Rachel McKibbens's #quarantinewritingretreat prompts

Rachel McKibbens has been posting daily writing prompts on her Twitter, under the hashtag quarantinewritingretreat. In exchange, she asks that folks donate to The Pink Door Retreat, an annual writer’s retreat “exclusively for non-men writers of color to come into exchange and engagement with each other to provide a space for mentorship and exploration of ideas while building an active and informed literary community.” The Pink Door offers scholarships to writers for whom such a retreat is financially difficult, so your donations go toward helping other writers attend.


Donate here.

Writing Prompts for 2020

In past years, I’ve posted writing prompts every day of April. Past archives are still availble, but this year, instead, I’m going to provide links to writers and educators who regularly offer writing prompts and whose livelihood depends on online teaching. If you use their prompts, please consider donating to them or paying for further instruction.


Make a list of 5 missed opportunities. Next, make a list of 5 dodged bullets. Now, in a poem, wander baxk and forth between the missed opportunities and dudged bullets.


Make a list of 5 words that interest you in some way – maybe they make you angry or sad or curious. Look up the word’s history, etymology and mant definitions. Maybe the word has a deeply personal meaning for you. If so, write that down. Write a poem that wanders through all of this and hopefully discovers something. Read “Promiscuous” by William Matthews as an example.


Was there ever an important moment for you in which there was music in the background? If you can remember what the music was, write a poem that poses as a review of that music but underneath tells the story of that moment.


Think of a place that’s emotionally important to you. How do you get there? Write turn-by-turn instructions to get there with the atarting point being somewhere else important to you (or perhaps to someone else) as if your poem were a GPS system.


Write a poem that poses as a set of instructions for something ordinary like: checking in to an AirBnB or assembling Ikea furniture.


Write an elegy for an inanimate object that seems insignificant to everyone else but changes/changed ecerythig for you.