All Hallows'

It’s said that the veil between the living and the dead is thin at Halloween. Tell a story that revolves around the thin veil. Try to make it descriptive and suspenseful, ghostly but not gory. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, art by jwu1]


Start a story or poem with a character finding a note that totally surprises them. What does the note say? Keep the story going when the note is read and put down. [Photo Credit: Emma Parizo]


Imagine you are floating on a boat in the ocean, riding the waves. Is there land in sight? What do you hear? What do you smell and see? [​Photo by Michael Olsen on Unsplash]


Do you believe in making New Year’s Resolutions? Why or why not? If you do, then what resolution(s) are you making this year? [​Photo by Roven Images on Unsplash]


Has your first impression of someone or something ever been totally wrong? Tell a story about a first impression that was wrong OR how someone had the wrong impression of you. How did it turn out? Real or fictional. [​Photo by Long Phan on Unsplash]


Go stargazing and write, draw, or photograph what you see. [​Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash]


What simple things bring you joy? Here's a poem by Billy Collins to get you started.

Ode to Joy

Friedrich Schiller called Joy the spark of divinity
but she visits me on a regular basis,
and it doesn’t take much for her to appear—
the salt next to the pepper by the stove,
the garbage man ascending his station
on the back of the moving garbage truck,
or I’m just eating a banana
in the car and listening to Buddy Guy.

In other...


[Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Media Library]
Sprouting from Frostbite's poem, A Child Forever, imagine a world where no one ever lost their child-like wonder, curiosity, and joy. Describe that world or a day in the life of a character in that world.


We all have scars, both physical and figurative. Tell the story behind a scar, either your own or your character’s. Include the aftermath if you like. Were there lessons learned, an epiphany, a transformation? [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, art by Eloise Silver Van Meter]

Character 1: Brainstorm

Whether you're writing a script for a play, short story or a novel, it is important to have well-developed characters and an intriguing plot. Let's start brainstorming around characters.
  • Think of your favorite books and movies. Why do you like your favorite character? Why does the storyline really grip you? The answers to these questions should help you create your own story.
  • Create a list of responses to these prompts: I am fascinated by people who…OR If you already have...


What is an object near you? Describe it without ever naming it. [​Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 14

“The sun was cold, shining through the winter air and onto the glistening snow …” [​Photo by Kent Pilcher on Unsplash]


Describe or visually represent a favorite memory from childhood. [​Photo by Kirk Cameron on Unsplash]


Every 10 years, you have the opportunity to go back in time and have a conversation with your past self. This conversation can change the future. Write about it. [Illustration by Dancer, YWP]


Write a love story between a character and an abstract idea – falling in love with the stars, for example, or the idea of love, or loving a story so much you start to think it's real. [Photo by Mindaugas Vitkus on Unsplash]


Paint, photograph, or describe in words, the color blue. [Art credit: cedar, YWP]

Understanding Character-Monologue

Choose one of the prompts below and write as though your character is talking to him/herself or writing in a journal or diary. Take a moment to get into the mindset of the character. Set a timer and write for seven minutes.
Prompts: No one really knows me...
I'm the one who...
I'm only really myself when...

Return to Workshop-Understanding Character for the next challenge!


Look at the sky right now. What do you see? What is the weather like? If it’s clear, can you see any incoming storm clouds? [​Photo by x on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 13

Write about someone who has the ability to read minds. [​Photo by Milad Fakurian on Unsplash]


If you could be an animal, which one would you choose? How would you spend your days? How would life be different, and how would it stay the same? [​Photo by Zdeněk Macháček on Unsplash]

Climate-10 Photos

Ten striking photos in a Washington Post project show the devastating impact of climate crises on the natural world.See the photos in "The Urgency of Awe," Washington Post, Nov. 6, 2021 [Photo by Edwin Giesbers, Washington Post]


Write a story or poem from the perspective of a household appliance that has a big decision to make – toaster, coffee-maker, can-opener – you get the idea. Does the appliance sort it out alone or seek the help of the other kitchen mates? [Photo by Daniel Salgado, Unsplash]


Someone wants to tell you something “because you’re the only one who will understand.” Tell us the story. Are you simply known as a great listener? Do they seek your advice in solving a delicate problem? Include the outcome of the interaction by the story’s end. [Photo credit: Emiliano Vittoriosi, Unsplash]


[Washington, DC, June 6, 2020. Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images]
Liberty and justice for all. These words in the Pledge of Allegiance hold the promise of hope and change. How can the promise become reality?


Write about ghosts who hang out in their graveyard together. Do they like each other? What time periods are they from? What do they do for fun? [​Photo by Einar Storsul on Unsplash]

First Initial

Use your first initial to write a poem full of alliteration. How many words can you think of that begin with the same letter, and make at least some sort of sense together? [​Photo by Amador Loureiro on Unsplash]


Write something that includes the following phrase or your version of this idea: “Holding onto my hat as firmly as I could with one free hand, I stepped over the boundary and seemingly glided into the open air.” (It can be placed anywhere in the piece). [​Photo by Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash]


Post your favorite photos that shout "SUMMER!!" [Photos by LadyMidnight, YWP]


Begin or end a story with this thought: “She had never seen anything so magnificent in her life.” [Photo by Johannes Plenio, Unsplash]


[Photo credit: Marco Mons, Unsplash]
Write a persuasive argument about the existence of extraterrestrials and/or their past visitations to Earth. Be as descriptive and specific as possible. What do they look like? Where have they visited? How do you know this?


[Photo: James Day, Unsplash]
Some people thrive in the summer sun, while others positively melt! Write a poem or story that takes place on a bright, cloudless day of scorching temperatures, and be sure to touch on how you or your narrator respond to the heat.


Your parents have just given you carte blanche to paint a mural in your bedroom – anything goes. Give us the mock-up. [Photo by Sienna Mardy, YWP Media Library]



Write your own fable. Keep it short, but include the essential ingredients (non-human characters, conflict that leads to a moral, etc.)
Essential ingredients
1: Your moral. What message are you trying to tell? What wrong are you trying to right?
2: Your characters. Who are they? What are they?
3: What conflict arises?
4: What setting are you in? (You don't always need to describe it, unless it is relevant to the plot.)



I am ...

Tell us. Who are you? Who's the real you? [​Photo by Pawel Szvmanski on Unsplash]


What are some images of family holidays that have stayed with you over the years? Describe them – draw or write about what you remember. [Photo by Nazrin B-va, Unsplash]


[Photo: Janis Fasel, Unsplash]
In the poem, Boat, by AvaClaire, we are introduced to Tilda, "with a tangerine hat and blueberry coat." Sprout from AvaClaire's poem and write about Tilda and her adventures.


The Earth has run out of resources, and you have one last day on the planet before the world’s population is to be relocated to a space colony. How do you spend your last day on Earth? [Challenge created by fire girl; photo credit: Dominic Brügger, Unsplash]

Word Choice

View this short piece and write something in which you appreciate the words you choose, play with the words, make them sing.



Do you have a dream vacation? If so, where is it? Why do you want to go there? What do you want to do there? [Photo by Julian Myles on Unsplash]


If you were to name a tree that embodies your personality, which tree would you choose? Why? [​Photo by Jan Huber on Unsplash]


Got a cute pet? Share your pix! [Photo by Bruce Galpin on Unsplash]

Walk and Write

Go for a walk, find a comfy spot to sit, and write down whatever comes to mind in that moment. [​Photo by Yasin Arıbuğa on Unsplash]


Write a story about a character trapped in a confusing labyrinth. Is there a minotaur in the labyrinth too, or is your character alone? How will they escape? [Illustration: Ice Blink, YWP]

Spring Sounds

[Photo credit: Jan Meeus, Unsplash]
What are your favorite sounds of spring? What sounds make you look up and look forward? Describe them. Record them. Help us hear them with you.


The English language relies heavily on phonetics and sounds. In the distant past, when people were without dictionaries, they made up word spellings according to the sounds they heard; somehow our brains were able to understand them. Write a poem, prose poem, verse, or riddle using word spellings that read a little wacky or silly but do not alter their meening. [Challenge created by Treblemaker; photo credit: Nick Fewings, Unsplash]...

Character 2: Develop

Answer the following questions to create profiles of each character:
1. Who are your characters?  
2. What do your characters want in their lives? What are their needs? Wishes? Dreams?
3. What are your characters' hatreds and loves?
4. How do these characters spend their time?
5. Where do you see these characters? What is the setting (time and place)?  
6. What are some physical characteristics of the characters: age, facial features, style of clothes, eating...


Write an ode to whoever raised you! [​Photo by Michael Fenton on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 11

Write about two skeletons who are good friends and go on adventures together. [​Photo by Sabina Music Rich on Unsplash]

Stream of Consciousness

Begin to write exactly what you are thinking, and continue from there. Don’t leave out a single thought! Write for a few minutes, and record everything you think. [​Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]


Write your own version of Emily Dickinson’s “Heart, we will forget him!” See where your mind (and heart) take you! [​Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash]


You are flying blissfully over the countryside, soaring effortlessly. Never mind how you got up here. How does it feel and what do you see? [Photo: James Lee, Unsplash]


If you could speed up the process of evolution, what physical characteristic(s) would you gift mankind? In what ways would it benefit you in your own environment, or further the entire human race? Describe the new trait in detail when you identify it. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, illustration by cedar]

Understanding Character-Bedroom

A character's (or a person's) bedroom often reveals quite a bit about who that person is, on a deep level. Let's explore the bedroom of your character, to get a feel for what is important to them.
Step 1: Imagine you are standing in your character's bedroom. What do you see? Make a list. Include posters that might be on the walls, photos around the room, furniture. Is there a bulletin board and if so, what's on it? Open drawers in the desk or dresser and look at what's inside. Find a...


Write from the perspective of water. Are you a pond, a river, a lake, the ocean, or something else entirely? [​Photo by David Becker on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 14

Write a murder mystery. [​Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash]


In his poem “Tradition,” Wallace Stevens writes, “A poem about tradition could easily be / A windy thing ….” What is tradition to you? Try your hand at writing a poem about this. [​Photo by David Marcu on Unsplash]



Déjà vu

Everyone has experienced déjà vu -- that feeling that you’ve already been here, have already done this before -- at some point in their life. Write about your own experience, or a character’s. [Photo by Susan Q Yin, Unsplash]


You're in a hurry so you take a shortcut down an alley you’ve passed by many times. Halfway along, you see someone or something unexpected – not something dangerous or frightening, but surprising and intriguing … What happens? [Photo credit: Jorge Gardner, Unsplash]


[Photo: Mauro Mora, Unsplash]
What are you surprised that you miss during the restrictions of the coronavirus pandemic?

Create a Challenge

Post a challenge here, one that you would like to respond to! Be original, use your imagination, not the internet or other sources. Make the challenge short, inspiring, fun, thought-provoking! We'll format them, publish them on the site, and give you credit as the creator. [Photo: David Pisnoy, Unsplash]

New Month

What are you excited for in this new month? [​Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 10

“I rolled over in my bed, finding myself tangled up in bedsheets …” [​Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash]


Create a new color. Describe it in words or visual art. Does it have a fantastic name or one that perfectly describes it? [​Photo by Robert Katzki on Unsplash]

Six Words

Write a complete story in just six words. [​Photo by Kai Rohweder on Unsplash]


If you could eat something inedible, like an object or a memory or a feeling, what would it taste like? [Photo by JR Korpa, Unsplash]


What we said and did that day was unbelievable. Incorporate this phrase in a poem or story, at the beginning, middle, or end. [Challenge created by Pepperoni, YWP; Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Media Library]

I am ...



Do you prefer a sunny or cloudy day? Why? How does it make you feel? [​Photo by Gabriel Lamza on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 11

“When I opened my eyes, I saw that my body was no longer mine, but …” [​Photo by x on Unsplash]


[Challenge created by Erin Bundock, YWP alumna]
Proportion is the size relationship between different elements and how they work together. Proportion in photography is based on camera placement as well as the placement of the elements within the shot. Sometimes it is helpful to play with the proportion of objects relative to each other by placing them next to each other. Pick one object and play around with its...


You have just won a "trip of a lifetime." You can choose where you go, how you get there, and who you travel with (sorry, there's only room for one companion). Tell the story. [​Photo by Ron Dauphin on Unsplash]

Inside Cat

Write a story about an inside cat who longs to find the courage to become an outside cat, an alley cat, maybe even a tiger! [​Photo by Blake Meyer on Unsplash]

Great Poets

[Art by Alden Bond, YWP]
This challenge flows from a series called THE GREAT POETS CHALLENGE created by YWP's Nightheart to help you discover new poets, explore their styles and become inspired by their works! Find out more here, and respond anytime to any of the great poets. Just include the poet who inspired you at the top of your piece.


