Your writing space is a sanctuary, but you can only stare at the same four walls so long before they stop leaking ideas. If your muse is sneezing from all the dust, head outside and try these 10 muse-teasing writing prompts.
One: Trash Hunt
Visit a park and look for scattered trash. Who left it, and what brought them to this corner of the world?
Two: We Spy
Go to a public location where a lot of people stroll, sit, and enjoy the weather. Find three who look – for whatever reason – slightly suspicious. Maybe they haven’t turned a page in their book for five minutes. Maybe their phone is to their ear but they haven’t said anything. Maybe they just look like they’re enjoying their salad a little too much. Why are they all here? Are they undercover, watching someone else? Maybe they all know a secret, and it’s your job to sus it out.
Three: Lifechanging Lunch
Take a meal out to a public square, picnic spot, or downtown greenspace. Look at all the folks enjoying their food and take notes of interesting individuals who may or may not be savoring their grub. One of these people is about to have their life changed by this meal. Who, how, and why?
Four: What Haunts the Water?
Visit a local river, pond, or creek. Spend an hour or so listening to the water, admiring the animals who come to drink, and studying the scummy trash that floats by. Imagine something just under the surface, lying in the muck or floating just under the reflection of the clouds. What makes this place unique, and what individual monster, fey, or ghost would haunt it?
Five: Sky Burial
Watch the birds, especially the slow, dirty, grey ones. We’re talking pigeons. Watch the pigeons. You may not know they are opportunistic omnivores. Pay attention to areas they linger, and take note of mobs. What may the pigeons consume? Would it be a good thing or a bad thing for whatever they ate to disappear?
Six: Night at the Park
Head out to your favorite park. It could be a nature preserve, a public greenspace, or an amusement park. Look at all the wonderful things you enjoy in daylight. Then use your imagination to turn off the lights and erase the crowds. It’s desolate and lonely and a bit disturbing. Who meets under the yellow streetlight long after sunset?
Seven: In the Shadows
Go to any outdoor place and look for the darkest, creepiest-looking spot. It could be a corner of a pavilion, a thicket in the park, or the broad cement pipes leading under a dam. Imagine you’re a villain, or imagine you’re a hero. Why would either choose to linger in such a place?
Eight: Chasing Your Own Tail
Ever been to a dog park? Take a notebook, settle in, and watch the drama unfold between both animals and humans. Imagine the dogs are human characters, and let their antics inspire the next twist in your story. Someone jealous? Someone too assertive?
Nine: Take a Walk
If it’s safe, take a walk around your neighborhood at night. If night isn’t best, take a stroll during a time of day you rarely do. That may be very early morning, early afternoon, or in the middle of the day. Note the differences. If you were in an alternate reality, how long would it take to notice? What differences would you actually notice?
Ten: Cloud Gazing
Stretch out on your balcony, porch, or over a blanket in the park. Look up at the sky and consider the clouds. Maybe they’re funny shapes. Maybe they’re one, grey mass. What’s hiding up there? How would you know? What’s the best or worst thing you can imagine falling or flying past?
Tried any of these muse teasers? Which worked for you? Have more outdoor muse-fuel suggestions? Share them below!