We at Literary Mama are so excited to kickoff our first ever #MamaAndWriting Week!
With daily prompts, virtual write-in parties, and even a wrap party with Literary Mama staff, this is a great way to treat yourself for Mother’s Day. What’s better than spending time each day doing something you love?
Each day our social media accounts will feature a new prompt from one of the Literary Mama departments or you can read the full list of prompts below. Zoom links and complete details for our Virtual Write-Ins and Wrap Party can be found on our Facebook Page.
Whether you focus on a current project or use the prompts to start something new, we can’t wait to see what you come up with. Share your journey on social with the hashtag #MamaAndWriting to join the conversation. Literary Mama staff will select favorite contributions to share on the blog at the end of the week.
#MamaAndWriting is a celebration of mother writers everywhere!
Sunday, May 8: Social media/flash
Let’s take advantage of the power in brevity. First, pick a significant moment–from your life, your child’s life, your character’s life. Consider moments like melons in the supermarket and try to pick the ripest and juciest, one that could burst it is so full.
Then, take that overflowing moment and stuff it into the smallest of spaces. Two sentences or two hundred and forty characters or six words. Pick the smallest container you can and distill that moment’s power into it.
Monday, May 9: Fiction
Events, like words, carry connotations that tap into our identity and relationships with others. When the momentous event or occasion is derailed in some way, it can illuminate not only what the event really represents for us, but the way in which our expectations for the event, expose our deepest fears and vulnerabilities. The short stories, “Happy Birthday,” by Toni Cade Bambera and “Mother’s Day,” by George Saunders, and the poem, “Thanksgiving 2006,” by Ocean Vuong, deal in occasions rife with symbolism. In these pieces, unmet desires and bitter truths, laughable or heartbreaking, provide unusual and profound revelations. With this in mind, write an unexpected scene, short story or poem that uses a significant event or occasion as a lens. Write down three things a character believes and three things this character fears, or expects, will happen on a certain occasion. Have one or all things unexpectedly collide in a way that ultimately denotes a new signification for the day or subverts expectations in a way that is truly character revealing.
Tuesday, May 10: Profiles
Let’s hone some positive energy. Imagine you have just launched the debut novel you’ve been working on for years. It has been met with worldwide acclaim. First, craft three interview questions you hope your eager profilers at the NYT will ask you about the work. Then, keeping your WIP in mind, write the brilliant answers you would give your interviewer.
Wednesday, May 11: Creative Nonfiction
As writers, we often deal with the intangible: love, loss, fear, attachment, memory. We are experts in musing. But what if we slowed down, grounded ourselves a little, and took stock of the physical aspects of our daily lives?
What if you told your story of motherhood through objects?
First, think of everything that you touch in a day, starting in the morning and moving through each moment of a typical workday, or weekend, or even a holiday. What’s first? The computer, the phone, a book, a comb, a pen, a lunchbox, a water bottle, your child’s hand? What else? Start with a list. Or maybe you think about the objects that are important to your children. Or objects that were important to your own mother. Or even to yourself as a child?
Then, reflect: what are the most important objects, the ones you couldn’t do your day without? What aspects of this tangible world hold you together? Which objects are for beauty? Which objects are for function? Which objects are for play?
Then, dive in. You might unpack where you got the object, how long you have had it, what emotions it brings you—frustration, anxiety, appreciation? You might think about how many times you’ve used it, or if it’s an object you share with other members of your family. See where the thing can take you. Work your way into the intangible.
Thursday, May 12: Literary Reflection
Is your writing centered on your experience as a mother and the lives of your children? Or does it explore other topics related to your life and identity? What do you feel your choice or tendency about this says about your purpose for writing?
Friday, May 13: Reviews
Being a mother often means being physically present for your children – for example, wiping away tears and runny noses, helping them learn healthy habits, and playing with them. Even during the quiet moments, when children are napping or tucked away in their beds for the night, our mama brains keep thinking about our children: How can we teach them to be good humans? Which extracurricular activities might they enjoy? Are their friends being nice to them? Yet, it’s important to remind ourselves that mothers need such concern and nourishment, too. It is important to carve out time, however short it might have to be, to do something for ourselves that recharges us and keeps us whole. Describe something that brings you joy, strength or a few laughs amidst the chaos and messiness that often comes with motherhood.
Saturday, May 14: Poetry
Write a poem, any style and format, as an epistle. This is ostensibly a poem-as-letter (although it could be a prose poem, too). Address someone to whom you have long wanted to write, not so much asking how they are, but sharing a memory of long ago (thus, anchor the poem in rich detail and sensory images). The prompt is apt for Mother’s Day in that many poems could be addressed to a mother, or to someone akin to a mother.