1. What specific sensory detail outside your window tells you that spring has arrived? Is it the first wave of bright green grass, the smell of budding flowers, the song of the birds returning from winter? Write about the sensations that tell you spring has arrived as well as their impact on your emotions.
2. Write about a particularly memorable spring holiday, whether it’s Easter, Passover, Nowruz, Mother’s Day, etc. What about this day stands out in your memories now? Can you recall what the weather was like, what you ate, what you were wearing? What conversations did you have? What was the prevailing emotion of the day?
3. April showers may bring May flowers, but neither can come without the thawing mud of March. What metaphorical mud do you need to slog through in your writing life to reach spring this year? What needs to be treated and tilled so new creative life can grow?
4. After a long season of stark white and brittle brown, many of us hunger for any sign of green in the window. If you had to pick a favorite, which would you say is your favorite shade of spring green? Is it the yellow-green color of tiny buds on the trees, the vivid shade of just-blanched asparagus, the rich emerald of clover? How would you describe that green and what it represents to someone who had never experienced it? Write a poem or a piece of flash nonfiction dedicated to this particular shade of spring green.
5. For many, the end of winter marks the return of baseball, often fondly called America’s Favorite Pastime. Do you think the phrase still accurately suits the sport today? If so, defend your case; if not, pen an argument for what you think could more accurately be called America’s Favorite Pastime in 2022.
1. Hear the collective groan of new freelancers everywhere? That’s right – it’s tax season. Take deep breaths, stay hydrated, and don’t wait until the last minute (even if you pay quarterly). This year, pay careful attention to what information you don’t have readily available. What has you frantically paging through your emails or credit card statements? Where can you keep better records for 2022? Making note of these trouble spots now will help prevent future struggles. Consider recording what you did in order this season to serve as a step-by-step instruction manual to soften the learning curve for next time.
2. After you file, take a small moment to celebrate – and then create templates for your 2022 finances based on the documents you used for your 2021 filing. Taking the time now will prevent the last-minute scramble next year.
3. The post-tax season is the perfect time to straighten out your hard drive. Comb through your documents and organize them. Create a naming convention for your drafts and files if you don’t have one yet. Clean up that chaotic desktop. Empty your trash can. And for heaven’s sake, name all those untitled folders already.
4. Your digital spaces are in order. Now it’s time to turn your attention to your physical ones. Wait until the first sunny day where it’s warm enough to open all the windows and then clean your favorite writing and reading spaces while enjoying the fresh spring air. Fill your lungs with the crisp breeze of a new season and free yourself from all the clutter you’ve accumulated over the long, dark winter. (We know you’ve done a lot of organization already this season, but trust us and do your decluttering in spring – this isn’t a task you’ll want to do in the dead of winter or the wilting heat of July.)
5. Spring marks the start of writing conference season – have you filled your calendar with events yet? Many of the gatherings this season will probably be hybrid or virtual events, so don’t sweat it too much if you haven’t started researching them until now. Start with events near you and in your state, then branch out to specific nationwide events with an emphasis in your genre. Check your local universities for festivals or readings, too.
1. This is the time of year when bees emerge from their hives, eager to find pollen and replenish depleted rations. If you were to imagine a colony of humans inspired by a beehive, what would it look like? Who would live there? What would be at stake for these characters? What would threaten its existence?
2. A protagonist witnesses their neighbor growing – or burying – something highly unusual in their garden. What is it? And, more importantly, what is your character going to do about it?
3. Alternatively, imagine your protagonist has become determined to plant something seemingly impossible to grow. What obstacles stand in their way, and do they ultimately succeed in their goal?
4. Graduation ceremonies are rife with pomp, circumstance, and plenty of high-stakes emotion. Imagine an argument that takes place at one such ceremony. What sparks the conflict? What does each party want? How will it be resolved? (For extra credit, write the same argument scene from another character’s viewpoint after you’ve finished.)
5. Spring is a season of new beginnings. Take a character from a story you’ve been working on and imagine they’re offered a fresh start from whatever’s been holding them back – but it comes at a cost. Would they accept the offer? How can you best render their internal conflict on the page for the reader?
—Nicki Porter served as the editor of The Writer from 2016 to 2022; she previously served as its associate editor. Before helming The Writer, she worked as a food editor for Madavor Media and America’s Test Kitchen. She’s also written for a number of publications and spoken at writing conferences across the country. Learn more at nickiporter.com.