Word Gardens

I went to the Botanical gardens a few weeks ago. Mainly I was there to get some work done, and the gardens are a nice place to read or write. But I remembered, while I was there, an assignment that a teacher once had us to called Word Gardens.

Word Gardens, the way I remember it, was fairly simple – write down a group of words. Words you overhear, words that describe things you are seeing, every 10th word in a book…whatever strikes you. Write a list of them.

Then, turn the into a poem. It doesn’t have to be a good poem; it doesn’t even need to make sense. I ended up with random phrases and fragments. The point isn’t necessarily to produce the next literary masterpiece; the point is simply to write. To take things and combine them in different ways.

If you’re really ambitious, write a little story. 500 words.

I’ve also been in seminars that used photos as writing prompts. Here’s a photo a took at the botanical gardens that day…

I took this photo because I love flowers in dark colors. Black, dark purple, deep red, burnt orange. I need a garden full of flowers in this colors. What if there was a garden full of flowers in these colors? What would the purpose be? What would it symbolize? Why is it there? Who planted it and why?

It’s remarkably easy to create word gardens and story ideas if you stop and look around.

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