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A Dark Tunnel (writing prompt)

Writing Prompts

Four squares making a square. The first is white with text that says 'a dark tunnel' the next square is of a seed pod that looks like a spider web, the third square is a yellow road plate that says warrior on it, and the fourth square is light green and contains the word served

Hello from a soon-to-be hot week. Though I am not fond of 99F° (37°C) days, this does not stop such days from happening anyway, WHICH OF COURSE I CAN TIE TO WRITING YOU JUST WATCH ME.

So it's like this: if we haven't written in awhile and we have this itchy inkling feeling we no longer can and so we don't…


Well would you look at that, the-not-writing happened, so hey, what exactly have we got to lose by kicking our doubts to the curb, biting the bit, and writing something now anyway. It couldn't possibly be worse than the spiritual tumbleweeds of writing nothing at all.

Writing: The Garbage Will Do (Cause There's No Such Thing)

I have been a professional writer and semi-prolific fic writer for lo these many years and I still have days where I all-caps go, "I haven't written creatively all week what if I AM NOW INCAPABLE?"

And what I over-and-endlessly-over tell myself on those days is, "The garbage will do. Cause no writing is garbage. Put the most meager words on the page, Atlin. Write the absolute skrunkliest paragraph you have ever skrunkled. Then you can walk away! You can have a coffee. Or stare at ants. The world is then your 99F° (37°C) oyster, just do that one thing!"

And here's the thing: THAT WORKS. That works every time. I always, always write something.

So that's what these weekly prompt are meant to do for us both. You don't wanna write cause you don't have time, but you do have time, but you don't because you're afraid of 'it's been so long I forgot how' and so you don't write and you, me, we? We can keep going in that circle until something shoulder checks us from walking round-and-round and so…

…Consider This Your Shoulder Check, Kid

Write something this week. Write it here if you wish, in the comments, sharing with us so we can love on it like I loved Verity Burns' prompt fill last week. There's no formal anything here. Write fiction. Non-fiction. Poem yourself up. Draw something if that's your you.

Share it here (be patient as I have to moderate comment due to spam), or don't. Just do the thing you've not done. Let this get you there and then next week come back again and do it again, and before you know it you're less afraid you forgot how and you find yourself daydreaming on the best way to extend those three paragraphs you wrote last week into an entire story (something I did and then sold that story) and look, you went and broke the circle.

We've read it a hundred times and gave it the finger every single one of them, but you can't add to or edit what you haven't written continues to be an annoying truth, so just write something.

Let the prompt above inspire you or look at some ants if they do it, or promise yourself a coffee if you put a hundred words on the page whatever works is what works for you.

Now I'm going to go stare at ants because I said it so many times I feel like there's some sort of secret revelation waiting.

(Here's a revelation: revelations are everywhere, we just have to look.)

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  • Verity on


    “I live to serve,” she says, rolling her eyes as she picks up dirty laundry that isn’t hers.

    The eye roll implies sarcasm, but she’s forgotten how to do it right.
    It’s not ironic when it’s true.

    “The secret of a happy marriage is convincing your husband that whatever you want to do is his idea,” she confides to her teenage daughter.

    Her daughter believes her through three miserable marriages; not an honest moment in any of them.

    Her personality can fill the whole damned room, but the moment her husband walks in, she fades so hard you have to look twice to be sure she’s still with you.

    Because for him to feel big, she has to be small.

    She’s living her life around the edges of his.

  • Narrelle M Harris on

    I love this piece, Atlin!!

  • Atlin Merrick on

    If I see the phrase ‘stolen valor’ one more time I will riot.

    Because those words smell so much of gatekeeping, of comparing wounds, of declaring whose bleed is more valid, who deserves the admired whisper of ‘warrior.’ Except here’s the thing: no one can steal what you’ve earned by your own hand. If your suffering has brought you pride or serenity or sorrow I can no more take those from your heart than you can police what’s in mine, and for every person who’s decided I’ve not felt misery enough to be called brave or hero or strong, oh do come closer because I’d like to show you how strong I am, and no I won’t tell you how that’s gonna manifest.

    My point is you know nothing about the struggles it took for me to stand this tall, you don’t know of the self-doubts that worm through ever part of my soul telling me I’m unworthy, and you never will because I owe you nothing but the same kind of kindess I ask. So stop gatekeeping respect. Do not demand I compare my wounds to yours so we can declare a winner. Do not tell me how I measure up, and therefore how much consideration you think this earns me.

    Some days, oh some long and terrible days I start deep in the dark of an endless tunnel, and if it’s by my own will I get myself into the light? Well then, that’s valor my friend, and that valor is mine, fair and square.

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