blank notebook and pen

Renewing Writing Prompts for January

It’s the start of a new year, which, for many of us, symbolizes a new beginning. If you’re ready for a fresh start in your poetry practice, we’ve selected eight renewing writing prompts for January. So sit back and let your inspiration flow. 


Letting go

Welcoming a new year also requires us to shed the old one. What harmful habits, relationships, or vices might you leave behind? What will you replace them with? Write a poem bidding the toxic elements in your life goodbye so you can make room for new positive ones. 


Practicing gratitude

It’s no secret that practicing gratitude can help us maintain a more positive mindset. Despite the difficulties 2020 brought us, it’s important to pause for a moment and reflect on the things we can be grateful for. Write a poem about something or someone in your life that you’re happy to have. 


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

This iconic civil rights leader needs no introduction. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, and there are many ways to honor him through poetry this month. Whether you’d like to write an ode to his life and work, a haiku on the ideas of nonviolence and civil disobedience, or a poem about any other element of his life and legacy, there is plenty to draw from in his story. 


Standing in awe

What’s something that never fails to amaze you? A beautiful landscape? A favorite meal? A book dear to your heart? Write a poem about something that takes your breath away. Take time to describe every little element that inspires your mind. How do those parts make a whole? 


Celebrating Carl Sandburg

Swedish-American poet Carl Sandburg was born on January 6, 1878. His poetry, prose, children’s books, and even folk music were enormously popular and uniquely American. Sandburg earned three Pulitzer Prizes over the course of his career, but his life is far more than his literary career. He was also a journalist, historian, and vocal supporter of the civil rights movement. Write a poem inspired by Sandburg’s amazing life or inspired by his beloved, rich poetic style. 


Feeling the blank

Writer J.D. Harms shared his poetry prompt “Feeling the blank” on Medium this year. How does the idea of a blank slate make you feel? Does a blank page intimidate or inspire you? This poetry prompt is a great way for writers to explore their feelings of fear, emptiness, or intimidation, as well as the feelings of potential and possibility. 


Returning to your roots

Take a moment to reflect on what sparked your initial interest in writing. Was it a teacher? A friend? A special book or poem? Return to that early feeling and re-imagine the journey of discovering new work and beginning to create your own. 


Embracing your age

With each new year comes a new slew of lessons learned. What have you learned over the course of your life? How did last year feel different than the ones before? Consider the wisdom you’ve gained and contemplate the experiences yet to come. How does it feel to be exactly who you are right now? Write a poem reflecting on those thoughts.