‘Tis the season of holiday parties, children’s winter concerts, filling our schedules to the brim, visiting with family, eating too much, and drinking more than we should. With all of that going on, it can be difficult to stick to our writing regimen. Some holiday writing prompts might be just the thing.
When we are tired, inspiration feels like a mirage. We feel as though it is just a little bit ahead of us, but with each step we take, it takes a step away. Writing during the holidays can be tough.
Sometimes, the thing we need to get our juices going is a writing challenge.
2 Holiday Writing Prompts
In order to help get our writing motors running, today I bring you two writing challenges. These holiday writing prompts are intended to push your creativity and get you writing even if you are still a little hung over from the spiked eggnog you had last night.
What I love most about writing challenges is the result. Three of my four novels and both the novellas I’ve published were all in some way inspired by writing challenges. Even if the exercise seems silly, if you take it seriously, you might be surprised by the result.
1. The Beginning and the End
Below I’ve provided twelve opening lines and ten closing lines that you can combine to form your writing prompt. Here's how to choose:
- Your opening line is your birthday month, e.g. April is 4, October is 10.
- Your closing line is your birthday day, divided by 3 and rounded up, e.g. 26 / 3 = 8.66 rounded to 9 (I know the math is tough, so feel free to use a calculator!).
Use the opening line that corresponds to the month of your birthday. To find your closing line, take the day of your birthday and divide it by three, then round to the nearest number.
- Never before had Andy seen such bright lights.
- The street was darker and quieter than Marge remembered.
- “I don’t care what he thinks,” Susa said as she climbed the stairs to her office party. “I can wear whatever I want to the party.”
- While Bennie didn’t dislike ducks, he wasn’t sure how he felt about this one.
- The snow crunched under Susan’s feet as she looked left and right down the unfamiliar street.
- Horace the Christmas Elf could feel it in the air. Today was the day that he would save Christmas.
- Amanda watched with bated breath as her mom opened the package, knowing that once the contents of the box were revealed, everything would be different.
- Anderson couldn’t wait to see the expression on Carol’s face when she saw what he’d brought to the party.
- As the front door opened, Tommy was astounded by what his son was wearing.
- James had heard the expression “deck the halls,” but he hadn’t know what it meant until now.
- As Tucker waited in line to see Santa, he whispered to himself, “Just sit on his lap, tell him what Jaime did, and then he will make everything okay.”
- Carol removed the Christmas goose from the over and thought to herself, “Is it supposed to be that color?”
- And that is how the Smiths' party was ruined for the tenth time in ten years.
- Laying his head down that night, he laughed at all the things he’d set in motion.
- Never before had the guests tasted such a feast.
- Everyone agreed that her present would be the one whispered about for years to come.
- While what happened to the tree was tragic, she thought that at least everyone left the party with a good story to tell.
- And that was the last time they ever had Holiday dinner at Grandma’s house.
- “Peace on earth, and goodwill toward men,” he said with a grin.
- And that is why the family cow took up permanent residence in the backyard.
- Everyone agreed that they would never again experience such an incredible party.
- “No,” he said as he slammed the door behind him.
2. Starting With a Title
If you have dice near you, roll three numbers. (If you don’t have dice, ask someone near you to give you a three digit number, or use an online dice roller.) Using the numbers, take a phrase from each group below, put them together, and use the new phrase as the title of your short story.
Group A: Your Setting
- The Night That
- The Morning After
- The Party at Which
- The Holiday When
- The Day Before
- The Snowstorm When
Group B: Your Heroes
- The Duck
- Billy and Bonnie
- Horace the Elf
- The Holiday Hog
- The Man and His Umbrella
- The Mashed Potatoes
Group C: Your Sticky Situation
- Saved the Office
- Spiked the Punch
- Ate the Goose
- Ruined Christmas
- Pilfered the Presents
- Found True Love
The Magic of Holiday Writing Prompts
Sometimes all we need to write a great story is a starting point. I hope these challenges help you overcome any holiday slump you might be experiencing.
How do you find the creative energy to write during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.
For the next fifteen minutes, take on one of these holiday writing challenges. Use your birthday to find your first and last line, or roll some dice to create your title. For an extra challenge, use both prompts for the same story!
Once you’ve written your story, post it in the practice box below, so we can all enjoy it. And don't forget to leave feedback for your fellow holiday writers!