January prompts (for February meeting)

January is the month of reflection and beginnings, when the previous year is remembered and the new one is anticipated. Many of the following writing prompts reflect the backward-forward nature of January.

Two-faces of January

  • Dichotomy — Two-faced Roman god, Janus, is associated with beginnings and endings, doorways and gates, dawn and dusk, sun and moon, primitiveness and civilization, country and city, war and peace, growing up, landmarks, twin directions, and two faces — one (usually bearded) looking back and one (unbearded once, but bearded now) looking forward. He usually holds a key in his right hand. Write a prose or poem response to the dichotomy of January.
  • Two Worlds — Write a story in which two worlds — rich vs poor, everyday vs adventurous, rural vs urban, familiar vs unfamiliar, ordinary vs extraordinary, real vs fantastic — come together in exciting and perhaps uncomfortable ways.
  • Swapped Lives — Pick someone you would like to meet. Imagine that you have swapped lives and personalities with that person. What would it be like to live in his or her world? What would he or she think of and do in yours?
  • Out of the Pages — Every story, poem or essay has its own personality, its own voice; its tone and the way it is told influence its message. What kind of person is your work? Try this prompt.


  • One New Year’s Resolution — Resolutions never work if you only look at the end product. They require stepwise progression and hard practice. Make one New Year’s resolution. How will you establish a routine to keep it?
  • Fortunes — This month we will use the prompts from our Fortune Cookie bag.


  • New-fangled Balloons — Recently, many people have signed up to go to Mars, a trip of unknown implications. Would you take a hot-air balloon ride? Would you do it if balloons were newly invented and you were one of the first people to go up?
  • Old Rock Day — January 7th is Old Rock Day. List all the possible uses of a rock and tell a story (prose or poem) centered on a rock.
  • Frost — In addition to frost being cold, it is often beautiful. Write a story in which your favourite form of frost is featured.
  • If Human Beings Hibernated — If human beings hibernated, how would Tofield be different than it is? Let your imagination run.

From Observances to Prompts

  • In January, book promotion; reading; types of writing, language and communication; types of stories and poetry; copyright; and several writers’ birthdays are recognized. Find an observance that intrigues you and respond to it. Then write about the experience.
  • Birthdays — John Hancock (1737), Peter Roget (1779), Jacob Grimm (1785), Louise Braille (1809), Edgar Allan Poe (1809), Sherlock Holmes (1854), Alan Alexander Milne (1882), John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892) and Isaac Asimov (1920) were born in January — well, Holmes was fictional, but even fictional characters must be born (in this case, Holmes is Arthur Conan Doyle’s senior by five years). Who is your favourite prose or poetry, fiction or nonfiction writer? Write a story or poem in which you meet your favourite writer on your birthday, or his or hers.
  • Work to CreateMake Your Dream Come True Day and Inspire Your Heart with Art Day encourage us to follow our passions, dreams and goals by working consistently and persistently. This is challenge rather than a prompt.