I frequently use writing prompts in my teaching and coaching. In fact, when the pandemic lockdown began in the Northeast, I had a regular weekly group and later developed a course under the umbrella of Prompted Expression. In the spirit of sparking my own creativity and getting ideas for my students and clients, I’ve decided to write from a prompt for seven consecutive days and share the results. The prompts are from a deck of cards called Actually Curious.
Writing Prompt One: Imagine yourself in the future. What will your greatest life accomplishment be?
“Because of your class, I’ve learned to live in a more meaningful way.”
“I never would have taken the next step in my career without your coaching.”
“I save your columns for reading in the evening when I can treasure them.”
When I hear things like this, I nod and take a moment to appreciate the compliment. So gratifying.
But really, it’s bigger than that.
Whether it’s in a senior citizens’ center around a table, on a telephone with a client, or on Zoom with people seeking to express and share, the mission is to use my writing and coaching gifts to the fullest. Ultimately, that’s my life goal and the answer to the question posed in the prompt.
It includes holding up a mirror to people and getting them to see what’s bubbling or lying in wait under the surface. There’s a special something that develops when people are listened to. I mean, really listened to. Not out of obligation, but because someone genuinely wants to know. Their thoughts, wishes, desires begin to come to life outside of the confines of their minds, which gives birth to … possibility.
What better life accomplishment could there be than helping people birth possibility in their lives? For me, this is it. And in order to do it with integrity, I need to be consistently heeding the possibilities that come up for me.
That is why I’m especially proud to give my creative self the space it requires, partly by writing regardless of whether I’m getting paid to do so. Writer is who I am. On the best days, my writing illuminates and inspires, gets people thinking and questioning, pushes their buttons, or some combination of the above. Sometimes I get paid for doing this and sometimes not, but I don’t stray from the mission. Whether it’s a Facebook post or a full-out column, I thrive on expressing my formed thoughts. Sometimes that means taking a “money” job in order to stay on course, and so I do. I am keenly aware my life must always revolve around writing or I won’t be happy.
Maybe that’s the great accomplishment … simply honoring that.
Next up … read Day Two (of Seven).