Monday, December 28, 2015

100 writing prompts / ice breakers!

If you know me but at all, you know that I love ice breakers. I love using them even with -- actually, especially with -- people I already know well, and I could ask and answer them for hours.

I also know how hard it can be to come up with a writing prompt, either for a fresh blog post or just to get those writing juices flowing.

So if you either a) love ice breakers or b) struggle to come up with writing topics, it's your lucky day! Because I've come up with 100 prompts/talking topics below. You'll find that some of them are probably too private for anything beyond your journal, but most of them are group chat-friendly. Feel free to enjoy!

1. Describe what it's like to be in a car wash.

2. Describe what it's like to watch ocean waves come in and out of tide. What is your unique experience like, when you stand at the shore? Describe it physically and emotionally.

3. What was one of your favorite toys as a child, and why?

It could be something simple -- in fact that could be more interesting. Just explain what about it captivated you.

4. What's a book that you would want everyone to read, and why?

5. Who is your favorite comedian and why? What is it about their humor that gets you? Be specific.

6. What was your first kiss like? Fun, awkward, nerve wracking? Did you feel a spark? Did you wish -- at the time -- that it was with someone else?

7. What's something within your religion (or lack of religion) that you struggle with believing/understanding?

8. Would you rather be rich or influential? Why?

9. What friendship in your life surprised you? What do you think made you change your mind about the person?

10. What is your favorite sad song to listen to? Does it make you sad? Do you listen to it when you're sad?

11. What is a song that always gets you smiling/gets your toes tapping?

12. What's one of the weirdest locations you've ever made out in? Were you uncomfortable or did you think it was fun and exhilarating?

13. Tell the tale of one of the most romantic dances you can remember. Where were you? Who were you dancing with? What music was playing, if any?

14. Have you ever received flowers unexpectedly? Describe it. Were they from someone you wanted to receive flowers from, or was it awkward? Were they apology flowers? Courting flowers? Something else?

15. What is your stance regarding PDAs? Does your opinion change when it applies to you versus someone else? Why?

16. Who is your favorite immediate family member? What about more distant relatives? What about them appeals to you, or gives you a special connection?

17. Name a celebrity that for some unknown reason just doesn't appeal to you. Try and pinpoint what it is about him or her that prevents you from particularly caring about them. Do you find that it's rational? Silly? Something else entirely?

18. If you were a teacher/professor, what age would you want to teach, and why? What subject(s)? Would you want to also coach a sports team or oversee a club? If so, which one(s)?

19. What's one of the most unexpected music venues you stumbled upon that really made you happy? Perhaps a concert a friend dragged you to, or some unknown musician in an abandoned coffee house.

20. Is there anything really terrible or dishonest you've said to someone in the past that you would take back? What is it? Or, is there something you wish you would have said that you didn't?

21. Describe an occasion in which you were extremely nervous -- riding a roller coaster, a nail-biting job interview, asking your crush out in high school...what went through your mind and body as you went through it, and what was the result?

22. What's the most fun you've ever had at a wedding (it's OK if you describe a wedding other than your own)? Describe it -- location, number of guests, relation to the person getting married, your date, your outfit.

23. Describe the nicest hotel room you've ever stayed in. Who paid for it? Did you do anything especially luxurious, like order room service or wear the bathrobe?

24. What's the most rigorous hike or longest race you've ever completed? Talk about the details -- the preparation (or lack thereof), the exercise itself, breaks, snacks, how you felt when you day later, one week later?

25. What's the farthest distance you've ever driven solo? Where did you go and why were you alone? Would you have preferred company or did you enjoy the time to yourself?

26. Do you have a favorite kind of donut or pastry? Is it from a specific location, or can it be generically purchased? Do you eat it often, or once in a while? Was it at a café in France to which you may never return?

27. Describe an occasion in which you were offered a job but didn't take it. Why did you turn it down? Do you ever regret it, or wonder how your life would be different if you had accepted the offer?

28. If someone gave you the afternoon off today, what would you do? Run errands, get a mani pedi, go back to bed, create something?

29. If you could get on a plane to anywhere, today, but you had to be back in 48 hours, where would you go? Don't necessarily select some place far away (unless that's where you'd prefer to go); if you would go somewhere relatively non-exotic but that's where you feel like being right now, then choose that place. Just be honest, and explain your choice.

