What are Prompts for Joy?

In a writing class or workshop, a “prompt” is given to suggest a starting point for the writer. Let’s say the prompt is to write something about a tree or forest in your childhood. If you write about the old oak tree in the front yard, or a penchant for climbing trees, or the treehouse club you once belonged to, or living on a tree-less street in the city, the prompt has worked. Think of it as a creative nudge: the kindling that often gets a fire started.

Some people sit down and write beautiful poems and stories without any external prompts. A voice, feeling, reaction, memory or idea emerges from within, and that is enough to get the writing started. Others rely on external prompts to get their pens moving across a page that might have remained blank without that creative nudge.

Likewise, some people seem to tap into joy without external assistance. Others need a prompt or reminder. If on any given day it looks like your glass will be perpetually half-empty, you may need a prompt to turn your perspective around. You may already have some prompts that are uniquely yours. If so, GREAT; my prompt for you is to use one of your prompts, as needed, and keep adding more!

If you feel like you are prompt-deprived, it may be too overwhelming if I suggest that you think about things that have brought joy to you in the past. So, my prompt for you is to think about each of your senses. Is there something that, when seen, lifts you to a better place? The picture above (with thanks to photographer Bob Kato) reminds me of the luminarios in El Paso, Texas at Christmas-time, when I was a young child. Is there a sound in nature or in music, made by you or others, that is particularly uplifting? What would taste really good right now, and how might it alter your attitude or mindset? If you could sniff something that would transport you to a joyful memory, what would it be? And finally, I bet your fingers or skin have touched a beloved plant, pet, object or person that gave you joy. Hopefully, these questions have set your pen in motion across the page that might have the following heading: Prompts for Joy.

Click here for past (2007 thru 2009) Prompts for Joy from my newsletter, Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2010 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2011 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2012 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2013 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2014 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2015 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2016 issues of Out on a Limb.

Click here for Prompts for Joy from 2017 issues of Out on a Limb.




Martha Clark Scala, MFT • 721 Colorado Ave., Suite 201, Palo Alto, CA 94303 •

info@MCScala.com