September 8, 2008

63 things to write or write about

I’ve come up with a list of 63 writing topics and/or exercises to keep myself busy. I won’t do them in order, but I plan to do them all.

  1. An insane man, when he dies, leaves an insane corpse
  2. Boxes
  3. Job (as in Patience Of), after the restitution — can double sons and daughters compensate for those lost? If so, what does that say about Job, and about Job’s God?
  4. A satiric character sketch; the subject: me
  5. A panegyric; the subject: me
  6. The natural and the human
  7. A one-act play
  8. A blessing on someone or something
  9. A curse on someone or something
  10. An abstract sound poem
  11. A story that scares me
  12. A novel of at least 50,000 words in November
  13. Oracles, including logic
  14. Stocks of original phrases, in multiple combinations
  15. A literary dinner, like Landor’s Imaginary Conversations
  16. A nonsense narrative poem, metered and rhymed
  17. A 3-dimensional poem (or 4-dimensional, kinetic rather than static)
  18. A form based on the numbers 3, 7 and 9, and incorporating them in the subject matter
  19. A nursery rhyme the lyrics to at least 3 songs
  20. A man who is stuck behind his face, looking out at the world
  21. At least 7 shaped poems
  22. A clown poem
  23. Word art with poetry and collage; at least three examples
  24. An expressionist poem, with expressive punctuation, spelling and grammar
  25. Two cubist writings each in four genres: poetry, fiction, essay, drama; in each genre, one work to be analytic cubism and one synthetic cubism
  26. From point of view of a mythical creature, e.g. a faun, a centaur
  27. An alchemical text
  28. A web app poem (combinatoric renga?)
  29. An automatic or visionary poem, or visionquest poem
  30. A meditation on a sacred text
  31. A poem on a work of art
  32. Shroudsourcing
  33. A scientific law or mathematical axiom: what it means to us, why we legislated it
  34. A poem of at least nine lines, in which each line contains, at minimum, one modifier, one “ing” word, and one “to be” verb
  35. A love poem to someone I’ve never met
  36. Choose a favorite poem; write a counter-poem, expressing an opposing point of view
  37. “Translate” a story from an ancient manuscript, in which passages are lost, illegible, ambiguous or untranslatable
  38. “Discover” 7 to 9 poems in the person of a poet who died at least 300 years ago
  39. At least 3 flash fictions without any element of the fantastic
  40. Write as quickly as possible, without stopping, for one hour
  41. Time, its accelerations, retardations, and varieties: personal, historical, cosmic, clock, spiritual
  42. Write a piece with no helping words – a, of, the, and so on – only substantives and modifiers
  43. Write a piece, then replace all adjectives and adverbs with nouns and verbs
  44. Write a short piece, and expand it by free-associating on each substantive; repeat until the whole piece is at least ten pages long
  45. Write a poem of at least 40 lines; pare it down to no more than three lines, while expressing the same thing
  46. A creation myth
  47. An end of the world myth
  48. A Christmas story
  49. Stream-of-consciousness (but not my consciousness)
  50. Description of a person as a festival or ceremony
  51. Renga prose (narrative?)
  52. Against measure (number, weight & measure)
  53. Professionalism and amateurism
  54. Interiority Complex
  55. The god of leisure
  56. 50 pages about 5 minutes
  57. A prose poem incorporating a drawing (but not a rebus)
  58. An epistolary poem
  59. A sermon, a prayer, and the meditation of an unrepentant sinner
  60. A chance topic, selected by choosing a word at random from a book
  61. After all sex (or would that be “after-all sex”?)
  62. A week of dreams
  63. What happened when I died


  1. This was helpful

    Comment by Dana — October 19, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  2. this didnt help me at all

    some of the stuff was rude

    Comment by iknoweverything — November 26, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  3. Extremely helpful, yet I did not write on anything that was listed. However, I di write a two page letter to myself asking the question of how we teach our youth better life management skills.. For instance, I am 25 right now and no one seemed to try and prepare me for just how difficult and depressing life can really be… hhhmmm… would you just say thats called a reality check, maybe they should give you one in high school!!!!

    Comment by Cody R — November 28, 2009 @ 4:02 am

  4. thanks this helps

    Comment by sweet2243 — November 30, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

  5. Thanks for the comments, pro and con. (I’m giving three of you the benefit of the doubt that your comments weren’t robospam.)

    I really only wrote this list for me, but if others find it helpful, great! If not, ignore it! I’m still working on the list, slowly; I come back to it when I’m at a loss for a subject. I can cross off #s 2, 4, 5, 12, 24, 27, 37, 47, 53, 57, and 60; some others are partly done.

    Comment by crcb — December 2, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  6. didnt help me either

    Comment by anoyminous — April 24, 2010 @ 10:43 am

  7. didn’t help

    Comment by anom — May 28, 2010 @ 3:09 pm

  8. I didn’t even understand most of this stuff… Not helpful at all.

    Comment by zhaniswolf — June 30, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

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