What better time than summer to celebrate the terrestrial. For this week’s creative prompts, our theme is land. Take a few minutes, or more, to consider the earth we wander—or art it out, whatever your medium may be.

  • Take off your shoes, and set your feet down on a natural surface (grass, sand, dirt, stone). Describe the experience in tactile terms.
  • Earthquakes can deform railroad tracks in surprising ways. Write about a powerful force—physical or otherwise—that forever alters something, but does not break it.
  • Consider a geographical elevation that is not a mountain—e.g., a hill, a mound, dunes. Can you create a narrative in that shape, one that doesn’t follow the traditional triangle to a peak?
  • Using Google Earth, zoom in on your childhood home, and write verse or prose about it.
  • Write a piece composed entirely of questions about dirt, soil, and rocks.
  • Draw a map of some land you know well, whether thousands of miles of national forest, or the small space of your childhood backyard fort. Annotate with words, sentences, or fragments of stories that took place on that land.
  • Use old maps here or here as a jumping-off point. Think on forgotten place names, shifting boundaries, and the use of color.
  • Include multiple cartographic terms in verse or prose.
  • Imagine the land beneath you as it was 100 years ago. Or 1,000. Or 1,000,000. Describe one small thing that was different, and also one huge thing.
  • Print out a map on which to mark places you’ve lived. You can do this macro (by city) or micro (by house). Include every place or just places from a certain timeframe. Connect the dots and consider the resulting shape in writing.

Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit and when it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.

[Photograph of Montana Hwy 200, outside Great Falls, by Submittable team member Kelly Hart]

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