Are you afraid of the dark? Let the fear of whatever may lurk in the absence of light, real or imagined, spark your creativity. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, art by cedar]


Where has civility gone? Write about Civility as a fictional character. Civility might just disappear one day and never return, or they might gather enough courage to vanquish incivility. Use your imagination to tell the story. [Photo credits: Andre Hunter, Randalyn Hill, Unsplash]


If you were to get a magical tattoo that gave you powers based on its symbolism (e.g. a heart would bring you love), what tattoo would you get and why? [​Photo by Katrin Hauf on Unsplash]


What is the last dream you remember having? Maybe it’s from last night, or maybe it’s from a few months ago. If you can’t remember the most recent dream, then what’s a favorite you’ve dreamt, or one that keeps returning to you? [​Photo by Andreas Wagner on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 1

“If you squint your eyes just enough, you should be able to see …” [Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash]


Take photos of anything purple. Celebrate this royal color! [Photo: laurenm, YWP]



[Photo credit: Tru Katsande, Unsplash]
Celebrate Poetry Month! Take a moment to read your favorite YWP poet(s) and send a comment of appreciation to them.


People create podcasts about just about anything, based on their own niche interests – think bug-collecting, paranormal mysteries, and local eats. What subject fascinates you enough to narrate your own podcast? Need inspiration? Listen to Line Break, YWP’s podcast on writing by eyesofIris! Upload your podcast on your YWP blog! Or contact eyesofIris and propose and Episode of Line Break with her!...

Character 3: Dialogue

Based on the first two sections of this workshop, let's get the characters talking. Imagine that two (or more) of your characters find themselves together in a setting of your choice. Remaining true to each character's personality/interests/needs, what would they say to each other in this situation? Would one would dominate the conversation? Would one be funny? Boastful? Anxious? Deceptive? Show who they are through their dialogue. Don't overthink and write quickly to capture the mood.


What is your favorite texture? Least favorite? One you’ve never felt? Describe them all. [​Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash]


If you (or someone you know) has a pet, spend some time following them around throughout their day. What do you notice? What do they spend their time doing? [​Photo by Andrew S on Unsplash]

Raining ...

“It’s raining cats and dogs” is a common idiom for a hard rain. What are two other things that could come down with the rain? What is it like when it’s raining “___ and ___"? [​Photo by Alvin Leopold on Unsplash]


Try your hand at an abecedarian poem. The abecedarian is an acrostic that spells out the alphabet, either word by word or line by line. Abecedarian poems generally contain 26 lines, one for each letter of the alphabet, and every line begins with a word that starts with the line’s corresponding letter (Example: The first line could start with the word “apples,” the second line with “bananas,” the third with “carrots,” and so on.) ...


"You're too fancy for me," she/he/they said ... Fill in the details of the before or after of this phrase. [Photo: Rodolfo Marques, Unsplash]


[Photo credit: Shane Rounce, Unsplash]
What or who are you most grateful for? Write a thank you note, a poem of appreciation, or a gratitude list.

Understanding Character-Dialogue

We can learn a lot about a character through their interactions with other characters: what they say, how they say it, and what is said to them. Let's explore our characters by delving into a dialogue with another character. Characters reveal themselves by their actions and by their interactions with others. We find out more about them by what (and how) they say to others AND by what others say to them. In this exercise you will start out writing a dialogue in play form (i.e. Character 1: blah...


What were you scared of as a child? Are you still scared of these things? Do you have any new fears? [​Photo by Vadim Bogulov on Unsplash]


If you could only use one small drawer for your most precious belonging(s), which one(s) would you choose to put in the drawer and why? [​Photo by Die Handwerksmeister on Unsplash]


If you were to travel anywhere right now, where would you go? How would you get there (e.g. plane, bus, train, walking, etc.)? [​Photo by Ross Parmly on Unsplash]


Poet Emily Dickinson asks, “Are friends delight or pain?” What do you think? Write a response to her question. [Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash]


Chirping crickets, August corn, back to school sales ... listen and watch. What are the signs of late summer and how do they make you feel? [Photo by Clara Métivier Beukes, Unsplash]


Write about a character who switches bodies with someone else, much like the mother and daughter in the movie "Freaky Friday." What has made this possible? If it was a conscious decision, who did they switch with and why? How do the two characters come together, if at all? Are they switched back? [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Anna]

Angelou's America

[Illustration by Sophie Herxheimer, Poetry Foundation]
Read this poem by YWP's Roses – inspired by poet Maya Angelou's poem, America. If you're inspired, write your own poem about America. Learn more about Angelou's life and poetry, here from the Poetry Foundation.


Goodbye 2022

"With love, I'm leaving you in my past, 2022," writes Penelope in her latest blog post. What parts of 2022 are you ready to say goodbye to – with love, with abandon, with bittersweet resignation, with relief – and what are you unwilling to let go of? In photos or words, tell us! And what about 2023 are you impatient to usher in? [Photo credit: Penelope]


Do you care for any plants? What kinds? Write about them, photograph them, draw them, paint them, etc.! [​Photo by Chris Abney on Unsplash]


Tell a story that includes the phrase, "We had the time of our lives." [​Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash]

My Movie

Write about a moment in your life that felt like a scene from a movie. Use as much descriptive language and imagination as you can stuff into one poem or story! [​Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash]


Sometimes a photograph suggests something else is going on, making you guess what the big picture is really about. Create your own mystery photo. You might focus on a small detail with a blurry background, or you might draw the viewer’s eye to an unexpected element in the corner. Take a photo that will make people think more about what they're looking at. [Photo by Marek Piwnicki, Unsplash]


When Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, she was honored for the “visionary force and poetic import” of her novels through which she “gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.” In honor of Morrison's birthday this week (02/18/31), take some time to get to know – or read again – this iconic novelist of the Black experience with such award-winners as “Song of Solomon” and “Beloved.” If you're inspired, share your thoughts about Toni Morrison's...


[Photo and challenge by JhermayneU]
Celebrate the color yellow! Photograph or paint or color anything yellow and share your work with YWP! This challenge was inspired by the photos of new YWP community member JhermayneU.

Sentence Completing No. 19

“Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I had the courage to make a change in my life …” [​Photo by lilartsy on Unsplash]


What would it be like to live among the clouds, or better yet, to be a cloud? [Photo by elCarito on Unsplash]


Watch for interesting signs, bumper stickers, murals, words out in the world – they're all around you! Take photos and share them with YWP!  [Photo Credit: Paul Fenwick, Creative Commons]



[Photo by eyesofIris, YWP] Use italics, PT 10

Or, if using Unsplash photo, copy credit from Unsplash site when dowloading photo
[Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash[



Write about someone who believes they are stuck in a perpetual plane ride – never landing, never taking off – just up in the clouds, endlessly, in a 747. What happens? How do the flight attendants and other passengers react? [Photo by Tom Barrett, Unsplash]


In the color wheel, there are two sides – warm and cool. In this challenge, you'll take photos that represent both sides. Warm colors range from red to yellow-green. Typically when we think of warmer colors, we think of a sunny day. Cool colors range from blue-green to blue-violet. We often associate cool colors with ice or water, but there are many options. Take photos with primarily warm colors, then do the same with cool colors. Do you prefer one side over the other? Post your photos in a...


Begin or end a new piece with this line: “For the first time, I was beginning to understand what life is all about.” [Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Photo Library]



Your character has been a person of routine, following the...

Sentence Completing No. 21

“As we swam farther and farther away from the shore, I began to forget that …” [​Photo by Quino Al on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 13

“‘How are you?’ I say. 'Well,' …”  [​Photo by Kimon Maritz on Unsplash]

Book Reviews

Write a brief review of your favorite book. What about it is so special? Why should others read it? [​Photo by Claudia Wolff on Unsplash]


Create the first sentence to a story and post it as a response to this challenge. Others can look through the responses and use the sentences for inspiration in their own stories. [Photo: Paolo Bendandi, Unsplash]

Six Words

Write a complete story in six words. [Photo credit: Arno Senoner, Unsplash]


A flashbulb memory is one that persists vividly in your mind, often because it was emotional or consequential. Pick a flashbulb memory from your past, and write the story as if you are reliving it right now. Provide lots of details! (More on flashbulb memories here.) [Photo credit: Digital art by cedar, YWP]

Character 4: Setting

Where do you see your characters in this story? What is the setting (time & place)?
  • If you have trouble visualizing the setting, look for a photo that best captures where you imagine your characters to be.
  • What are the main characteristics of this place?
  • What is its name? Real or imagined?
  • Do your characters live there, or are they just passing through?
  • What do your characters do there?
  • Remain true to the characters you've developed.


 Who is your favorite author? Write a poem, paragraph, short story, anything, in their style of writing! [​Photo by Elisa Calvet B. on Unsplash]

The Pianist

“Beneath My Fingers,” by YWP's Moonsand, communicates a great intensity of passion that would no doubt swell up in the hearts of all concert-goers were the subject a real person. Depict with art or describe with words the emotional journey of the audience that the pianist looks out on. [Art by Moonsand, YWP Media Library]

Sentence Completing No. 4

“As we walked along the deserted dirt road, I began to realize …” [​Photo by Peregrine Photography on Unsplash]

Love Poem

Write a poem from any perspective – new love, lost love, imagined love... For inspiration, read "Goldfinch" by YWP’s liebeslied. [Photo by laurenm, YWP]

Create Challenges 21

Post original, inspiring challenges here – from your imagination, not from the internet or other sources. Share your challenge ideas (include title and 2 sentences, max.). We'll format them, publish them on the site, and give you credit as the creator. [Photo: David Pisnoy, Unsplash]


What gives you so much joy that you cannot help but dance in response to it, even if only for a moment? If you prefer not to focus on yourself, write about a character who experiences something so unexpectedly wonderful that they find themselves twirling. Bonus points for describing the moves! [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Crescent_Moon]

Understanding Character-Thoughts

Dialogue is a great entry point into your character's attitudes and thoughts. Let's take it a step further, and think about what was going on in their head throughout this encounter.

Go back to the dialogue you created in the previous challenge, Understanding Character-Dialogue. Copy the text into your response here, and add some thoughts the two characters are having. Focus on what your character was thinking; the reactions, reasoning, emotions--anything....


Write about someone who is a walking Pinterest board. Which board do they represent? [​Photo by charlesdeluvio on Unsplash]


In honor of Valentine’s Day, what is love to you? [​Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 8

“‘You need to slow down,’ I say, trying to decipher what it is that my friend ___ is saying …” [​Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash]

I will ...

This summer, I will … Finish the sentence. And enjoy! You’ve earned it! [Photo by Tyler Nix, Unsplash]


Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote many odes to ordinary, often overlooked objects. Depict an everyday object in your life through a form of art (writing, photography, painting, etc.). For inspiration, read: "Ode to a Large Tuna in the Market" by Pablo Neruda. Read more about Pablo Neruda in the Great Poets Challenge.


Imagine a scenario in which you or a character must make a tough decision between right and wrong. While the angel on one side of your shoulder is pushing you toward the obvious moral, humane action, the devil on the other side is countering every word and tempting you to put yourself first. Describe the story. [Photo credit: Vladislav Babienko, Unsplash]


[Photo: Mick Haupt, Unsplash]
"It was just at dusk when ..." Begin with or include this phrase in a story or poem.

The Podcast Challenge

YWP WRITERS AND VISUAL ARTISTS: Create your own podcast here and join The YWP Podcast Challenge! Read a poem, talk about your art process, tell us a bit about yourself – anything goes! More details here.
– Add title and category (podcast).
– For writing, include the text of the piece in the body; for visual art, attach the image(s).
– To add your podcast audio, go to ...

Short Story No. 4

Write your own fairytale! [​Photo by Mario Dobelmann on Unsplash]

Happiness is ...

In words or images, tell us what makes you happy. [Photo: "Spring in Vermont "series by Ice Blink, YWP]


Black-and-white photos can be dramatic and compelling images. In tones of gray, ranging from white to dark, capture a mood or tell a story through one or more photos. [Photo by Ice Blink, YWP]


"Turquoise Water Behind Him,” a short story by Maureen Pilkington, begins with the sentence, “It was October, but Margo was still wearing short summer skirts.” Continue your own story from here, either with Margo, or your own character. [Photo by Linus Nylund, Unsplash]


Write a poem, story, or essay related to the word “letter.” [Challenge created by Doctor Who; Photo credi: Andrew Buchanan, Unsplash]


[Photo: Joshua Hoehne, Unsplash]
Begin or end a poem or story with this phrase: “Don’t lie; I know it was you.”

