short writing

these are a few simple examples of short writing topics. if you need more, i have an entire book of them or you can just pick up any newspaper (digitally, of course, rather than with your hands as they are rather arcane) and open to a random page. read the first line of any article then write the rest of the story without reading it. it doesn’t matter if it’s true. just write whatever comes to mind.

  • i can taste with my fingertips. i have just taken up fingerpainting. i am going to paint an apple. i’m slow, though. so it is going to take me an hour. one page from the beginning to the end of the apple, please.
  • it is snowing and i can’t see well. i have a scarf over my face so i don’t catch cold. i walk full-speed into a lightpost and it knocks me unconscious. write half a page between making contact with the post and falling on the ground.
  • i reach out to turn off the lightswitch and, by the time my hand gets there, i have forgotten what i have raised my hand to do. write half a page of what is going on in the mind between raising the hand and touching the switch.
  • you are an orange hanging on a tree. you fall. write half a page between leaving the branch and hitting the ground.
  • you are an old man sitting in a boat. you lift your oar and water drops into the pond, making ripples. write half a page while the ripples disappear.
  • you hear the telephone ring. the number shows up as 9-1-1 on the display. one page of your thoughts between reading the number and answering the phone.
  • you are a puppy. you have never seen a lake before. you smell the water. half a page between the first scent and identification of the lake.
  • you lick an ice cream cone and the ice cream falls off the cone onto the ground. half a page between tongue-to-ice-cream contact and ice-cream-to-ground, please.
  • you are writing in your diary. one page of your thoughts between the pen touching the page and the end of the first word.
  • you are having your picture taken. the camera flashes. one page between the time that you blink and the time that you open your eyes.
  • half a page between the first and second beeps of the alarm clock in the morning.
  • you stubbed your toe on a rock while you walk down the street in downtown. half a page between contact with the rock and putting your foot back down.
  • you know that you are going to sneeze but it doesn’t want to happen. one page of your state of mind between realization and release.
  • you wake up in the morning and cannot see. one page from the time you open your eyes to the time you realize that you are wearing a sleep mask that you didn’t put on.
  • you go to the door and see that someone has left a box for you. you pick it up. it ticks. one page between the first tick and your response.
  • the power goes out. one page between darkness and lighting the first candle.
  • you take a sip of your coffee. half a page between the time that you make contact with the mug and the time when you realize that you poured salt instead of sugar into the cup. another half a page in the time between the salt realization and when you realize that you don’t have any salt and it must be someone else salting your coffee.
  • you just wrote an email to your parents telling them why you are not in school but actually in south africa volunteering with a home-building project. one page of your thoughts between the last word being typed and the send button being clicked.
  • you are going down a waterslide. half a page between the top and the bottom. another half page after you leave the slide but before you hit the water.
  • you wake up in the desert lying under a cactus that has begun to flower. one page while you contemplate how to get out of this situation.
  • you look up and see what you think is a ufo. there are bright lights. it’s coming toward you. you blink to clear your head. half a page between closing your eyes and opening them. another half page between opening them and focusing on the bright lights.
  • you lick an envelope and it cuts your tongue. half a page on the sensation of the paper touching your tongue up to the cut. another half page between the cutting and the envelope returning to the desk.
  • you are six. you have just been handed a gift by your mother. one page from the time that you touch the package to the time that all of the wrapping paper is on the floor.
  • you step onto a bus. you sit down. it is the wrong bus. one page from the time that you realize that it is the wrong bus until you convince the driver to let you out.
  • you are nine. you are making cookies with your grandmother. she hands you a rolling pin and tells you carefully to flatten the gingerbread dough. one page of your thoughts between touching the rolling pin and making contact with the dough.
  • you are three. you have just been handed a stuffed bear. one page of your thoughts between seeing the bear and touching it.
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thank you for reading. your eyes have done me a great honor today.