30. What's the most extreme weather you've ever encountered? Were you safe at home, in a car, out in the elements? Were you scared, excited, both?

31. Describe a time you were extremely ill.

32. Talk about one of your all time favorite teachers.

33. Have you ever paid a giant library fine? About how much was it? Was it worth it?

34. Has anyone ever given you life-altering advice? Who gave it to you and what was the advice? Did you think it was significant at the time it was given to you?

35. Are you a dog person, cat person, or no animal person? Why?

36. Who were you most jealous of in your high school? Why? Was it someone you were friends with, or not?

37. Have you ever been to Disneyland or Disney World? If not, do you have a desire to go?

38. Have you ever cut your hair extremely short, or gone bald? Ever grown your hair very long? Was it by choice? Under the direction of a parent? Medically related?

39. Did you ever ditch school? Was it nerve wracking? Exhilarating? Not as fun as you thought? Worth it?

40. Describe your worst break up, divorce, or end of a friendship. It's OK if you feel the end of a friendship was more significant than the end of a romantic one; just be honest and explore the feelings.

41. Have you ever kept something to yourself for a very long time (maybe you're still holding on to it) because you felt no one would understand? What is it. Would you tell a therapist? Why or why not?

42. Have you ever lost a pet? What was the experience like?

43. Have you ever lost someone close to you? Was it an expected death? Did you find out about the death years after it happened, or maybe indirectly?

44. Were you in any sports teams or clubs in high school? Are there any you wish you had participated in?

45. If you were dropped back into high school today, what would you do differently? How would your confidence level compare to that of when you were a teenager, if any different at all?

46. Do you like your name (first, last, or both)? Do you secretly hate (or love) your married name? Would you change it?

47. Have you ever waited in line overnight for something? What was it for -- movie screening, new book release, an iPhone, year supply of Chick-fil-A?

48. What was one of your favorite Christmases? What made it special -- a destination, special guest, great gift, or maybe a lack of all the gift-buying craziness?

49. Describe your least favorite Christmas. What made it so difficult or disappointing?

50. Are there any items you continue to buy, even though you have plenty on hand? School/office/craft supplies, pet toys, stationery, kitchen gadgets, dishes, gifts for grandkids?

51. Would you say you're a penny pincher, a shopaholic, or somewhere in between? What do you think shaped your spending habits? Do you wish they were different? Why or why not?

52. What's your favorite fast food joint? Why? What's your favorite menu item? Do you always order the same thing? Are you a drive-thru user?

53. What's your favorite Starbucks/Caribou/Coffee Bean/Peet's beverage? What about it appeals to you? How often do you purchase it?

54. Do you enjoy setting up camp at a coffee shop? Why or why not? Do you work or do something for pleasure while you sit? Do you prefer to have company or fly solo? Are you pals with your local coffee shop baristas?

55. What's the most frustrating thing about your pet?

56. Describe a task in your job that you hate. Describe one you love.

57. Do you love your job? Like it? Hate it? Explain. Would you look for another one? Why or why not?

58. Pick a holiday you celebrate, and describe your traditions surrounding it. If you observe it but don't have a lot of traditions surrounding it, why is that so? Do you wish you had more or fewer traditions?

59. Which amusement park is your favorite? What makes it special to you? If you had the option to go today, would you?

60. Is there a rabbi or pastor who is your favorite? Is it someone who is broadcast on the radio, or your every-Sabbath parishioner? Is it a family member, or your spouse? What is it about his or her messages and personality that captivate you?

61. What about your longtime partner or spouse first attracted you to him or her? Were you attracted to him or her right away (physically or personality wise)?

62. What is your all time favorite TV show? Why do you love it? Be specific. Is there anyone in your life who you really wish would watch it? What do you think they would gain from it?

63. Do you have a Netflix account? Cable? No television whatsoever? Why? How often do you watch, and what kind of things do you watch -- mostly cartoons for your kids, documentaries, crime dramas?

64. Do you like sitcoms, or do you find them to be predictable and corny? Explain.

65. If you could only see one of the following genres in movie theaters (you're free to watch what you want at home) for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Drama, comedy, romance, horror, adventure/fantasy, children's/animation, indie/documentary. Why did you make the selection you did?