Queens and Kings

Pretend you are royalty in a fairytale. What kingdom do you rule over? Do you have any rivals? What does your castle look like? Do you like being a ruler or would you rather have a more low-key, low-pressure existence? [​Photo by Marc Zimmer on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 7

Write about someone who is the complete opposite of you in every way. Think about the main issue that this story could have, and how this person might resolve that issue. [​Photo by Jay Kudva on Unsplash]


Real or fictional, describe an absolutely perfect summer day – in words or images or both[Photo credit: Crescent_Moon, YWP]

No Adjectives

Write about an object, but without adjectives. See how many words you can use! [​Photo by Diana Polekhina on Unsplash]


Paint or photograph the view from your window, including the window frame to give your composition an interesting near-far perspective. [Art by liebeslied and Dancer, YWP]


[Photo credits: Marius Ciocirlan and Taylor Friehl, Unsplash]
The setting of any piece of writing can have a major impact on its overall tone. Choose a seasonal location that invokes the general mood of fall or winter, such as a pumpkin patch or skating pond. In this piece, include details such as weather, hours of daylight, holidays that help describe the seasonal setting, etc. ...


[Photo credit: Ilya Ilford, Unsplash]
Pick a stationary object, and place it near a source of natural light. Take pictures of it periodically through the day. When you're done, try to identify areas of lighting: front (flatter, lacks shadows and highlights); side (more depth with well-defined shadows and highlights); and back-lighting (emphasis on silhouette). Post your photos in a slideshow. [Challenge...

April Fools' Day

Write a tall tale that is pretty outrageous but still has a hint of believability that could fool your readers into thinking it's true! [​Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash]

Book Plot

If you were to write a book right now, what would it be about? Who would it be about? What genre would it be? [​Photo by Mikołaj on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 2

 “We walked for what felt like days, until …” [​Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash]


“She dreamed of someone who couldn’t quite be placed …” Begin or end a story or poem with this phrase. [Photo: Anthony Tran, Unsplash]


Write one line of poetry. For the rest of the poem, write slight variations of that one line.
[Photo credit: Koen Speelman, Unsplash]


Without the distraction of color, black-and-white photos can be compelling images. In tones of gray, ranging from white to dark, capture a mood or tell a story through photos. [Challenge inspired by laurenm’s photos above.]

Character 5: Conflict

Now is the time to begin formulating your complete story. To get the story going with energy, start writing at the climax of the story.
  • What is the conflict between the characters? A conflict can also be between a character and themselves, or between a person and nature. Let's make this one person to person.
  • How does this conflict grow?
  • How does it finally “explode” between the characters?
Try to write about something unexpected happening.

Short Story No. 19

Write about a group of turtles on a mission. What will you decide their mission is? [​Photo by Wexor Tmg on Unsplash]


What do you want to do for your next birthday? Or a friend’s birthday? Do you like to have a big party or do something small? [​Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 5

“She walked slowly, solemnly, with an air of …” [​Photo by hao wang on Unsplash]


Who is your favorite poet or novelist? Write an ode to him/her/them, emulating them – in style or theme or outlook. Include the writer’s name. [​Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash]


Every single person on earth is the embodiment of a different word. How would a society like this function? What word would you be? [Challenge created by ZoeBee, YWP] [Photo by Jeremy Beck, Unsplash]


Write about a character who has a secret, or about a secret you once held and later revealed. [Challenge created by Crescent_Moon; photo credit: Sai De Silva, Unsplash]

Understanding Character-Setting

Settings may seem very different from characters, but in most stories, they play off of each other, deepening your understanding of each. Let's look into the setting around your character, and see what we can find.

Think back to the bus stop where your dialogue is taking place. Where is this bus stop? What time of year is it? What year is it? You can choose a place you're very familiar with or one you wish you knew. Also think about how the bus stop relates to your character--is it a...

Another Decade

Write something that is based in another time. Which decade will you choose? [​Photo by Richard Lund on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 16

“Slowly, with careful movements, I poured the tea into our mugs while …” [​Photo by CHI CHEN on Unsplash]


What’s your favorite kind of music? What about it draws you in? Describe it, or draw how you feel when you hear it. [​Photo by Marius Masalar on Unsplash]


Come on, we’ve all had our daydreams … What would you do if you won a million dollars? [​Photo by Steve Sawusch on Unsplash]


All your billionaire friends are interested in space travel, but you, you’re obsessed with crafting the world’s best cheeseburger. Tell the story of how you got here and give us a hint about your secret recipe. [Illustration by cedar, YWP]


End a poem or story with this inspiring quote from late author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.” [Photo credit: Kurt Vonnegut, Common Dreams]


[Photo: John Salvino, Unsplash]
They say that elves and fairies live there. You decide to go exploring. Write a fantastical fairy tale about what you find on your journey.


Who are you and what is your life like as a teenager in 2023? In words or images, explore, but don't feel limited by, questions such as:
  • Who are you at your core? How, when, or where do you...


When was a time you were embarrassed? What happened, and was there a resolution? [Photo by yu tang on Unsplash]


Begin a poem or short story with the line “As the moon and stars swirled around me overhead, I was overcome by a sense of …” [Photo by Dancer, YWP]


Sit quietly and observe. Focus on a tiny detail – a color, a texture, a movement. Create a haiku by describing (literally or figuratively) that detail in just 17 syllables. [​Photo by Ruslan Bardash on Unsplash]


Write a short story about a group of ghosts who go from abandoned house to abandoned house, staying in each one until it is sold or falls apart. What is life like for this band of squatter ghosts? What happens if one or all of them get tired of moving around so much – and decide to stay when the humans move in? [Photo by JR Korpa, Unsplash]


In poetry or prose, create a manual on “how to be a human being,” however you wish to interpret the concept. Do you focus on the general mechanics of life – how to survive – or, perhaps, the human potential for admirable qualities such as compassion and courage? Or something completely different ... [Photo credit: Karl Magnuson, Unsplash]


[Photo: Manan Chhabra, Unsplash]
Think about a habit you’ve tried to leave behind – and fictionalize it. Write about a character's struggles with this habit, expanding on their thought process as they try to quit. Consider possible roadblocks along the way as well as the benefits of relinquishing this behavior.


Do you have any family recipes, or maybe just a favorite recipe? If it’s not too secret, write a description of you making this recipe (this isn’t copying and pasting the recipe, but more of a scene of you in the kitchen, cooking up something delicious!). You can add the recipe to the end of this, too. [​Photo by Alyson McPhee on Unsplash]

Reality TV

Create your own Reality TV show. What is its purpose? Who’s on the show? [​Photo by Diego González on Unsplash]

Natural Design

Get in close to a flower, leaf, tree trunk, garden vegetable, beach grass. Observe the designs, patterns, and wonders of art in the natural world. Take photos! [Credit: "Gingko Tree," by Love to write, YWP]

World Building

Create your own fantasy world - this could be in the form of a drawing, a list of ideas, a long essay-like flowing of thoughts, anything! [​Photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash]


Write about your favorite color. What does it bring to mind? [​Photo by Maureen Sgro on Unsplash]


Take your camera outside, observe your surroundings, and take photos – up close, far away, Mother Nature, city sidewalks … whatever you see, wherever you are. Post your photos in a slideshow. [Photos by laurenm, YWP]


You are the country mouse who has never ventured beyond your own rural community, but out of necessity, you must travel to the city for the first time. Describe the experience – sights, sounds, smells, mishaps and misunderstandings, delights and fears. [Illustrations by cedar, YWP]


[Photos and challenge by Erin Bundock, YWP alumna]
Tonal contrast – the difference between the brightest highlight and the darkest low-light – can make dramatic photos. Try taking photos of objects using high contrast lighting -- the whitest whites and the darkest blacks all contained in one space. Post at your photos in a slideshow. Need some tips?...

Short Story No. 18

Write about a flickering lamp who only wants someone to change their lightbulb, but nobody seems to notice their desperate need for help. [​Photo by Roi Dimor on Unsplash]


Create a new visual art piece that uses all the vivid colors of the rainbow, without ever depicting a rainbow itself (no long, ordered series of colors!). [Art by Lauren McCabe, YWP Media Library]


If you could construct your own personal library, what would it look like? What types of books would its shelves hold? [​Photo by Tim van Cleef on Unsplash]


Write a short personal statement about a hardship you’ve faced and managed to overcome, and how the experience has made you stronger. For writers with college in mind, you might use this as a way to brainstorm an admissions essay down the line. [​Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash]

Lines & Angles

Look around and you will see lines and angles everywhere. Photograph what you see. Experiment with the light and perspective. Get in close or step back. [Challenge inspired by Outside by queenlalaladaisy and All Lining Up by gigikelly1005.]


Take a photo of food – it could be your favorite food or just what is on the table today. Think of it artistically. You might arrange it professionally, as Cloudkitty does in this photo, Garden Board, or just the way you like to eat it – a messy PB and J sandwich or a sloppy bowl of spaghetti.

Character 6: Final

You've worked hard to get to this point. Congratulations! Take some time to review your notes on brainstorming and developing the characters and setting.
You may want to start an entirely new draft from scratch, or go back and add, tweak, delete, or otherwise change what you posted in Character 5: Conflict. It's up to you!
Remember to keep your readers in mind: Hook them early. Jump into the tension as quickly as possible. And think of your story as a slice of life, not an entire...

Sentence Completing No. 24

“She is fiery red, with her scales burning up and her horns …” [​Photo by Alessandro La Becca on Unsplash]


Think about what your dream room would be like (or maybe you already have it!). What do the windows look out on? What kind of bed do you have? Is the room big or small? Would you have lots of decorations, or go for a more minimalist vibe? [​Photo by SHOP SLO® on Unsplash]


Create your own group of fairies – where do they live? Do they tend to any plants or animals? Do they know any humans? Are they good or evil fairies? [​Photo by Andrew Ridley on Unsplash]


Out of the blue, you are cast as the lead in a movie – a big movie with a big-time director. They spotted you in the school play and … no, this is not a dream. What happens next? [Photo by Cristi Tohatan on Unsplash]


Everyone has different personality traits that are specific to them. Pick one personality trait and personify it. What would courage act like? What would desperation say? Try to make these attributes come to life. [Challenge created by Geri K., YWP] [Photo by Oliver Cole, Unsplash]


Imagine you are talking to the coronavirus (hypothetically, you know, if a disease could talk). What would you say to it? [Challenge created by NiñaEstrella; photo credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response, Unsplash]

Understanding Character-Final

Now that you know who your character really is, let's bring it all together by creating a full story. You now have a character who believes something (monologue) and you know a little about the way he/she lives (bedroom) and thinks. Now, try writing the scene at the bus stop as a story. Include some of the character's thoughts and details about the place. Make your story show some conflict and, if you can, some of what your character wants/believes/is passionate about.

You may want...

Short Story No. 22

Write about an elephant that is on a walk. [​Photo by Nam Anh on Unsplash]


What’s something you’ve always dreamed of doing? Why? Do you think you will do it one day? [​Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash]


Do you collect anything? If so, why? How many do you have? What do they look like? [​Photo by Joao Tzanno on Unsplash]

Rock Art

Find some rocks, and make some art with them! This could be a statue, a rock cairn, or you could paint on the rocks - anything. [Photo by Love to write, YWP]


Whether or not you think of yourself as an artist, give watercolors a try! Find a palette of watercolors, a paintbrush, some paper, a jar of water, and get to work. Try painting fruit, flowers, your pet, a stack of books, a mug of coffee, a bicycle, a landscape. Have fun and remember to post your work! [Watercolor by cedar, YWP]


Revisit something you entertained yourself with as a kid, such as a movie, book, cartoon, or board game. How does it make you feel, now that you’re older? Whether it stirs up pleasant memories or leaves you feeling cold, write about the experience. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Cloudkitty]


[Photo and challenge by Crescent_Moon]
Take a walk. Take photos. Share them on YWP!

General/Free Write

[Illustration: JR Korpa, Unsplash]
Write about anything in any genre. Add photos if you like. Be free and fearless!


What makes you bored? What do you do to cure this boredom? [Photo by an_vision on Unsplash]


Write a short story from the perspective of a forgetful goldfish. What is the internal conversation of the goldfish as it swims round and round and can’t quite remember what just happened or where it’s headed? [Photo by Ahmed Hasan on Unsplash]


Write about one thing you would like to change in the world. If you could, how would you do it? [​Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash]


Emily Dickinson wrote, “A death-blow is a life-blow to some / Who, till they died, did not alive become.” Write about a character who finally learns to live in the afterlife. [Photo by Michael Mouritz, Unsplash]


A word without a definition is a word without meaning. But is there a word you think should be defined differently? Create a new (or simply more poetic) definition for a common word, like YWP's gaia_lenox does in her piece “Screw Merriam Webster." [Challenge created by Crescent_Moon; illustration by cedar]


The sky is blue, the temperature is just right, and the birds are singing above. You lay out a blanket by your favorite tree and look up to watch the clouds. This is your view. Where does your mind drift off to? [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Alessandra G.]


