavali is the “festival of lights” – hence the second prompt.

In my poem’s case, it was the moonlight against the darkness of the night. Gotta love ’em archetypal symbols.

Good luck for the rest of November, folks! Happy writing 🙂