Writing Prompt – March 6, 2011

QuoteSnack offers fresh quotes daily, attributed and linked to a confirmed, published source. In addition, I’ll sometimes post a writing prompt with simple instructions. The next post will be a quote that has something to do with the prompt, so you can take a peek at differences or similarities in how someone else relates to using the same words.

There is no wrong approach. Don’t worry if something seems to be a lot more emotionally charged than it is on the surface, or if some prompts are duds for you. This is a mind-opening exercise; anything is possible.

The Prompt


  1. Be ready to write, word processor open, or pad and pencil in hand. Set a timer for five minutes.
  2. Clear your mind.
  3. Click “Reveal Writing Prompt” below, and look at the prompt for the space of one deep, quiet breath.
  4. As you start the second breath, clear your mind of expectations.
  5. Write, full on, whatever comes to you, for five minutes. Do not stop to correct anything – just go.
  6. When the time is up, you have to stop.
  7. Get up and wiggle. Move. Laugh. Growl. Pat self on back.

You’re welcome to leave comments about the experience and anything that comes of it, including links or even your entire prompt-generated exercise. However, please don’t look at any comments until after finishing your own writing. What you’re doing right now is a personal thing.

[spoiler show=”Reveal Writing Prompt” hide=”Hide Writing Prompt”]

I shall paint a picture exactly as I like.


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5 Responses to “Writing Prompt – March 6, 2011”

  1. renee Says:

    thanks for these. love them. 5 minutes is a definite challenge.

    I shall paint a picture exactly as i like. I will not let others tell me whaat to draw, how to draw it, or what is wrong with it. I will use natural elements instead of paints: blood, pee, crushed flowers, mud, and many other organic discoveries. I will not let others on the outside interfere with my urge to paint, or try to tell me that my painting isn’t sane, or “right” – if it is from the devil, according to them, then surely it is.

    I spend more than most of my life painting what everyone else wants. Most often with the sincerest intentions. I want others to be proud of me, impressed, I want to be an artist that people can point to as a success over mental illness, or adversity, or the fucked up way we all are inside. I don’t like the paintings they want me to make. They don’t sit right with my soul, my center, my me.

  2. E. A. Able Says:

    That’s right, I said.
    Sat up real straight, looked her in the eye.
    Sat up, high on the hog, opened up my smart mouth and told them everything.
    Told about Mr. Lilly sneaking out the back, not seeing me ’cause he was running too hard.
    Told about Junebug Morton an her missing earring. Wouldn’t have put two and two together if it wasn’t for that earring.
    Told about the breathless way Mr. Lilly said hello, as if he was just getting there for the first time, and that June Morton going a little pale when she caught a look at her smeary lipstick in the hall tree mirror.

    And what’s all that supposed to mean? And why is it any business of ours? Don’t go hanging out dirty laundry, dearie. Don’t go painting dirty pictures when you should be minding your own business, she said.

    I didn’t know it was dirty until right then. I just thought it was funny how they were pretending it was secret.

    Just over six minutes – LOL!

  3. Juanita Says:

    The trees were filled with dappled sunlight as I drove my car towards the church. Too early. Too strange. It didn’t feel right, but it felt necessary. Like there was something to learn, maybe. But the runners chatting and laughing seemed more religious. I wanted to run too. To grab my well-worn shoes and smell the pre-winter air…all fresh and crisp, before the dust sets in.

    I sat and listened, cornered by the cresting gall in my throat which said that I didn’t like what I was feeling…hearing. What was I doing here? This isn’t me anymore! They got up for communion, I got up and left.
    “Faith, not works,” the voice in me said.

    I got home and he was waiting for me.
    “How did it go?”
    “I’m not sure. Strange. I wanted to come home and run. To wake you up and share those moments with you. Why would that have felt more spiritual?”
    “Because,” he said, “you don’t need the building. Your body is the temple.”

    The penny dropped.

    From now on, I shall paint a picture exactly as I like.

  4. starla Says:

    I joined an art class hoping to gain a little more skill. I had been painting since I was a small child. I was instantly attracted to creating and the feeling of playfulness when I blended colors. I enjoyed my own style. One day my teacher came to me with full on critisism of my painting. He kept saying ” No, no, no, this is all wrong! The way you have coupled these elements and colors is all wrong!” I was trying to hold back my anger behind tightly pulled lips, but I couldn’t stand it any longer. I stood back, staring at my painting with wild devotion in my eyes and said ” I shall paint a picture exactly as I like!” With that he pivoted on his heels and walked away. That was the last time he told me I was wrong. After that he was much more suggestive than critical.

  5. April Says:

    I shall paint a picture exactly as I like.

    You see, I am always painting the pictures that others like or want. They want a sunrise, I paint a sunrise. They want flowers, I paint flowers. And everyone likes that, but it’s not what I want. I may not want flowers. I may not want the horse under the tree. Maybe I want the horse on the edge, looking into the picture. Or out of it.

    There is a great passage in My Name is Asher Lev in which Asher’s teacher talks to him about painting what the public wants or what is expected of you. that is how you become a whore, he says, and Asher is ashamed.

    I don’t think that is how you become a whore, but that is how you lose yourself. You lose your voice and you lose your vision. Your paint dries up. Or you run out of certain colors and never replace them because you only use them when you paint the picture exactly as you like—no one else likes that color.

    Maybe I want only primary colors. Maybe I want the brightest colors possible. Maybe I want to paint the picture of the horse after all, but this time the horse is in Guatemala and playing a Guatemalan marimba. Maybe there is a mermaid with the horse, one who has split her tail and is sitting astride the horse, urging it into the breakers.

    It is so hard to find your voice—your vision—your artist’s eye to begin with. How precious it has to be; how much you have to cherish and nurture it. So you can’t just turn it over, willy-nilly, to the others who want you to use it like they “like” it. You have to nurture it and grow it and use it for you.