Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

Illustration by Ana Hinojosa.

It happens to everyone who loves to write: Sometimes the words just don’t seem to flow. Whether or not you believe in the concept of writer’s block, there are certainly days when the brain just doesn’t want to cooperate, and writing seems impossible. Prompts are a great way to get the brain moving again, but more important, is the ability to give yourself a break and recognize that not everything you create is going to be perfect. At times, artists can get too caught up with perfection and the joy of creation gets lost under self-applied pressure to not just create, but to create something IMPORTANT and GREAT. In other words: Sometimes we forget to have fun.

What we’d like you to do this week is to go back in time and think about the art you created when you were very young. Think of the drawings, the fingerpaintings, the little stories and jokes you made up, the nonsense songs you’d sing. There was no pressure to get a good grade, or “make it,” or compile a portfolio for school/work purposes. You were just making things because it was a joy to make them! Go back to that little person you used to be, and let them take over for a little while. Let your mind wander. Scribble. Make no sense. Have FUN.

How? There are a few ways! Pick up a paintbrush (or use your fingers!) and just be free. Write a silly poem that makes you laugh the way it would have made you laugh when you were very young. Come up with an entire soap opera based on the lives of your old stuffed animals or dolls. Write a diary entry from the perspective of your eight-year-old self detailing your dream life and all of the things you wish for. Give yourself permission to create just for creation’s sake. You may be surprised at what you come up with! And remember: HAVE FUN! Taking a little mental break may be just the thing you need to overcome the block that’s holding you back.

Send your entry, along with your first name, last initial, age, and city/state/country to [email protected] with the subject line “Creative Prompt” by Monday, February 15, at 6 PM EST. We look forward to seeing your childhood instincts—set free!

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