Shoes (unless you go barefoot) travel everywhere with us. Do you have one specific pair of shoes? What is your dream pair of shoes? How long have you had your current favorite pair of shoes? [​Photo by Amit Lahav on Unsplash]


If you could go back in time to any decade, which one would you choose? Why? [​Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash]


Look at the photo examples in this challenge. Each one evokes a setting. Take your own photo of an inspiring setting – so inspiring that writers will want to write about it! Post your photo(s).


Draw someone, photograph them, or write about them. Who are they? How do you capture their personality in one medium? [​Photo by DHANYA A V on Unsplash]


Black and white photography, with its shades and contrasts, can create a mood unlike anything seen in color photos. Experiment with the drama of black and white. [Photo by fire girl, YWP]


You are weaving a beautiful fabric to make into a garment for yourself. Your loom can weave with any substance you wish: the sneeze of an ant, the roar of a river, the fog of London. What would you include in your fabric, and why? What strengths or symbolism would these materials hold for you? [Challenge created by Treblemaker; photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by amaryllis]


[Credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Photo Archive]
Is anyone listening? Send an urgent message about climate change so people will sit up and pay attention.


Do you take risks often? Why or why not? What about taking risks either draws you in or pushes you away? [​Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash]


Paint or photograph a realistic outdoor landscape piece, then add a distinctly unrealistic object, person, or creature popping up into the scene. The more out-of-place, the better! [Photo by Penelope Zygarowski, YWP Media Library]


What’s something you think should have been invented, but hasn’t been yet? [​Photo by History in HD on Unsplash]


Haiku is a short form of poetry adapted from Japanese tradition, usually based on observations of the natural world and written in the present tense about a present moment. A haiku has three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Try it! Focus on a tiny detail – a color, a texture, a movement. Create a haiku by describing, literally or figuratively, that detail in just 17 syllables. [​Photo by Maira Salazar on Unsplash]


In words or art, describe the sensation of splashing into the water. [Challenge inspired by Neon Splash by laurenm]


Go to one of your most cherished places and show – through a photo or series of photos – why it is so special to you. Sketch, paint or write about this place if you prefer. [Photo credit: Crescent_Moon, YWP]


[Challenge by Scarry Night; Photo by Crescent_Moon]
What is the best thing that has happened to you in this time in our homes during social distancing? Why is it the best?

Snow White

Write your own take on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. [​Photo by King Lip on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 12

Write about someone who goes on an exciting trip – one that they’ve been waiting for their whole life. Who are they going with? Or are they alone? Where are they going? What will they do there? Are they flying, or using some other mode of transportation? [​Photo by Bao Menglong on Unsplash]


If you could sail anywhere in the world, through any ocean or sea, where would you go? Who would be on your boat with you? Or would you go alone? [​Photo by Kristel Hayes on Unsplash]


Write a poem or narrative, using metaphors to compare and contrast ideas, bringing the reader deeper into your piece(s). (Example: like the tears that once wove down my striving neck, gushing around my bare feet, the waterfall stripped me of all feeling but sorrow.) Merriam-Webster: “A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money).” ...

New Word

Create a new word and describe it. Explain its meaning, origin, why it's useful, how you could use it. [Photo by Nathalia Rosa, Unsplash]


What sounds like music to you? Waves crashing on a beach? Rap? A mourning dove in the evening? A symphony? Is there a kind of music that fills you up and just makes you want to dance or makes you feel content? Write about the music that is special to you. [Challenge created by EverlastingWaves; Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Media Library]


[Photo: Nicholas Punter, Unsplash]
Imagine that you are walking along on your usual route to school and something strange catches your eye. It's a big, golden door. You're sure that it's never been there before. You look around. You're the only one on the street. School is starting in 10 minutes, but ... What do you do?


Write from the perspective of a boat. Which body of water does it live in? What kind of boat is it? Who owns it? How old is it? What does it think about being a boat? [​Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 15

Write about a huge storm that comes through a small town. [​Photo by Anandu Vinod on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 9

“I walked away from that house as fast as I could, my heart racing …” [​Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash]

Pet Peeves

What are your pet peeves? Write a haiku for each one you can think of. (Haiku is a form of poetry that originated in Japan and follows the format of 5 syllables in the first line of the poem, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third and final line of the poem.) [​Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash]

Cat Person

What does it mean to be a cat person or a dog person? Are these unfair stereotypes? Have you ever been labeled as one or the other? How did you respond? Have you ever thought of yourself in this way – and does it fit?


While out with friends at a comedy club, one of them insists it’s your night to shine and pushes you up onto the stage. What’s your set? Choose a topic and unleash your inner funny! Remember to be respectful of others and use appropriate language. Or write about the experience of standing in front of a crowd that is waiting for you to perform. What do you do? [Photo credit: Frederick Tubiermont, Unsplash]


[Photo: Marina Vitale, Unsplash]
Begin or end a poem or story with this phrase, "Open your eyes ..."


If you were a superhero, what superpower would you want? What would your superhero name be, and how would you use your superpower to help people? [​Photo by Marjan Blan | @marjanblan on Unsplash]


Draw/paint/create the book cover for your first novel. [​Photo by Jené Stephaniuk on Unsplash]


Write a poem about the ferocity of a thunderstorm. Use onomatopoeia sounds to convey the thunder, lightning, and rain. [Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash]

Melted Lines

Use this phrase, or a variation, in a poem or story, “She found hope between the buttery, melted lines of her grilled cheese.” [Photo by Asnim Ansari, Unsplash]


[Photo credit: laurenm, YWP, "A Moment to Reflect"]
Share a story or poem about summer as it comes to a close. Write about the summer of 2020 or the season in general.


[Photo credit: Matt Howard, Unsplash]
This is it – you’ve made it. Through more trials and tribulations and blisters than you can count, you’ve traversed a hundred miles and now reached the end of your journey. Why have you come, and what or who is waiting for you?

Dictionary Poem

Randomly flip to six different pages in a dictionary (or use this Random Word Generator) and, without looking, put your finger down on the page. Write down whichever word is closest to your finger. Use each of the six words your finger lands on in a poem or short story. [​Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash]

Book Cover

Design your own book cover. This could be a collage, painting, drawing, anything! [​Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash]


Visualization is how we form mental images. It's how we see images when we read poetry or prose, how we can "see" spatial relationships in stories. In photos or art, these relationships play similarly important roles. Is the space vast and expanding? Is it delicate and personal? Distance or closeness of an object in a photo influences how we interpret or interact with it. However, in photos we also have to think about the shape of those spaces. Does this space have hard lines? Does it fade...


Create a collage of you or a friend doing an activity involving your hands, such as knitting, drawing, cooking, playing catch, etc. [Photo: YWP Photo Library, Mya Dusablon]


Write about Medusa, separate from the knowledge you may have about the myth. Who is the person in this image? What is her life like? [​Photo by deepigoyal on Unsplash]


Donkeys or goldfish, cats or dogs? Share your favorite pet photos or illustrations! [Art by laurenm]


Write a love story, real or imagined, told through poetry or short fiction. [Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia, Unsplash]


[Challenge by PeachesMalone, YWP; Photo credit: George Hiles, Unsplash]
Choose a time period that interests you and write a story about the way you would live in that time. Would you love riding in a horse-drawn carriage or would you hate it? Would you listen to radio dramas or read books? What would your life be like? 


Do you take risks often? Why or why not? What about taking risks either draws you in or pushes you away? [​Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash]


Who says you’re too old for fingerpaint? We weren’t aware of any such age restriction! Alternatively, work with crayons, markers, glitter, or any other medium meant only for “kids.” [Art by Eloise Van Meter, YWP Media Library]


Write the new rules of etiquette for modern-day society. What has changed and what has stayed the same? [​Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash]


 You and a friend are walking along the sidewalk chatting together when a woman nudges you, hands you a scrap of paper, and begins walking away. “Follow me,” the paper says. Do you follow and what happens? [​Photo by James Ting on Unsplash]


Say Happy Father's Day in words, photos or art – a memory, an observation, a story. [Photo by Brittani Burns on Unsplash]


Weather as a topic of small talk or awkward conversation is a well-known cliché. Incorporate weather into the dialogue of two or more characters in a way that signifies it as the supremely serious subject driving the interaction. Alternatively, write a poem about weather in a grave or reverent tone. [Photo credit: Vicarious, YWP]


[Challenge and art created by cedar]
Here's a challenge from YWP's cedar: Artists! Post black and white art for other YWPers to download and color. (Cedar got you started with her marker drawings above.)


Do you prefer a small town or a big city? Or maybe something in the middle? Why? [Photo by Néstor Morales on Unsplash​]


If you could follow a rainbow to the pot of gold at the end, what would be in your pot of gold? [​Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash]


Have you ever been to a concert? If you've been to multiple, which one was your favorite? What was it like? [​Photo by ActionVance on Unsplash]


Some of us look for comfort in books, or fresh air, or hugs, or something else entirely. Where do you find comfort? Write about it. [Photo by David Lezcano, Unsplash]


Every ending is just a new beginning. Try creating a new piece of art to reflect that! Start with the last line of your last poem, favorite poem, or something that you think holds creative potential and use that as your first line. See where it takes you! [Challenge by queenlalaladaisy] [Photo by Jan Tinneberg, Unsplash]


There is music in words. And rhyming poetry helps us appreciate that. Try an end rhyme, rhyming the final syllables of each line in a pattern such as ABBA BCCB, or make up your own rhyme scheme. For inspiration, read Treblemaker’s poem, “Four AM,” and listen to her interview about rhyming poetry with eyesofIris on Line Break Episode 19. [Photo credit: Kevin Haung, YWP Media Library]...


[Photo by Crescent_Moon]
Got a cute pet? Share your photos!

Sunset and Stars

Write about watching the sun go down and the stars come out. [​Photo by César Flores on Unsplash]

Record Player

Write from the perspective of a record player – whose house are you in? Or maybe you’re in a store? What records do you normally play? [​Photo by Joe Vasquez on Unsplash]


Imagine you are in a beautiful garden. What does it look like? What plants are there? Are there any animals? Where is this garden located? [​Photo by Victor Malyushev on Unsplash]


If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why? [​Photo by Joseph Barrientos on Unsplash]


Write a story about an aspiring dancer who always gets stuck with the background role in shows. [Illustration by dogpoet, YWP]


What's in a name? Most people's names come from somewhere, whether it be an old family photo album, a favorite character, or a phonebook. Write about the origin of your name in a short story or poem. If you don't want to disclose your real name, write about the origin of your YWP username instead. [Challenge created by Crescent_Moon; photo credit: Jon Tyson, Unsplash]


[Photo: laurenm, YWP]
Grab your camera and get very close to your subject – such as laurenm's raindrops on a stem, above. Experiment! Try different lighting, different angles for your photo creations and post them here!

Short Story No. 5

Write a story about time traveling. What would happen if you were suddenly sent back in time for seemingly no reason? [​Photo by Aman Pal on Unsplash]


Write a poem or story that includes this line or your own variation: “You pulled up in your old, green car and gave me that same look you used to give me so many years ago.” [Photo by Patrick Rogers on Unsplash]


 Do you love an item that others might consider junk? What is it and why do you find meaning in it? [​Photo by Gary Sandoz on Unsplash]


 Describe the approach of winter using as many sensory and descriptive details as you can. Love it or hate it? Show us why in words, photos, illustrations. [Art by ​Trinity DeMasi, YWP]


[Photo credit: Love to write, YWP, "If the Sky Meets the Sea"]
Look over your summer photos and post your favorites here! They can be photos you've already shared on YWP or new ones – the ones that say Summer of 2020 to you.


Watch the sunset at dusk and write a poem, take pictures, or create a piece of art inspired by it, rendering as much vivid description or detail as possible. [Challenge created by Cloudkitty; photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Vicarious]


When was a moment that you felt incredibly, unbelievably happy? What were you doing? What did it feel like? [​Photo by Igor Son on Unsplash]


Create your own saint. What, or who, are they the saint of? What do they look like? What miracle gave them their sainthood? [​Mother Teresa illustration]

Writing 2022

Let your imagination run free! Let the words flow! Write about anything in any genre – poetry or prose, fiction or nonfiction. Return to contest details here. [Art by Ice Blink, YWP]


What is something that you utterly detest? Draw it, write about it, or photograph it. What is it about it that disgusts you so much? [​Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash]


Hard to pull off, but so rewarding! Action shots make compelling art. In photos or illustrations, try to capture action. [Photos and art by laurenm, YWP]


Have you ever had the same dream twice – or repeatedly? Write about a dream that recurs time and again, either in your own life or in a character’s. Is there any special meaning to be derived from it? Interpret the dream through poetry or prose. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by laurenm]


[Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Photo Library]
Imagine a community where everyone is welcome and all people can afford their houses or apartments, no matter their circumstances. What would this community look and feel like? Do you know of any communities like this? If not, why don't they exist and what could be done to make them a reality?

