Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity

Alphabetical indentations on a dictionary

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been away and am playing catch-up so please excuse this late post–a re-post from over a year ago when I first began offering these prompts.

One of my favorite exercises to help myself emerge from a creative slump is to take a dictionary and open it to random pages. Allow yourself to choose a word that appeals to you, then repeat the process about ten times or oftener if you like. You will be surprised how a theme emerges that allows you to construct a poem or short piece of prose with some degree of cohesiveness. Here is an example of a poem I wrote some time ago.


Was it only because the
shadows of crows’ wings
broke across winter fields?

Or because a fractured
glacier succumbed to
oblivion and thus
disappointed beauty?

In the silence of a
hermit’s breath
you can unravel
the sound of grace.

Did the journey
to the center of the
forest tear a
hole in the earth?

Or the void collapse
beneath the burden
of a ponderous
chord? Did dissonance

dissolve the barrier
between ocean and
tide pool until a
wave paused to reflect?

Do you think the light
will come back again
when clay pot shards
become whole?

Did you hear terra-

To me, this is different from working with a wordle. This technique speaks to the role of the unconscious in the creative process because you have chosen the words yourself. Mind you, the poetry is perhaps more obscure than what I usually produce. But it’s fun–try it and, if you will, post it in comments. Please feel free to adapt this exercise to prose if you prefer.

25 thoughts on “Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity

  1. zongrik says:

    OK. I wrote this:

    I used a random word generator, You’ll have to go to my link, if you want to know about the random word generator. 😉


  2. dani says:

    great prompt, Victoria! it took a while, but i finally found something where the words fit ~ in fact, some of them seemed made for this poem. hope you’re having a great weekend. ♥


  3. […] Monday Morning Writing Prompt   at   liv2write2day’s Blog prompt:   pick ten random words  {thank you, Victoria!} temptation, forces of  chaos, worship, say, question, before, forgotten, fear […]


  4. Bodhirose says:

    I finally got around to the Monday Morning prompt! I like this idea of randomly choosing words too–and that the unconscious is at work here which can make for some very interesting writing. I remember using this prompt before when you first brought it to my attention. It really does help jump start creativity–thanks, Victoria.

    I really enjoyed your “Harmonics”, Victoria and the shivering terra-not-so-firma!


  5. […] Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity: […]


  6. Victoira, as always, your poems are superb. As a novice reading them, I am always in awe
    of what you do with words.

    I must admit that this weeks challenge was a little difficult for me. My mind is a little foggy – hint – hint. ~~~ : – ) But, I did want to write something. I am not sure if this fits the challenge. Please critique … I am always interested in improving my writing.

    Come sail along with me on my little sailboat …. !!!

    Hugs and Toodles, Izzy


  7. mish says:

    Welcome back Victoria !
    Ah , I love the title “Harmonics” … reminds me of musical harmonies …
    And I loved your use of the phrase “terra-not-so-firma” … suggests earthly discord which is a scary image of a not-so-solid foundation …


  8. Thanks for the inspiration you offered me with this post Victoria, here’s a little thank you post


  9. […] it seemed really difficult to choose only one post. And then Victoria from liv2write2day had a Monday Morning Writing Prompt–Random Creativity where we had to open the dictionary to random pages and choose words about ten times or oftener and […]


  10. I adore your poem. I won’t pick it apart because every verse resonated in a happy chamber of my being. I am very late to the game but I’d like to offer my poem on apophenia and synasthesia in artists/writers which dovetails with your exercise well. Also, thank you for reading and commenting on Jamie’s interview!

    Endophytic Incursions

    Synchronicity ensconced reveals nugatory variables
    apophenia of writer invariant: subversive hallucinatory crippled vessels
    their mesostic corrugated tentacles of substantive poetic egests
    may mask irreplaceable profundities

    pinned in unpersecuted opposition they create borderline synaesthesia
    artists as warped furled fecund hosts
    suffering endophytic incursions
    jostled oubliettes of bulbous traipsing ladders connecting

    twining implosions arch upon the oeuvre and ignite nesting charges
    of gravitas and blather a mulled kinship born perniciously or merely neurologically
    they may illuminate or obscure, form a gestalt or dissociate
    matters of quiddity hoisted upon ontological backtracking
    accelerating dilatory insights

    atomic breakdowns, each quark mensurated
    in reductionist polychromatic gatherings
    stultify creative impulses
    dense joyous words weighted with luscious delectable gustation
    or visual fields dripping with chords of music
    xenologic etiquette of intertwining nebulae, lilting effluvia


    • Wow, Anna. I love the “feel” of this on my tongue. I’m going to have to get out my dictionary and not just for random picks. I love discovering and using new words. A few of the words you chose that I would love to try: ensconced, traipsing, nebulae and anything dripping with chords of music! Thanks for sharing this.


  11. I will try your technique and post results later on my blog, Liv – both I and my daughter had the quirky habit of keeping both a dictionary and a thesaurus in the bathroom and read them instead of magazines! Loved your results, wish you had the “anti-Wordle” words listed. Loved “the void collapse beneath the burden of a ponderous chord.” Speaks to the musician in me! Amy


  12. siggiofmaine says:

    The words I chanced upon are grotesque, guillible, panache, convoluted, hircine, flivver, reflection, logorrhea, bivouac…. this is my first time trying a “wordle” of any kind…I’m assuming it doesn’t make any difference if it makes sense or not? ☺.

    Curiosity Got the Best of Me

    Being on vacation in an old west town,
    left on my own by my companions
    since it was “free time” on the trip.
    I wandered into an interesting looking business…
    “Old Tyme Saloon” the sign said on the
    swinging doors.
    Curiosity got the best of me …
    it turned out to be a dive.
    The mirror behind the counter
    showed the reflection of a grotesque, arrogant man,
    playing cards at a table of five.
    I was fascinated by the group,
    a hircine fellow of undetermined age,
    Another with panache, appearing out of place
    telling a convoluted story to distract the others
    in the game of chance
    He was sitting next a fellow with logorrhea
    who was confusing the whole situation
    calling for “one more round, barkeep,
    on me”.
    A gullible appearing young man
    had the most chips….that made me curious
    and want to stay and watch.
    Time flew by and it was soon time,
    to jump into the flivver I’d rented
    and head back to the bivouac
    on a safer side of town.


  13. I love it. For me, you’ve created 3 separate images that speak to life mysteries: sadness, imagination and desire. Love that mermaid sneaking through sand and fire. :0) And the words “taste” good.


  14. souldipper says:

    My favourite verse from you poem is:
    In the silence of a
    hermit’s breath
    you can unravel
    the sound of grace.

    Talk about being “in” it! Phew.


  15. jgavinallan says:

    From the observer…
    I love being the audience on the prompts.
    I lose myself in the words and get into the meaning…or what I believe is the meaning…
    terra firma is shivering…great line.


  16. The words I picked from the dictionary – fog, toxic, sneak, glory, fire, sand, look, pretend, desire, squeeze, secret, . I changed only one, I got communism 🙂 somehow didn’t seem to fit at all with the rest of the words ..

    So her is my short submission

    Look at the fog and squeeze out
    the drops of toxic sadness.

    Pretend you’re a mermaid,
    sneaking through sand and fire.

    Desire the unknown, embrace
    every secret, it will give you glory.

    Don’t know if it makes sense, but this is what came out 🙂


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