Fall 2020 SpeakOut! is bold and beautiful

We are happy to introduce you to the Fall 2020 issue of SpeakOut!  — compiled under pandemic conditions by writers from the Larimer County Jail, Larimer County Work Release and Community Corrections, Alternative Homes for Youth and Turning Point for Youth.

Earnest teams of CSU student and community volunteers found the ways to make openings for these brave words and artwork to come out onto these pages, despite the many restrictions necessitated by response to COVID-19.

You will find some references to COVID inside, but also many words of reflection on life that goes on outside of the pandemic.

Let us know if you would like a copy. They are usually available on the free table in Eddy (third floor), but we may be able to mail you a copy. Get in touch  – and let us hear from you about your impressions at clc@colostate.edu. Thanks for reading!

(Digital copies available here through the SpeakOut! Journals tab on this site).

Interesting Writing Challenges

We hope everyone is still staying safe during these uncertain times. This week, try these interesting writing challenges we’ve collected. Let us know if you enjoyed them!

-April is National Poetry Month. We’re already a few weeks in, but try writing a poem every day for the rest of the month.

-Try writing in a different genre or form. If you normally write realistic things, try out fantasy or sci-fi. And for form, if you usually write poems, try a short story, or even a script for a play or movie.

-Write a character based on your favorite app or website.

-Go to this random image generator. Click through a couple time then write a story or poem based on the picture you land on.

-Revive and revise an abandoned piece.

Some Fun Writing Prompts

Since I’ve already done some prompts about the current pandemic and some self-care prompts, I’m not entirely sure of a theme to use for this week. So instead, I’ve just gathered a list of some fun prompts that will hopefully spark some inspiration.

-Write about a ghost. How do they feel about the world? What do they see and hear? How did they become a ghost?

-Your characters haven’t gotten any sleep. Write about why, and how they respond to being sleepless.

-What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

-Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

-Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively, you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.

-What if your mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

-Go to Wikipedia and click on Random Article. Write about whatever the page you get.

-Search online for color palettes and be inspired to write by one that catches your eye.

Self-Care Prompts

Last week, we had self-isolation prompts. We hope you’re all doing well still and staying safe. Hopefully still able to get some fresh air and find some silver-linings in all this uncertainty.

If you have been getting stressed during this time, hopefully these self-care prompts can help you relax a bit, even if it’s only while you’re writing.

A lot of these prompts seem more like things you would journal about, but try to get creative with it. Turn them into a poem, write a creative story, or incorporate some art into your writing.

-Make a list of things that make you smile.

-What are you passionate about?

-What do you plan on kicking-butt at in life?

-Describe yourself from a friend’s point of view.

-What is your new routine looking like in this uncertain time? If you don’t have one, maybe spend some time trying to create one.

-I am the best version of myself when I…

-Create a bucket list of things you’re excited to do once things go back to normal.

-Imagine yourself somewhere that makes you calm and happy. Where is that place? What does it look like? Sound like? Use the five senses to describe this place.

Self-Isolation Writing Prompts

The world has changed drastically over the past few weeks. We here at SpeakOut hope you are all staying safe, being smart, and washing your hands. If you have time during your self-isolation, then why not try out some of these writing prompts.

-Treat this time as if you’re on a space mission to Mars (or some other planet of your choosing). You can communicate with Earth, but you can’t leave your space ship since you’re in space. Write an entry about your mission to Mars. You can even do one entry a day and you’ll have a whole log for your Mission to Mars when this is over.

-Write an entry for a history textbook about what’s happening now. What would they say about this ten years from now? What do you want people to know about this time years from now?

-Write a poem where each line/sentence is about each day of last week, or this week.

Or, if you want some prompts to distract you from everything that’s happening, try these:

-Write a short story about what it might be like if you woke up one morning with a mermaid tail.

-If you could live inside any video game world, which would you choose and why?

-Write a story about a magic tree. Where would you find it? What kind of magic would it produce? What would you do once you found this tree?

-Some poems are more than just poems. They tell stories. Try writing a poem that is also a story, a play, or an essay.

Try Out These Spring Writing Prompts

I’m sure we’re all hoping warmer weather will start soon and that the snow will stop. So here are some spring prompts while we wait for things to thaw:

-Actor Robin Williams said, “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’” What do you think he meant? Write a short story or poem about what this means to you.

-A baby bunny has appeared in a basket on your doorstep. You soon discover it has one special, magical ability. Write a story about this bunny.

-It’s time for spring cleaning. What are three possessions that it is time to say good bye to? Write about each of these things, and say why it is time to sell them or give them away.

-Write a poem about spring using the words daffodilsrain bootspondshowers, and ducklings.

-The poet Anne Bradstreet once said, “If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant.” Do you agree with her? Does having different seasons make you appreciate each one when it arrives, or do you think it should be spring or summer all year long?

-Imagine you are a botanist (a scientist who studies plants) and you have just discovered a new species of plant. Write a fictional report for a science journal describing the plant you’ve discovered. Include a name, a physical description, and where it can be found. Describe any special properties the plant has. Can it be used for medical purposes? Can it be eaten? What makes it unique or unusual? Include a drawing of your plant.


Dictionary Writing Prompt

In an age when words and ideas are easily twisted and morphed, we turn to the dictionary as a source of new methods for communicating, inspiration, a reality check, and, sometimes, confirmation of what we know to be true.  Imagine what it was like to begin writing the first English dictionary as schoolmaster and former clergyman, Robert Cawdrey, did back in 1604.  We appreciate this writing prompt that uses any dictionary.  Give it a try and let us know what you come up with:

Open the dictionary to a random page and point to a place on the page with your eyes closed. Open your eyes and write that word down at the top of a piece of paper.

Now repeat this two more times so you have three words at the top of your paper. Set a timer for 15 minutes and free write, incorporating each of your three words into the piece.

Try not to judge or edit your writing—just keep the pen moving or keep your fingers flying on the keyboard. Write the entire time, even if you feel stuck or frustrated.

When the timer rings, see what has emerged. Can you spot a theme or an idea that you might not have written about otherwise?   Underline the portion you like best and try to translate it into a  story, a prose poem, or a poem.


Adapted from https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-use-the-dictionary-to-discover-new-writing-prompts-1277436