Sentence Completing No. 22

“When I woke up, it took me a second to realize that I was not in my own bed, but in …” [​Photo by Mike Tinnion on Unsplash]


Caption an old or entirely new photograph/visual art piece in 3-5 distinct and evocative ways to encourage your viewer to consider it from multiple perspectives. [Photo by Emilia Williams, YWP Media Library]

Sentence Completing No. 3

“Since ____ happened, so many things have changed …” [​Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash]


Your reflection comes alive and takes on a life of its own, living from mirror to mirror – a reflection of you, but not really you. How do you interact with this reflection? How do you explain what is happening – to yourself and others? [​Photo by Joel Naren on Unsplash]


Haiku is a short form of poetry adapted from Japanese tradition, usually based on observations of the natural world and written in the present tense about a present moment. A haiku has three lines of 5-7-5 syllables. Try it! Focus on a tiny detail – a color, a texture, a movement. Create a haiku by describing, literally or figuratively, that detail in just 17 syllables. [Photo credit: Melittophily by emiliaw._]


The classic "Frog and Toad" series by Arnold Lobel is an enduring tale of friendship and acceptance. Imagine a story of friendship between seeming opposites – a hippo and a snake? desert sand and a polar ice cap? fire and rain, etc. [Photo credit: laurenm]


[Challenge created by Adelle Brunstad; Photo by Love to write]
Pandemic days are also a time for reflection - what is something you would like to see change in the world? How would you go about changing it?

TV Show

If you were to direct a TV show, which one would you choose? Or maybe you would write your own? [​Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash]

Last Name

What does your last name mean? If you don’t know, then what would you want it to mean? [​Photo by Ravi Palwe on Unsplash]

Perfect Day

What would your perfect day entail? [​Photo by Adeolu Eletu on Unsplash]


Write your own flash fiction fairytale. It can be an epic adventure, or more of a classic fairytale. Include a conflict and resolution. Try to keep it under 1,000 words. [​Photo by Cederic Vandenberghe on Unsplash]


Sometimes photos or poems will make you guess what the big picture is really about. Write or take a photo about something that will make the reader think more about what they're looking at! [Challenge created by EverlastingWaves] [Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann, Unsplash]


Photograph or use any art form to depict something that makes you laugh. If it's not clear what's going on, write a caption explaining it. [Photo credit: Jude Beck, Unsplash]

Story Starter

[Photo: Joanna Kosinska, Unsplash]
Think about moments in your life and write! You have two options:
  • Focus on specific, memorable moments in your life – recent or past, good or bad. Write everything that comes to mind for just two minutes.
  • Or try a free write on one word: Delicious, Sweltering, Exhilarating, Mountain, Trapped, Fireworks, Painting, Book, Friend, Woods, Storms, Family, Summer. Pick a word that...


 Look at the natural world around you. What do you see? What do you smell? What do you feel? Write about it. Photograph it. Paint it! [Art by Avery Shearer, YWP]

Sentence Completing No. 17

“I got up from my desk to stretch for a bit after working on ____ for so long …” [​Photo by Denys Striyeshyn on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 1

Write about a young child who has been separated from their parents. Where is this located? How did this happen? How can this be resolved? [​Photo by Hannah Morgan on Unsplash]


Begin or end a story with this line: “Eventually the song had to end.” [Photo by Beautiful, YWP]


Write a poem or story that includes this line or your own variation: “The tiny lights along the edge of the cabin framed our faces in pale yellow light.” [Illustration by Dancer, YWP]


[Photo credit: Graceful, YWP Media Library]
When a writer skimps on a character’s physical description, it can be difficult for the reader to picture them in the mind’s eye. That in turn causes distraction, confusion, and an inability to fully connect to the story. With their permission, take – and post on your YWP blog – a photo of a family member, friend, neighbor, or pet that aims to...


[Photo: Toni Morrison by Damon Winter/The New York Times/Redux]
Think of a writer you love and some memorable dialogue the writer has created. Inspired by the writer's style, create your own dialogue. Don't overthink, just write. Have fun. More on this challenge here.

Short Story No. 6

Write about someone who is the Ruler of the Universe. What is it like to be them? What is their daily life like? Are they good at being the Ruler of the Universe? [​Photo by Aldebaran S on Unsplash]


Find an old picture of yourself. Who is with you? Your parents, siblings, or friends? When was the picture taken, and where? Describe it and write about what it reminds you of. Include the photo! [​Photo by Laura Fuhrman on Unsplash]


Describe a place (a mossy path, a river valley, a mountain top, a beach) where you feel at peace. Share a photo if you can. [Photo by Everlasting Waves, YWP]


Write an ode to someone who makes you feel grateful. What is it about them that sparks your gratitude? [Photo by Debby Hudson, Unsplash]
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Take a fleeting thought, or one you have dwelt on before from time to time, and wax philosophic about it. The question you ask yourself can be frivolous, solemn, or anything in between! Check out this list of popular philosophical topics to ponder if none readily come to you: https://philosophy.hku.hk/think/phil/101q.php [Photo credit: Giammarco Boscaro, Unsplash]


Write a review of the most recent movie you saw. Did you like it? Is there anything that needs to be improved? Do you think there will be a sequel? How would you rate it on a scale of 1-5? Is the Rotten Tomatoes score accurate, in your opinion? [​Photo by Felix Mooneeram on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 12

 “The air was cold and the wind blew harshly as we walked along the …” [​Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]


How do you feel about winter? What is your favorite aspect of winter? Least favorite? [​Photo by Stanley Dai on Unsplash]

Visual Art 2022

Go outside and explore. Create visual art that reflects the world around you. Experiment with en plein air painting. Take photographs. Try sketching what you see. Choose any medium that inspires you. Submit your work individually or in multiples. Return to contest details here. [Art by cedar, YWP]


Go outside and look for a flower, a flowering weed, or even a shrub. What do you imagine this plant would be like as a human? [​Photo by Han Chenxu on Unsplash]


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Write about your travel dreams. [Photo by Jairph, Unsplash]



[Photo credit: YWP Media Library]

Feeling adventurous, you and your family veer off your usual hiking trail one day to explore the surrounding woods. It’s not long before one of you spots something strange: a small wooden trunk peeking out of the mud. Finish the story.


Creating Voice

This workshop explores "voice" in writing. Voice expresses the narrator's or author’s emotions, attitude, tone, and point of view -- and it directly contributes to the tone and mood of the piece. Listen to other writers' voices -- and develop your own.


Magical Powers

Imagine you have magical powers. What kind of powers would you want? What would you do with your abilities? Would you use them often, or only sometimes? [​Photo by Cristian Escobar on Unsplash]

Favorite Song

Do you have a favorite song right now? If so, why does it appeal to you so much? What is it about? How does it make you feel? [​Photo by C D-X on Unsplash]


What’s a hobby that you love? Write all about it. [​Photo by Marina Ermakova on Unsplash]


Draw your own original flower. Think of something you’ve never seen before as a flower. This could be in black and white, or full color; made with crayons or gouache paint or a regular pencil. Make this flower yours. [Illustration by sharkcuddles, YWP]


Write a description of a place, person or event in 3-5 paragraphs without using any adjectives. Finding the right noun – instead of piles of adjectives – will improve your writing, allowing you "to show, not tell." For this exercise, you can either jump in and try writing adjective-free or you can take two steps: write the description with adjectives, then strip them out, and revise by choosing stronger nouns that describe on their own. You'll see the importance of word choice,...


“I love the light this time of day,” she said. Use this sentence in a poem or story; and/or – if you are able to capture it – take a photo of the slanting rays of the sun in the late afternoon. [Photo credit: Marina2020, YWP]


[Photo by beautiful]
Write it! Sketch it! Photograph it! However you want to express it, tell mothers how incredible they are!

No "A"

Free write anything you want, but don’t use the letter “A” at all! [​Photo by Pearse O'Halloran on Unsplash]


Write a postcard to someone as if you are traveling far away. [​Photo by Becky Phan on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 6

“I walked into the nearly-empty diner and was hit by the strong smell of …” [​Photo by Shelby Cohron on Unsplash]


Write a book review of the last good book you read. Post it here and on the YWP Book Club! And try not to give away any spoilers! [Photo by Ashim D'Silva, Unsplash]


Write for someone you know. Keep that person in mind as you tell them a story or write a poem specifically for them. By making your writing accessible to that person – their character, feelings, experiences – you might find yourself being more true to yourself, more engaged, a better writer. [Photo by Paul Garaizar, Unsplash]



Some people can’t seem to stay out of trouble no matter how hard they try. And some days, trouble just seems to follow you everywhere you go. Write about trouble, however it appears, real or fictional. Remember Judith Viorst’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”?

I never ...

[Photo: YWP Archive, Kevin Huang]
Fill in the blanks and fill in the story. Try one or both of these prompts:
  • “I never ________, but it’s all over now.”
  • “Move aside, ________. Make way for ________.”

Sentence Completing No. 26

“The stones on the walkway were smooth and rounded …” [​Photo by Yana Druzhinina on Unsplash]


Have you ever woken up early to watch the sunrise? If so, what was it like? [​Photo by OC Gonzalez on Unsplash]

Short Story No.2

Write a love story about two bugs – or two animals of any kind – who meet by chance and fall for each other. How do they meet? Where do they go on their first date? What attracts them to each other? [​Photo by Neringa Hünnefeld on Unsplash]


Make your own island – either in words or images. What ocean is it in? Is it far from land, or just off the coast? What plants grow there? Is it inhabited? What animals live there? [​Photo by Nathan Boadle on Unsplash]


How was your summer? Focus on one happy, surprising, unusual or stand-out moment and describe it in words or images. [Photo by Love to write, YWP]


You sit beside the window, watching, waiting, wishing. If only you could leave to share in the experience of … what? Convey a sense of longing from the perspective of someone or something stuck indoors. If a certain pandemic comes to mind, write about that. Or choose something completely unrelated.  [Photo credit: Haley Thon, YWP Media Library]


[Photo: Edwin Hooper, Unsplash]
Use the phrase on the marquee in this photo, "The world is temporarily closed," in a story or poem. Write about the current pandemic if you want or take your piece in a completely different direction.


Evoke a sense of movement in your next visual art or photography piece. A busy hummingbird? A mesmerizing salsa routine? A Six Flags coaster on its final climactic dive? [Digital art by Lauren McCabe, YWP Media Library]


Write something that includes this phrase or an approximation of it: “the room was musty, and the feeling of constantly being awarded second place infiltrated my nostrils.” (It can be placed anywhere in the piece). [​Photo by Vruyr Martirosyan on Unsplash]


Who is your favorite poet? And/or favorite author? Favorite painter? Favorite photographer... Tell us why! [​Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash]


Include this sentence in a poem or story: “There they sat, in all their glittering glory, far across the room from me …” [Photo by ​Alexander Schimmeck, Unsplash]

I hope ...

[Illustration by cedar, YWP]
I hope .... finish the sentence. Add a few words, a few sentences, an essay! What do you hope for on Nov. 3 – one of the most consequential elections in the nation's history? Or what do you hope for beyond the election, in a new year – a new era? You might not be of voting age, but you have a voice that matters – and hope!


Imagine yourself as an animal living in the wild, apart from humans, and write about your experience of everyday survival from this perspective. What are the biggest threats to your existence? What are the advantages and joys of seeing the world in this new way? If you’re stuck, try writing through a pet’s eyes. [Challenge created by Catbatgirl; Art: "Breakfast Doodles" by cedar, YWP]


Write either from the perspective of a lemon or an ode to lemons. [​Photo by Thitiphum Koonjantuek on Unsplash]

Art Critic

Write an appreciation of a piece of art that you admire. Explain why and how this piece affects you. [​Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring, 1665]


You are now in the center of one of favorite fictional tales. What adventures do you and your beloved characters embark on today? [​Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash]


Do you believe in the healing powers of crystals? Why or why not? Write about it! [​Photo by Edz Norton on Unsplash]


From the West to the East, this summer's heat has been extreme. Write about how our climate is affecting us globally and/or you personally. [Photo by laurenm, YWP]


Pick a song special to you and create a character inspired by it to write a poem or story. Do the lyrics create scenes in your mind? Who do you imagine is the narrator, or subject, of the tune? How could the music’s style be represented in your writing? [Challenge created by QueenofDawn; photo credit: YWP Media Library]


[Photo credit: Kevin Huang, YWP Library]
Need a poem starter? Try windspark poems -- five-line, often nature-related poems that follow this format:
Line 1. "I dreamed"
Line 2. "I was ______" (something or someone - a noun)
Line 3. Location (where)
Line 4. An action (-ing verb)
Line 5. How (adverb, -ly ending)

I dreamed

Misty Morning

Write about taking a boat out on a misty lake in the early morning. [​Photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 9

Write about someone who embarks on a quest to learn how to sail. [​Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash]


Choose two objects and personify them. What do they talk about? What do they do together? [​Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash]


Create a spirit that watches over you and acts as your personal guardian. What form does your spirit take? Does it ever speak? Does it fly? [​Photo by Cosmic Timetraveler on Unsplash]


Phew, you made it! Describe the full-body, all-encompassing sensation of relief. No need to explain the backstory, take us into the immediate moment. [Photo by Ryan Moreno, Unsplash]


In photos and/or words, celebrate the color green. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, lia.chien]


[Photo: Allie, Unsplash]
Share a favorite quote that inspires you. (Include the source, whether it's a famous person or a friend.)


