Unlock your creative power and explore your gender identity with five prompts in honor of Women’s History Month!
Writing Prompt #1
Think of a person in your life who has inspired you. Write a poem where each stanza focuses on a different memory of this person’s small acts that had a big impact on your life.
Writing Prompt #2
Read through the iconic We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks. This poem is well known amongst spoken word poets because of the inherent rhythm in this poem — whether it is read out loud or on the page.
Keeping this rhythm and structure in mind, write a poem where instead of “We,” you use your own pronouns (i.e. she, they, ze, he, etc.) throughout the piece. Why are YOU real cool?
Writing Prompt #3
The late Joan Didion was a prolific essayist and journalist, and an inspiration to many women writers. Her famous essay, “On Keeping A Notebook,” from Slouching Towards Bethlehem, argues that diary entries are less about recording factual information and more about remembering one’s emotions and the people we’ve been in the past.
Find an old diary entry, note on your phone or other writing from your past. This can be as recent as yesterday or from your childhood. Write a reflective essay or poem about what it was like to revisit your old writing. Bonus: try to use some of the language in the old piece of writing in your new one.
Writing Prompt #4
Think of a time when you have encountered a form of gender oppression or gender stereotyping.
Set a timer for three minutes. Write an un-edited rant addressing the thing or person that held you back. Can you turn this rant into an edited piece of writing, such as an op-ed, essay or poem?
Writing Prompt #5
Read through Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens. Many versions of this poem have been written by poets trying to flip one specific subject in every angle possible. Using the same format as Wallace Stevens, write a poem entitled “Thirteen Ways of Looking at Gender.” Consider what gender means, or doesn’t mean, to you as you write. For more inspiration, check out Mentee Grace Cuddihy’s piece, “13 Ways of Looking at Being Female-Bodied.”
Samantha Arriozola (she/her/hers) is a Chicana writer and youth worker from the Chicagoland-area. She has spent the past seven years working within nonprofit spaces and community centers in Madison, WI and NYC. Sam received her B.A. in English-Creative Writing as a proud member of the 8th Cohort of First Wave -- a Hip-Hop and urban arts full-tuition scholarship program at UW-Madison, centering the pursuit of higher education with arts, academics, and activism. Sam is a poet with roots in the world of spoken word poetry and slam, a background which has carried over in coaching young spoken word artists to compete in the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival in 2017 and 2018. Most recently, Sam has been working with Writopia Lab as a private tutor, workshop instructor, and even went to camp for the first time since she was 10 this past summer. Sam's poetry has been published in Pinwheel Journal (2018) and Cutthroat Journal: Contemporary Chicanx Writers Anthology (2020). Sam lives in Queens with her human and plant roommates, editing both her own and fellow writers' work with chamomile tea. She is a current fellow at Girls Write Now.
Vahni Kurra (she/hers) hails from disparate parts of the American Midwest with roots in Southern India. She recently earned a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Kenyon College, where she co-edited Hika, Kenyon's oldest, student-run literary magazine. Vahni's work centers on themes of displacement, and her personal essay, "Banana Republic," was published in Oyster River Pages. She is currently the book review editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection. Vahni has always been a strong advocate for the rights of women and trans* folks, as she has interned for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and helped facilitate a peer support program for Kenyon students impacted by sexual assault. Vahni is excited to blend her passions for gender equality and creative writing as she works with Girls Write Now to ensure that all mentees have the same opportunities that she did to pursue their artistic and personal dreams.