Writing prompt #5 – Smelly Socks
One of the units I am particularly enjoying doing for my Master of Arts in Creative writing course is called Writing for Children. This is my main area of interest in doing the course. Our lecturer is a local writer who has many published books to her credit, including some award winners.
As a warm-up exercise in a recent workshop, Rosanne asked us to write down the title “Smelly Socks” and then asked us to write for five minutes about anything to do with smelly socks. Several students were asked to read out the results from this activity. Several were quite brilliant.
As far as I was concerned, the words “smelly socks” have a special rhythm to them which immediately suggested a poem for children. Here is the result of five minutes of writing. It’s not great poetry, but I sure had fun writing it – and then reading it to the class.
I hate smelly socks.
Smelly, smelly old socks.
They’re worse than a fox
That lives down near the docks,
Smelly, smelly, smelly, socks.
I hate smelly shoes.
Smelly, smelly old shoes.
They’re worse than dog poos
And some terrible stews.
Smelly, smelly, smelly shoes.
I hate smelly cats.
Smelly, smelly old cats.
They’re worse than my hats
And rotting old mats.
Smelly, smelly, smelly cats.
(c) 2008 Trevor W. Hampel
As I said – it’s not great poetry, but I sure had fun.
Look around the house. Find a common object. Write about it for five minutes.
This is just a warm-up exercise to get you going on your major writing project for the day. Don’t be too fussy about the end product. Try not to edit or correct as you go – just get the words down. Write solidly for five minutes and then put it aside and get on with the main writing task for the day.
Don’t throw it away – come back to it in a few days and see if there is anything you can do with it. Does it lend itself to a non-fiction article, a poem, an essay or a short story?
Above all – have fun.