Writing Prompts

Word Prompt: Consider | Story Prompt: from the book “Bad Feminist: Essays” by Roxane Gay

Write It Out: Instruction Video – coming soon.

‘Life, apparently, requires a trigger warning.

This is the uncomfortable truth: everything is a trigger for someone. There are things you cannot tell just by looking at someone.

We all have history. You can think you’re over your history. You can think the past is the past. And then something happens, often innocuous, that shows you how far you are from over it. The past is always with you. Some people want to be protected from this truth.

I used to think I didn’t have triggers because I told myself I was tough. I was steel. I was broken beneath the surface, but my skin was forged, impenetrable. Then I realized I had all kinds of triggers. I simply had buried them deep until there was no more room inside me. When the dam burst, I had to learn how to stare those triggers down. I had a lot of help, years and years of help.

I had writing.’


I was in an on-line writing workshop with other writers from all over the world. We’d get prompts each week and would write something resulting from the prompts. Each week in the six week course there was a focus on making sure we were using a particular sense (one of sight, scent, taste, touch, sound, and intuition). Not at the expense of the other senses, of course. Then we’d title and share our stories with each other, for practice and feedback.

I really enjoy doing this kind of practice, because it always amazes me that I can come up with a story from almost “nothing”. It really feels like magic. Not only that, but that all the other writers in the workshop come up with stories too, and each story is so unique from the others. I really opens my eyes to the possibilities of storytelling.

I’ve taking this workshop a few years in a row now, and I admit that this is the first year I’ve noticed that some of the writers have added “trigger warnings” to the top of their stories. This is what prompted my choice of reading this week. I had asked the group if there were any “rules” around the use of adding trigger warnings, and one writer suggested I read this book. I just loved that one response to my question was a book referral!

What makes this story even better, is that, after receiving the book referral, I happened to be on Instagram and in my feed was a post by @littlefreelibrary_steve showing the exact book that had just been recommended. Of course, I messaged and they graciously set the book aside for me. I’m almost finished; it’s a great read. I highly recommend it.

Oh – and as far as rules go for trigger warnings, I’d say go with your gut.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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