by Amanda Steele
The holidays are here and winter is upon us. If you live in a colder climate, you might be enjoying a winter wonderland, and if you live where it’s warm, you get to enjoy the holiday season under the sun. Winter can be a great time to reflect on the year before and spend some time curled up by a fire or your holiday decorations. For writers, this makes December the ideal time to actually re-focus on your craft and write a few new poems or stories. With school breaks and days off work, even though the season is hectic, it’s always fulfilling to find some time to let things be still around you and write something new.
We know that finding inspiration can be difficult at times, and sometimes starting a new work is just a matter of beginning. If you’re looking for some winter/holiday themed prompts to get your creative blood flowing, we’ve collected eleven ideas to get you started. Often, you’ll find that once you get started, the words are there. Feel free to try just one prompt or to go through them all. Once you’re done, share your poem or story with us if you want as we would love to read it!
1: Write a poem that uses three of these words: cranberry, santa, snow, candles, solstice, crackle, dreidel, and tresses.
2: Write a poem or story describing what it feels like to go from a cold, windy day outside to the warmth of the indoors.
3: Write about a favorite holiday or winter memory, but write it in third person as if you’re the main character.
4: Write a holiday or winter poem that uses a lot of imagery, but don’t use any typical words like snow, white, santa, christmas tree, frosty, etc.
5: Look outside your window and write a descriptive paragraph or poem describing your view. To switch things up, choose a favorite poet or author and try to write using their same style.
6: Write a few winter haikus. Remember it’s three lines. The first line has five syllables. The second line has seven, and the last line has five.
7: Write an acrostic poem using a favorite holiday or winter word such as yuletide or Hanukkah. An acrostic poem is when the first, last, or middle letters in the poem write out a word or phrase.
See the falling diamonds of water
Nestling into the snow-covered sidewalk
Over our heads the blackbirds circle and caw
Wildly, a cacophony of noise and dark above
8: To switch things up, write some journal entries about your life or about anything that is going on. You can be as formal or informal as you want. Sometimes it just helps to start writing and get used to being in the habit again.
9: Write about a bad holiday or winter memory you have and put it in poetic form. Try to use concrete images where you use all of the senses. See if you can include descriptions for sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound.
10: Write a short story that is no longer than 300 words where you introduce the idea of winter as a persona or character. What would the character wear, say, look like?
11: Once you’ve written a few of these prompts, try splicing two of them together into a new form and see what you can create.
Now, get to writing! We hope you have a cozy and fantastic holiday and winter season!
Amanda Steele is a queer poet and writer with a degree in Creative Writing and Gender Studies from Utah Valley University. She was born and raised in Idaho and currently lives in New York City. Amanda works as a freelance writer and blogger and has been published in peculiar, The Dandelion Review, and Sun and Sandstone, among others. She loves to mix her love of writing with her passion for activism and fandom. You can follow her on Twitter: @adamantaflame or on her blog here.