66. What aggravates you more -- rising gas prices, or the rise of movie theater ticket price? Are you indifferent to both? Why?

67. Describe what you would do if dropped at the mall, by yourself, for five hours. Would you buy a pretzel, get a manicure, shop for clothes, shop for gadgets, walk, sit? Would you enjoy it or hate it?

68. How would your answer to the above question change if you were with someone? Who would you choose to take with you?

69. Do you prefer perfectly posed or candid photographs? Why? Assuming you had a professional photographer, what kind of photo would you prefer for your wedding? Your child's bar/bat mitzvah/quinceanera? A wedding anniversary or child's birthday party?

70. Air out all your thoughts regarding salad. Be honest.

71. What is an irrational fear of yours? How intense is it, and what triggers it?

72. Do you prefer fruits or vegetables? Why?

73. Do you have a craft that you're in to? What is it? Do you prefer to work on it by yourself or with others?

74. Do you like to work with your hands? Why or why not?

75. Do you like to write or do you hate it? If you write for a living, do you like it, or do you just feel you're good at it? Describe the different emotions you go through when writing a book, freelance piece, news article, blog post, letter, or journal entry.

76. Do you keep a journal? How often do you write in it? What do you write about? Describe the physical nature of the journal. Do you use pen or pencil to write?

77. Do you have a pen pal? Do you email or hand write? Do you send small items with your letters?

78. If you had $20, who in your family would you send a care package to? What would you fill it with? Assume postage is no cost to you.

79. Do you wear make up? Why or why not? If you do, do you wish you didn't? If you don't, do you wish you did?

80. How long do you take to get ready? For work? School? Going out with friends? A first date? Second date? Date with your longtime partner/spouse? Do you ever wish that you spent more or less time getting ready? Do you wish your partner spent more or less time getting ready?

81. Would you say you're a very patient, somewhat patient, or very impatient person? Why do you think you are that way? Have you always been that way? Do you think you could change? Would you want to change?

82. What do you like to eat for breakfast? At home, at your desk at work, and at a restaurant?

83. How are you with naps? Can you take one pretty much any time? Do you struggle to fall asleep?

84. Describe your bedtime routine. Do you wash your face? Read? Floss? Wear a retainer?

85. Does your pet sleep with you? Do you wish he/she did or didn't sleep with you?

86. Do you prefer scented or unscented lotion?

87. Do you wear perfume? What scent? Do you wear it to attract others, or because you enjoy smelling it on yourself?

88. Do you have a favorite Christmas carol? Do you prefer to sing it, or listen to someone else sing it? Do you like Christmas music? What about it attracts or irks you?

89. Do you have a recurrent or chronic injury/illness/ailment? What is the most worrisome, aggravating, or unfair thing about it? Are there any secret perks (extra attention, handicapped parking, skipping line rides)?

90. Is there something about your physical appearance that you feel causes people to look at you differently? Are you in a wheelchair? Are you missing a limb? Do you have a limp, or use a cane? Is your hair an unnatural color? Do you have a lot of piercings or tattoos? How does it feel when people stare at you? Do you like it, hate it, or are you numb to it?

91. Do you have an accent? Do you like that you have it? Do people comment on it a lot?

92. Do you ever feel judged, mistreated, or misunderstood because of your age? How does it make you feel?

93. Describe what you think makes you intelligent. Are you good with spatial thinking? Musically inclined? Do you simply read a lot? Know a lot of trivia? Do you think you're particularly smart in one area/expertise, or do you think you're generally smart without a firm grasp of any one field/practice?

94. Do you think you're good at your job? Money aside, do you wish you could try another profession?

95. Do you prefer to spend your lunch hour alone or with people? Do you focus on eating during that time or doing something?

96. Do you prefer to walk or run? Why?

97. Do you sell handmade items? What kind of things do you make? Do you make a fair amount of profit?

98. If you didn't have to earn a salary, what would you want to do with your time 40 hours a week? Do you think anyone's feelings would get hurt, or that people would judge you for your decision (for example, if you want to be a stay at home parent, or if you don't want to be a stay at home parent)? Is it such hurt feelings and judgment that are stopping you from making a change? Money? Something else?

99. Would you consider having a nanny for your children? Why? What is your argument for or against the service? What about daycare?

100. What do you order at a sushi restaurant? Do you like to share, or keep your dish to yourself?

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