Friday Fun-Day Writing Prompt: What You Know for Sure

Given my earlier announcement about the Writer’s Market call for submissions, I think it’s only appropriate that today’s writing prompt be along the lines of an article or personal essay. In particular, we’re going to explore what we know for sure.

The Oprah Magazine prints a monthly column called “What I Know for Sure”. In truth, no one knows anything for sure. Even Oprah admits that she “knows” nothing (which I’m glad she admitted, considering wise men and women know that they know nothing). However, we all know at least one thing almost for sure.

We all have our expertise, whether it’s a career area, an academic field, or a slice of wisdom or common sense. My expertise lies in writing, migraines, Disney, and Harry Potter–although I’m still learning more about these subjects each day. You may not know what yours is but, trust me, it’s there; you just have to find it.

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Today we’re tapping into that expertise and utilizing it for creative productivity.

I want you to write an article or personal essay on one thing you know for sure. This can be anything–bike riding, knitting, surviving a natural disaster, nearly ruining your own life, anything. The twist is that I want you to write this article or essay as advice to people either looking to perfect your area of expertise or who have been in a similar situation and don’t know how to continue.

Don’t make your piece step-by-step instructions. Instead, make it personable, including details from your own experience, whether you’re writing an article or a personal essay. Imagine that someone is reading your work to find a kindred spirit who can help them succeed. What would you expect or want to see if you were that reader? What do you wish you had known earlier? What have you noticed about this area that no one else seems to notice?

Even though the work is a nonfiction article/personal essay, it shouldn’t be boring. Have fun with it, dig deep into your experiences and channel your emotions while keeping the facts straight. It may be about what you “know for sure,” but no one will believe you if your personal connection isn’t strong and your so-called “facts” are inaccurate.

How did this exercise turn out for you? Have you salvaged the beginning of a nonfiction book or an article to submit to a magazine? Have you learned that you know something or that you don’t? Did you revisit life experiences that you had forgotten about, stuff that not only renders fruit for nonfiction but for fiction and poems as well? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.


Designed by Stephanie Hoogstad circa 2011

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