Describe your perfect beach day. What do you like to do? Do you swim, walk the shore, read? Write to engage all of your readers' senses. [​Photo by Sean Oulashin on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 15

“He stood up and walked over to the window, where the snow was coming down hard …” [Photo by Ozgu Ozden on Unsplash]


What is your favorite month of the year? Why? What images or memories does it bring to mind? [​Photo by Behnam Norouzi on Unsplash]


Think of your ideal library. What type of books can you find there – all history books, or poetry anthologies, or science fiction novels? Or maybe a mix of everything? Where is it located? Does it have comfy chairs and secret reading nooks? Describe it in words or draw it – and make it yours! [Photo by Will Van Wingerden, Unsplash]


Write an ode to something, not someone. Challenge inspired by "Ode to a Pepper Plant" by Ice Blink.


Closely observe an object in your surroundings or an aspect of the natural world. Using just three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables, convey this small moment or detail in a Haiku poem. Example: Empty Glass by Inkpaw: "See-through and empty / you wait on the windowsill / to be filled once more." [Challenge by Inkpaw; photo by laurenm]

Up Close

[Photos by laurenm, YWP]
There is art in nature. Take a look at the world around you, get in close, and photograph the designs, patterns, and wonders of nature. Catch some inspiration from these photos by laurenm.


If you could get in a spaceship and go anywhere, would you? If yes, then where would you go? How long would you spend in space? [​Photo by Monica Garniga on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 16

Write about someone who has terrible sleepwalking issues. [​Photo by Quin Stevenson on Unsplash]


Emily Dickinson famously wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers / That perches in the soul, / And sings the tune without the words, / And never stops at all.” What do you think of this? Do you agree? What is hope to you? [​Photo by Bryan Hanson on Unsplash]


Write your own epic poem, similar in style to The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Emily Wilson) or Beowulf (translated by Seamus Heaney). It doesn’t need to be super long, but make sure your poem’s plot includes a conflict, climax, and resolution. [​Photo by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash]


Make a sentence by writing a poem that has one word in the first line, two in the second, three in the third, etc. (Example: The / The cat / The cat sat / The cat sat down.) [Illustration by Ice Blink]


Your character receives a gift that – over time – will have a huge impact on their life. Describe the gift, the giving, and the consequences. [Photo credit: Tim Mossholder, Unsplash]


[Photo: Crescent_Moon, YWP]
Along their course, many waterfalls dip over a ledge that leaves a small chamber of air behind them. Some seek out these places intentionally, finding symbolism in the experience of passing through the sheet of water into another world or state of being. If you were to walk behind a waterfall (like this one captured by Crescent_Moon), what do you...


Choose an everyday object to depict in its entirety, then with a magnifying glass or your eyes alone, deliver an accompanying visual study of your object up close. Something textured is encouraged! [Photo by Max Wilson, YWP Media Library]


[Art by IceGalaxy, illustrating Billie Ellish's song, "Everybody Dies"]
SUGGEST A SONG AND ... YWP's IceGalaxy will create synesthetic art to match! Leave your song suggestions (with the artist's name) here and IceGalaxy says they will "try to draw what it looks like to me :)" This challenge started with a post by IceGalaxy...


Write about a character who loves and hates someone or something at the same time. Describe the conflict. Can it be resolved? [​Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash]


Create a cure for boredom. Is it a potion? Or maybe a dance to shake the boredom out? This could be a poem, a short work of fiction, or even a recipe. Have fun! [Photo by Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash]

Stark beauty

[Photo, "Black and White," by ckodama24, YWP]
With ckodama24's photo, "Black and White," as inspiration, capture the stark beauty of a November day in photos – black and white, or the muted greys and browns of the season.


“In turbulent times, books are tools that help people navigate the world around them. Intellectual freedom and access to information uplift people in crisis and during more peaceful times,” says the Banned Books Week Coalition. Speak out about your right to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020! For more information, visit bannedbooksweek.org....

Short Story No. 17

Write about someone who is sick and cannot leave their bedroom (e.g. having Covid). What do they do to pass the time? Do they have a pet, a sibling, a friend to keep them company? [​Photo by Bluewater Sweden on Unsplash]


Thoughts on bread? Like it, hate it, allergic to it? If you like it, do you use it for sandwiches or toast more often? Or something else? What’s your favorite kind of bread? Write an ode to it! [​Photo by Wesual Click on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 8

Write about someone who comes home for the holidays, only to rediscover the magic in their family home that they believed in as a child. [​Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash]

Only Light

Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." (Strength to Love, 1963). How does Dr. King's message of love and equality relate to America today? Will light drive out darkness? [Photo by Vicarious, YWP]


Imagine you are an explorer coming across a completely uninhabited and untouched place. Where is it? What is it like? [​Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash]


Take a walk. Take photos of the birds and animals you meet along the way. [Photo by Wag it off, YWP]


[Photo credit: Amy Baugess, Unsplash]
Imagine you are lost in a maze … You’re on your own from here, it’s up to you! What kind of maze (Halloween corn, estate hedge, twisting brain)? Why are you there, what is your end location or goal, and how do you escape?


[Photo credit: Lia Chien, YWP]
Simplicity, observation, imagination. The time is right for haiku!

  • A short form of poetry adapted from Japanese tradition
  • Often, but not always, based on observations of the natural world, explaining a small moment
  • Consisting of three lines of 5, 7, 5 syllables. A syllable generally corresponds to a single vowel sound within a...


If you could rewrite history, what would you change and why? How would things be different? [​Photo by Mr Cup / Fabien Barral on Unsplash]

Rain or Snow

Do you prefer the rain or snow? Why? Write an ode to whichever weather you enjoy more! [​Photo by reza shayestehpour on Unsplash]


What do you think it would be like to live in space, among the stars? Would you use a personal spaceship to go from planet to planet, or maybe a space shuttle? [​Photo by Graham Holtshausen on Unsplash]


If you could add a “sixth sense” to the list of five that humans possess, what would it be, and why? In what ways would it help you in daily life? [​Photo by Marek Studzinski on Unsplash]


Begin with this phrase, "It all started when ..." Fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose. [Photo by Matt Duncan, Unsplash]


Write about climate change from the perspective of an animal. [Challenge inspired by “The Curmudgeonly Frog,” by Yellow Sweater; Photo: Gary Tresize, Unsplash]

Short Story No. 20

Write about someone who goes on an adventure in the sea. [​Photo by Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash]

Hot or Cold

Do you prefer hot or cold weather? Why? [​Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash]


What’s a routine in your life? Maybe you eat the same thing for breakfast every morning, or always do one specific skincare routine before bed. Describe this routine and why you like it. And for extra fun, try describing it without using any adjectives. [​Photo by K8 on Unsplash]


You, a shy young monster under the bed, are terrified of the child living above you. Write the story in prose or poetry. Draw a cartoon if you like. [Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash]


Everyone has different personality traits that are specific to them. Pick one personality trait and personify it. What would courage act like? What would desperation say? Try to make these attributes come to life. [Challenge by Geri K.] [Photo by Lawless Capture, Unsplash]


The writer's voice is the tone, mood, or personality of a story, poem, essay. Choose a tone – happiness, guilt, surprise, panic, shame, curiosity, empathy, regret, envy, relief, loneliness, gratitude, etc. – and write a mini-story (5-10 lines is enough) that showcases that tone or mood. [Photo credit: Rasmus Smedstrup-Mortensen, Unsplash]

Three Objects

[Photo: YWP Archive, Colby Miller]
Can you think of three objects that would help explain who you are? Share your list and write about why these particular objects describe you. Include photos if you like.

Short Story No. 23

Write about a scoop of ice cream teetering on top of an ice cream cone. What is this poor ice cream scoop thinking as it wobbles and is about to topple?[Photo by Elza Kurbanova on Unsplash]


Write from the perspective of a crow. What do you do for fun? Do you fly with lots of other crows? Do you have any close friends in particular, or are you a more solitary crow? [​Photo by Tyler Quiring on Unsplash]


Write from the perspective of an eye – maybe you are trapped in a glass jar, or are the glass eye in someone’s head, or are the single eye of the cyclops. What is it like to be the eye? [​Photo by Bacila Vlad on Unsplash]


Begin or end a tale with the phrase, “and standing there in the middle of all that mess was my dear, old friend, with the most peculiar look on her face.” [​Photo by Onur Bahçıvancılar on Unsplash]

First Grade

Do you remember your first day of first grade? Were you scared? Deliriously excited? What was your teacher like? For inspiration, read: “First Grade” by Ron Koertge [Photo by CDC, Unsplash]


In 1961, American scientist Richard Feynman, joint-receiver of the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics, posed the following paraphrased question: If the human race and its collective knowledge were destroyed, apart from one sentence rich in information yet brief in its wording, what sentence would you leave? [Challenge created by gaia_lenox, YWP; Photo credit: Feynman Diagram, Wikimedia Commons]


[Photo: Debby Hudson, Unsplash]
Do you remember the first author or poet who made you stop and think, “Huh, maybe I’d like to be a writer someday too.” Why did they inspire you? Was it the beauty and fluidity of their language, or the honesty of their message, or the perfect rise and fall of their storytelling style, or…? Write about the experience.


We’ve all seen those stick-figure representations of someone’s family on the back of their car – maybe your family even has one! Draw the updated, elevated version of your biological or chosen family as a cartoon bumper sticker. [Illustration by Claire Chutter-Cressy and Finle Weeks, YWP Media Library]

Create Challenges

[Photo: David Pisnoy, Unsplash]
Do you have writing or photo challenges hiding away in your head that you'd like to share with YWP? Post your original and inspiring challenges here. Include a title and one or two sentences. We'll format them, publish them on the site, and give you credit as the creator. Please use your imagination, not the internet or a homework assignment, as your source. Have fun!


In photography, positive space is your subject, and the negative space is what surrounds it. Take a good look around. Will the negative space enhance or detract from your photo? Experiment and post the results.


Ask a friend or family member to model for you. Photograph, draw, or paint them. Pretend you’re shooting the cover of Vogue, or maybe you’re Leonardo da Vinci painting the Mona Lisa – whatever works to capture your subject in a stunning portrait! [From Oscar Nord photo, Unsplash]

Abecedarian Poetry

With abecedarian poetry, each line or stanza begins with the first letter of the alphabet and is followed by the next letter, from A-Z. A form of acrostic poetry, the abecedarian poem's first letter of each line spells out the entire alphabet. Try it! If you're short on inspiration, listen to Episode 3 of Line Break, where eyesofIris interviews LadyMidnight about her abecedarian poem, Lost and Found.  Other examples of abecedarian poetry from...


“One person's trash is another person's treasure,” so the saying goes. What is something “junky” others might throw away, but that you hold onto. Why? How did you receive or come across this object(s)? [Photo credit: Rumman Amin, Unsplash]


Happy first day of spring! What are you excited for in this new season? Or maybe you’re sad to see winter go? Dump all your springtime thoughts right here. [​Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash]


What are cozy things to you? What makes you feel all warm and cozied-up? Write about it! [​Photo by Sdf Rahbar on Unsplash]


Start your story with a character receiving a message that completely surprises them. Without revealing what the message says, tell the story of the character's reaction to it, maybe include the backstory or some hints about the words and their impact. [Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash]


Do you have a lucky number, piece of jewelry, or something similar? What about it brings you luck? What is its meaning? [​Photo by Yan Ming on Unsplash]


Write a poem or story that includes these five words: goose, pretend, bridge, whistling, pickle. [Photo by Amit Talwar on Unsplash]


The classic detective story, a type of fiction in which a crime is introduced, investigated, and solved, is part of a distinct genre of its own within the broader category of “Mystery.” Write the introductory paragraphs to a detective story that is so good it prompts others to SPROUT and finish the tale. [Photo credit: Michelle Ding, Unsplash]

Spirit Lifters

Marina2020's town, Chelsea, VT, is spreading sunshine. JoToy is sending neighbors little handmade cards. If you or your community are doing a project to lift people's spirits during the pandemic, share the story here -- in photos or words or both!


There is a large, old dresser in front of you. It seems to hold something otherworldly. Do you investigate? If so, what do you find? [​Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 10

Write about someone who is trapped in an empty castle with no exits. [​Photo by Richard Clark on Unsplash]

Pet Portraits

Draw, paint, or use a camera to capture the idiosyncrasies of your pet(s). [​Photo by Krista Mangulsone on Unsplash]


Choose one of your poems, or a favorite line, and write it on a piece of paper. Draw/paint/create a collage around your poetry with images that fit the words. Take a photo of the finished piece and post it. [Illustration by Lizzy_Rights, YWP]

Fan Fiction

Place yourself in one of your favorite fictional tales. What kind of adventures or trials are you and your beloved characters facing today?


Combining photos and paint can have a dramatic effect. Explore the fusion of photos and the paint of your choice: acrylic, oil, watercolor. The photo should be printed onto high quality photographic or art paper, semi-gloss or matte. [Challenge and art created by Erin Bundock, YWP alumna]


Listen around your house (or wherever you are right now!) to what you can hear. Write a story out of what you pick up on. [​Photo by Dylann Hendricks | 딜란 on Unsplash]

Hot Air Balloon

Use this as a brain dump: imagine you are sending all of your pestering thoughts away in a hot air balloon. Which thoughts will you send to float away from you? [Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash]

Sentence Completing No. 7

“When I told my friends I would help them out with something earlier today, I never would have expected that …” [​Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash]


Where – in all of the world – would you go and what would you do if you just wanted to escape for awhile? Is there a place that captures your imagination? What draws you to it? Write about it, sketch it, paint it! [Photo by Ishan @seefromthesky on Unsplash]


Wherever you are, go outside, look around, and capture your surroundings in photos. [Photo: Beautiful World series by Cloudkitty]


[Photo credit: Clark Tibbs, Unsplash]
It can feel obvious to us what our government should do differently in handling certain nationwide events and social issues. As an individual, what’s an action you could take to benefit others in your community?


[Challenge by A Sports Person; photo by Floris Andrea, Unsplash]
In the next 100 years what will the world be like? Will things change or stay the same? Write about what you think life will be like in 100 plus years.


Write from the perspective of a cat. How do you spend your time? Who do you live with? What’s your favorite sleeping spot? [​Photo by Manja Vitolic on Unsplash]


Give us some advice! What’s something you can offer a little wisdom on? [​Photo by Thea on Unsplash]

Short Story No. 3

Write from the perspective of a forgotten doll. What is the story arc going to be? [​Photo by Jonathan Cooper on Unsplash]

Rain & Shine

Create the backstory of how two opposites meet and become friends. They might be Rain (a moody, brooding character) and Shine (a sunny, optimistic type) – or two characters of your own invention. [Photo by laurenm, YWP]


Think of a cautionary tale you were told when you were younger. Was it wise or ridiculous? Did it make a lasting impression on you? Write about it. Need inspiration? “My Grandma Told Stories or Cautionary Tales” by Marlanda Dekine-Sapient Soul.
 [Photo by Manyu Varma, Unsplash]


By chance, you stumble across the doorway to another world. You’re incredibly curious, but you don’t know if what’s on the other side is good or bad. It’s up to you to decide – right now! – whether to open the door or run the other way. What happens? [Photo credit: Alexandra Gamanus, Unsplash]

Photo Perspective

[Photo: Darwin Bell, flickr]
A photographer's perspective can create dramatic results.Try experimenting on your next photo shoot. Get in close. Shoot from below or on high. Think of shapes, patterns, and lines. Zero in on one aspect of your subject, such as the blue window on the red wall in the photo above. Be aware of the lighting and composition. Share your art here!


A mandala (Sanskrit for “circle”) is a geometric design that expands from a single point at the center, with the very act of its creation meant to serve as a meditative tool. Let your mind slow down as you draw or paint your own mandala, or photograph inspiration you find for one in the natural world. [Digital art by Evie Crowell, YWP Media Library]


[Challenge created by DewDrop27; Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash]
Write a poem or story of any genre using the sentence, "She looked at me with pleading eyes. That's when I ran away." Or create a piece of art/photo that represents this sentence. 


Write one line of poetry. Spend time on your word choice because ... for the rest of the poem, you're going to bounce off that line, writing slight variations and combinations. Have fun with it! [​Photo by Joanjo Pavon on Unsplash]

Before Us

In Hayao Miyazaki's animated movie, “Castle in the Sky,” an ancient civilization disappeared, leaving islands and immense buildings floating in the atmosphere. Write a poem, story, or essay (or create a work of art) that describes the remnants of a long-forgotten race. Are the remains more advanced than our modern world? Did the population seem to be human? Did they leave a historical record behind? Describe a real place or invent your own. [Photo by Willian...


[Photo credit: Rachel Nickerson, Unsplash]
Five things I learned in 2020 ... Take five quick minutes to list five (more or less if you like) new discoveries you made in the past year, pandemic-related or not! Come back later to expand on favorites or leave it as a list that you can reflect on in a year or two.


[Amanda Gorman, 2021 Inauguration; Photo: Patrick Semansky/Getty]
Spoken word poetry incorporates the verbal performance of a writer’s work with the words themselves. The inflection, intonation, and pace of recitation, among other things, are conscious decisions a poet makes to evoke a range of emotions that help bring the piece alive. Write a poem meant to be shared out loud, or transform an old one, and upload a...


Is there magic in the air around you? If you don’t think so, then what is the air made out of? What’s floating around you right now? [​Photo by Henry & Co. on Unsplash]


How do you feel about traveling? Write a poem that either glorifies or looks down on transportation methods (e.g. planes, cars, buses, trains, etc.). [​Photo by Ant Rozetsky on Unsplash]


Describe someone who has had a positive influence on your life. No names required. Just a powerful description of this person and their impact. ​[Photo by Alexas_Fotos on Unsplash]


Look out (or in) the closest window to you. What do you see? What is going on on the other side? If you can’t see through it well, then what do you imagine might be on the other side? [​Photo by Nicolas Solerieu on Unsplash]


Use the phrase, "It wasn't a game," in a poem or story. [Photo by Denise Jans, Unsplash]


[Photo credit: Madalyn Cox, Unsplash]
You have a chance to redesign your bedroom from scratch – with no limit on your budget or imagination. Using words or a sketch, map out your amazing, new room.



Frank McCourt, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes and an English teacher in Brooklyn, NY, noticed that when his students missed an assignment, they would come up with marvelously creative and (mostly) credible excuses to explain why. It was a type of writing that came naturally -- and it's where you're going to practice the Art of the Argument!

THE SCENE: You're a student. The stress is getting to you. You have lots of time...

Three Wishes

If you were granted three wishes, what would you wish for? Why? Would you use all three wishes? [​Photo by Herbert Goetsch on Unsplash]


What would it be like to be a bird? Where would you fly to? [​Photo by Mehdi Sepehri on Unsplash]

Favorite Art

What is your favorite piece of art? Use it as a model for your own artistic creation. Share the artist’s name and piece that inspired you. [​Lawren Harris, Group of Seven, "Lake Superior"]


Begin or end a story with these sentences or variations of your own: “He was always my favorite, out of all of them – it was barely a competition. He knew it, too.” [Photo by Qasim Sadiq on Unsplash]


Think of someone you know, or someone you've seen. Write about ONE feature of that person. Perhaps it's a feature of their face or a unique way of walking or talking; perhaps it's something they wear often – a charm bracelet, muddy sneakers, paint-splattered jeans. What’s the story linked to that one feature? [Photo Credit: Alexander Krivitskiy, Unsplash]

Art of ...

[Photo credit: Love to write, YWP]
The poem, “The Art of Fog Catching” by YWP's Love to write, describes a simple moment of observation – and a powerful connection between humans and nature. Write about a time when you – or your character – took the time to observe, explore, and learn "the art of ..." anything!

Short Story No. 21

Write about someone who has a terrible, life-altering phobia of something that is commonly accepted as cute. [​Photo by Melanie Wasser on Unsplash]


Write a poem about all your favorite things. There’s no limit to this – favorite park, room, planet, musical instrument, candle scent, poster, sweater, artist, plant, anything you can think of that you love! [​Photo by Hà Nguyễn on Unsplash]


Describe in words or images two contrasting things (e.g. love and hate, or cotton and wool). What makes them so different? Are there any similarities? [​Photo by Kenza Benaouda on Unsplash]


 Try your hand at script writing. Write a scene with about 30 lines of dialogue between at least two characters. Maybe the characters are ghosts, or tulips, or the forgotten coats on a coat rack – anything goes! [​Photo by Artificial Photography on Unsplash]

Then and Now

Compare how things used to be to how they are now. Are they better or worse? Do you wish things were different. [Challenge created by Flowergirl12300] [Photo: Justice Amoh, Unsplash]


Write about an injustice that you or your character witness or experience firsthand. What do you do? What do you learn from this incident? [Photo credit: Mike Erskine, Unsplash]


[Photo by cedar, YWP]
Describe a place (a river valley, a mountain path, a beach) where you feel at peace. Why does this place speak to you? Share a photo if you can.


Write or draw whatever you’re thinking about the end of the school year and the upcoming summer vacation! [​Photo by Sergey Shmidt on Unsplash]


Write an ode to snow, the true marker of winter! [​Photo by Ryan Koble on Unsplash]


Think of a time you felt proud. Were you proud of yourself, or another person? What was it like? Why were you proud? [Photo by Lenstravelier on Unsplash]


Use all five of the following words in a poem or story: Metamorphosis. Spoon. Civilian. Cosmos. Milk. [​Photo by Mike Kenneally on Unsplash]


Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I’ll tell you how the Sun rose,” is full of color and life. Read the poem, watch the sun rise, describe what you see and experience in words or photos. [Photo by Diego PH, Unsplash]


The concept of a “life remote” has been explored in movies, TV shows, and books over the years. If you could, what would you do with a device that allowed you to pause, fast-forward, rewind, or otherwise experiment with reality as it corresponds to a button? [Photo credit: Erik Mclean, Unsplash]


[Photo: Jona, Unsplash]
With their history dating back over a century, drive-in theaters have long played a significant role in American entertainment history. It can also be said that they offer an experience traditional movies theaters do not. Write about your experience at drive-ins, if you’ve ever been, or use one as the setting of a story.

Coloring Book

Adult coloring books are having a moment right now, with new studies lauding the activity as a form of mindfulness and many artists jumping on board. Using one color, outline a detailed scene meant to be colored in. If you have time, make a photocopy and go to town! [Illustration by Katherine Moran, YWP Media Library]


Write about something you wish you had known when you were younger. [​Photo by Vika Strawberrika on Unsplash]


What is something that you really, really hope for – now or in the future? Why is it so important to you? [Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash]

Letter to Me

Write yourself a letter about the things you've missed and what you've noticed or observed during the pandemic. Return to the letter a year after the pandemic has ended, and expect to feel a rush of gratitude for even the smallest, seemingly insignificant things. [Challenge inspired by A 12-Year-Old’s Letter to Her Post-Pandemic Self, New York Times, Dec. 30, 2020]


In a period of extreme chaos, around you physically or perhaps just inside your head, your guardian angel appears for the first time. What was the cause of your distress, and how does the spirit guide you toward a peaceable solution? [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, photo by Alessandra G.]

Love List

Write a list of the things or people or places (or everything and everyone in the world) that you love – take this in any direction you would like! Just a list, no explanations needed. [Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash]

Ode to Food

Write an ode to your favorite foods. How often do you get to have them? Why are they so good? Do you have to prepare them, or do you buy them already made? [​Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash]


Your character is separated from the group on a hike in the woods. Time passes. Night approaches. A rescuer – in the form of an animal – offers help. Tell the story. [​Photo by Marek Szturc on Unsplash]


Draw or write about your own magical creature. What does it look like? What is its personality? [Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash]


In descriptive words, photos, or art, paint a portrait of the month of August as you experience it. This challenge was inspired by AvaClaire's poem, August. [Photo by Anna Tsukanova, Unsplash]


Have you ever experienced something you’ve never been able to explain? If not, have you ever been told a strange tale by someone close to you, about a small happening that defied all logic? Use that moment as inspiration for a story or poem with a decidedly mysterious bent. [Photo credit: Paul Gilmore, Unsplash]


[Photo by Inkpaw; Challenge by Adelle Brunstad]
Describe a small, impactful family moment that has occurred during social distancing. Would it have happened when life was "normal?" How did it make you feel?


If you could have your own private something, what would that something be? Perhaps a beach, or a ski mountain, or a forest? What do you want all to yourself? [​Photo by Luc van Loon on Unsplash]

Message in a Bottle

You are trapped on a deserted island in the middle of the ocean, but you have access to a glass bottle, paper, and a pen. What do you write on the paper? [​Photo by Jayne Harris on Unsplash]

The Future

What do you envision the future will be like? Narrow in on a specific object and describe how it will evolve over time (e.g. a phone). [​Photo by Rock'n Roll Monkey on Unsplash]


Think about a memorable event from your childhood – a loss or win, a move, a difficult learning experience – whatever it is, write about it with as much detail and heart as you can bring to it. [​Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash]


Write a poem that includes the following five words somewhere within it: Watermelon, skip, frog, pretend, feather. [Photo credit: Sahand Babali, Unsplash]


Create a photo that gives a sense of space, either wide, open space, such as in the oceanscape by YWP's Love to write, or close and tight, like the inside of a Thermos in the photo by lia.chien. [Photo credits: Love to write and lia.chien]


“That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.” (Emily Dickinson) In honor of the poet's birthday this week (Dec. 10, 1830), think about her words, and write your own appreciation of life, and living in the here and now. [Photo credit: Emily Dickinson, The Morgan Library & Museum]


What kind of bag do you like to carry around? Or maybe no bag? Describe it. [​Photo by Arno Senoner on Unsplash]

Look Around

Where are you right now? Write down everything you can think of to describe the space you’re in. Use as many metaphors and similes as possible. [​Photo by Phil on Unsplash]


If you could make a potion, what would its purpose be, and what would the ingredients be? Who or what would you use it on? What would it smell and look like? [​Photo by Egor Myznik on Unsplash]


Write a poem as if you are the main character from a favorite book. Veer off from the story and create your own tale. What are you thinking about? What are you trying to do? Include the name of the book that inspired you. [​Photo by Paolo Chiabrando on Unsplash]

Love Poem

The topic is love. Write a poem from any perspective – new love, lost love, imagined love... For inspiration, read "Goldfinch" by liebeslied. [Photo: Nicola Fioravanti, Unsplash]


It’s not unusual to daydream about what life would be like if we “made it big.” But fame and fortune can have their downsides too. Write from the perspective of a fictional celebrity who struggles with their fame and whose only wish is to be an average, unknown person again. [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, Nathaniel Steele]


[Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post]
"There are many horrors in American racial history but also some powerful inspiration," writes columnist Michael Gerson (Washington Post, June 8, 2020). "It is extraordinary that a group of people who came to our country in chains came to understand the essence of Christianity and the essence of our country far better than their oppressors. You might even call it providential....

Great Artists

[Art credit: Wolf Kahn, "Blue Ridge III"]
This prompt is part of THE GREAT ARTISTS CHALLENGE to help you discover, explore, and be inspired by great contemporary artists. Respond anytime to any of the artists – with your own original visual art and/or in writing. You could write an appreciation of the artist's work (include their name) or a poem inspired by them. You could try your hand...

Sentence Completing No. 18

“The other day, I was biking down my street, when …” [​Photo by Tiffany Nutt on Unsplash]


What is a vegetable you really don't like – or one you love? Write an ode to the veggie. [​Photo by Sharon Pittaway on Unsplash]


 Imagine you are a mountain. Are you a giant, like Denali, or a smaller mountain, like Mt. Philo? Are there many hikers on your trails, or are you an unexplored mountain? Write about your life as a mountain. [Photo by Crescent_Moon, YWP]


If you could keep only one of your possessions, which one would it be? Describe it. Explain why it is important to you. [Photo by Roman Kraft, Unsplash]


What is one thing you wish people would stop assuming about you, and why? How would you change their minds, if you were pressed to, or how have you learned to shake off their misguided judgments? [Challenge created by Treblemaker, YWP; Photo: Kevin Huang, YWP Media Library]


[Illustration by cedar, YWP]
 Shadows can have a dramatic effect on a landscape or even a simple object. Experiment with shadows, using photography, watercolor, acrylic, pastels or a simple pencil. Share your work here.


We’ll wager an art teacher has asked you to draw your pet before, but how about a bug? In your own medium, study the intricacies of an insect or arachnid up close. [Photo by Penelope Zygarowski, YWP Media Library]


Send a bouquet of appreciation on Mother's Day! In words or images.


Write a poem in the format of a numbered "To Do" list. Back to school list? Bucket list? Grocery list? Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash


 Brainstorm the color red and jot down everything that it brings to mind. From your list, choose your favorites and create a poetic or photographic tribute to red. [Photo by laurenm, YWP]


[Photo credit: Aaron Burden, Unsplash]
A new year, a new friend, a new book, a favorite new toy of your childhood. Think about the sensation of newness. Use all your senses to describe the feeling.


Write a single line of poetry to use as a springboard, then construct an entirely new poem around it using slight variations: words added, words removed, words rearranged. [Photo credit: Rishab Lamichhane]


One might define serendipity as the phenomenon of something just-perfect “falling into your lap” while not being deliberately sought after. Unlike luck or a more general good fortune that could apply to anyone, serendipity is specific enough to you that it might even feel fated. Write about such an instance in your life or make it fiction! [Photo credit: Cloudkitty, YWP]

Sentence Completing No. 20

“The room was cold and dark, with broken furniture randomly scattered about …” [​Photo by Peter Herrmann on Unsplash]


What’s something you’re excited for this week? [​Photo by Zachary Nelson on Unsplash]


Clouds are a wonder of nature, constantly shifting shape as they move through the sky. Go cloud-watching. Take photos and share them on your blog. [​Photo by Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash]

Ode to Berries

What is your favorite summer berry? Write an ode to it! [​Photo by Zoe Schaeffer on Unsplash]


Fibers and cloth keep us warm and keep us together. Write about a piece of cloth or fabric that has been important to your life. [Challenge created by roxyforthewin, YWP; Photo by Stephane Gagnon, Unsplash]


If you could relive one day of your life over and over –  a la "Groundhog Day," the Bill Murray classic – which one would it be? What made the hours so special to you, or what situation from your past would you try to improve upon? [Photo credit: "Afternoon Sledding," by Vicarious, YWP]

Interpret Poetry

[Edna St. Vincent Millay portrait by Rhys Rountree: Robert Frost by Laura Schaner, Crossroads Academy]
Create visual interpretations of your favorite poems and poets. This challenge came to YWP from English teacher Steven Glazer at Crossroads Academy, Lyme, NH, as part of National Poetry Month organized every April by the Academy of American Poets to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry.

Sentence Completing No. 23

“I stumbled out into the light, only to find …” [​Photo by am JD on Unsplash]


What do you imagine the lines on your hand mean? This doesn’t have to follow any rules of palm reading – make up your own predictions! [​Photo by Luis Quintero on Unsplash]


What is your favorite season? Why? [Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash]


Imagine you are a figure in Greek mythology – what is your story? Who are your parents, what role do you play? [Photo by Pat Whelen on Unsplash]


The crash and flash of thunderstorms can be frightening and dangerous, poetic and inspiring. Describe the experience using as many senses as you can. [Photo by Brandon Morgan, Unsplash]


What makes you happy? Take a photo of it, write a poem, paint or sketch it. This challenge was inspired by the photo above and the poem, “Happy,” by Inkpaw. [Photo credit: Inkpaw, YWP]

Sentence Completing No. 25

“If I could just see behind that curtain, then …” [​Photo by team voyas on Unsplash]


Do you like to garden? Why or why not? If you do, what are your favorite plants to grow? [​Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash]


Listen closely to the noises around you. Are they loud or quiet? Harsh or relaxing? Where are they coming from? [​Photo by Hannah Tims on Unsplash]


If you live in rural New England, are you seeing evidence of "sugaring" season? Take photos of silver sap buckets, taps on maples, and sugar on snow to show YWP friends who don't experience this sweet annual ritual in their home states. [Photo by beautiful, YWP]

Sarah Kay

Take a few minutes to listen to spoken word artist Sarah Kay (pictured above) talk about the poetry form in her "Spoken Word: Roots of Poetry" how-to video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G9qaVXE30FU. And here's a favorite Sarah Kay piece, "Hands:" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuAbGJBvIVY. If you're inspired, write a poem (or reshape an old one) that you want to read out...


Choose a visual subject; the choice is yours. Before you pick up your camera, consider the person, place, or thing from every angle. Use these observations to brainstorm 3-5 differing focuses, moods, or messages you’d like to convey, then photograph your subject accordingly through a variety of perspectives. If you prefer, just post your favorite photo from this experiment. Check out JhermayneU's Quokka photo series here as an...


[Photo: Minneapolis, 6/5/20, Victor J. Blue/The New York Times]
Support for the Black Lives Matter movement has leaped forward since the death of George Floyd in police custody on May 25 ("Public Opinion Rarely Moves Fast, but It Has on Black Lives Matter," New York...


What would it be like to have to climb up ladders for the rest of time? [Photo by Khashayar Kouchpeydeh on Unsplash]


Free write about whatever is on your mind right now, but play with the line formatting. Maybe a certain line needs an extra indent, or there needs to be a new stanza over there, or the lines need to run off of the page to help get your meaning across. [​Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash]


Write a descriptive poem all about your favorite place to park yourself. Is it in a hammock? In an armchair by the fireplace? At your desk? Or under a tree? We’d love to hear about it! [Photo by Crescent_Moon, YWP]


Write your own myth about the creation of our solar system: the stars, the moon, the sun, the planets. Be as whimsical or serious as you wish. [Photo by Dancer, YWP]


[Photo credit: Samur Isma, Unsplash]
It’s never too early to write your bucket list! Pick one thing from your list to elaborate on. Reveal its importance to you and a way to achieve it. If you’re stuck, think about countries to visit, future creative accomplishments, or wild experiences like bungee jumping!

First Line

Write the first line of a story you haven't written yet. Fingers crossed, it will catch on and others will click SPROUT at the bottom of your post and add a second line, a third and on and on! Watch for other writers' first lines and SPROUT from them too. If you need inspiration, go here for some famous first lines!


It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.
–  George Orwell, 1984



Draw, paint, sculpt, or photograph your favorite food or meal. [Miniature sculpture and photo by Katherine Moran, YWP Media Library]


Lines and angles can make dynamic images. Intersecting lines can also add depth to your photos. Look around you and explore interesting angles. Post your favorites here! [Photo credit: YWP Media Library, laurenm]


Pick an era. The 1850s? 1920s? 1960s? Create a character from that time and write a short biography of their life. It could be as short or as long as you like, but try to convey what someone's life might have been like at that time. [Photo British Library, Unsplash]


Begin or end a story with the line, “And that was the moment when I knew it had all flown out of my reach.”  [Photo by Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash]


[Photos: New York Times, Washington Post]
"Did your teachers talk to you about what happened at the Capitol," on Jan. 6? asks LadyMidnight in Tiny Writes. Find the conversation thread in Tiny Writes (posted 01/07/2021 - 9:31pm) and respond there – or here. 




[Illustration by Grace Safford, YWP Archive]
Look at yourself in a mirror, and draw your face without looking down at your paper. Never lift your pencil from the page! Color it in later if you want. Take a photo and post it! Does it look anything like you?


[Illustration by Destiny-Rose Chery, YWP Archive]
"I just want to go ..." finish the sentence and explain where, why, when, and how you will make it happen!


[Photo: YWP Photo Library, Kevin Huang]
"The day that I stopped being afraid of failure was the day my adventure began ..." Begin a story or poem with this phrase, or use the concept as inspiration.

Cover Art

Your art should be on the cover of a book! Post your best photos, drawings, paintings, digital art, sketches, etc., to illustrate the cover of our next anthology – Anthology 13 – to be published in September 2022! You can choose any medium, theme, format, horizontal or vertical, in any color or colors. Post as often as you like. Be sure your work is clear and high resolution for printing. Think of the kind of art that would make you open the book – and get creative! Due May 31

Sticks and Stones

What's something found only outside, in nature, that is special to you? Perhaps it symbolizes something, like hope or unity. [Photo by Ciocan Ciprian on Unsplash]


For many of us, school just started, and it's time to vent: How do you feel about it? Are you ready, or do you never want summer to end? Do you feel like you can express your authentic self at school?


Our personalities don't define who we are. We can put on whatever personality, whenever. You have the freedom to be anyone in the world. Ideally, would you be loud or quiet, strong or smart? It's up to you: who is your fantasical self? The you of your dreams? [Challenge created by elise.writer]