It’s springtime and like many others, I have been tidying, sorting and clearing things out. As a consequence of this spring cleaning, piles of boxes have been moved, used and emptied. And, of course, that has got me thinking creatively about these containers and their metaphorical meaning.
This week’s creative prompt is box. Each week we begin with a single word and expand it to inspire writing fiction, journaling and other creative activities. These creative prompts, are to give me, and anyone else who wants to join in, some inspiration for creative work, personal development and even a little self-care.
The word box can mean and be used in many things. It is the sort of word that has literal, practical uses, but also has metaphorical and even spiritual connotations. It is a business cliche to ‘think outside the box’ and is often used by businesses in the wrong way leading to a move away from their core aim. However, for creativity, thinking outside of the box, or the rules, is what makes genius art.
box — a container with a flat base and sides, typically square or rectangular and having a lid, an area on a page that is to be filled in or that contains separate printed matter, a separate section or enclosed area reserved for a group of people, a protective casing for a piece of a mechanism
— verb: put in or provide with a box
Box has an additional meaning to hit, or fight, using hands or fists. It’s not really what I had in mind for a creative prompt. However, sometimes the only way out of a situation, especially creative ruts, is to fight or let off some steam, to punch something even if that punch is metaphorical.
Box can be used as a noun and verb
carton, pack, packet, package; case, crate, chest, trunk, coffer, casket, hamper, canteen; bin, drum, canister; container, receptacle, repository, holder, vessel, booth, cubicle, kiosk, cabin, hut; enclosure, compartment, carrel, cupboard, cubbyhole, alcove, bay, recess, and package, pack, parcel, wrap, bundle, bale, crate, stow, store, put away
Let the prompt ‘box’ inspire you in any area of creativity that you are interested:
- writing fiction
- art journaling
- blog posts
- art therapy
- anything that could use a little nudge to begin
A Fiction Writing Prompt exploring the word box to stretch the literary muscles. No rules. No word counts. Simply write and explore. It’s time to let your creative writing skills free.
I had no idea what was inside. However, I began to remove the box’s lid.
Writing Prompt Expanded
As part of my spring clean, I have been putting things into boxes. Each box is even a nice label so I know exactly what’s in it. I have a habit of forgetting what I have and where it is, therefore boxes and labels are my friends. I know what I have stored.
Our protagonist doesn’t. A box could contain a treasure or something else. Let’s explore…
- What size and shape is the box?
- Why don’t they know what it contains, have they just found it?
- How d they feel as they lift the lid?
Apart from a box with unknown contents, everything else is down to you, the writer. The prompt is in the first person, but you can change that if you want. The contents of the box could be anything, let your imagination run. As mentioned it could be treasure, it could be dangerous, it could be something seemingly unknowable, remember Pandora!
Enjoy and may the contents of the box lead you to write an inspiring tale. Bring the contents and your ideas outside the box.
Quick fiction writing
Set a time limit, use the following random prompts and write a short piece of fiction.
- Character: child
- Place: playground
- Item: surrounded by a box marked in chalk
I often use boxes in my journal. They are used to highlight important things. They are used to separate areas, to make them distinct. I also find myself writing the same thing. Quite often I am writing negative things over and over again. I end up putting myself in a box, defining and limiting myself. Next time I do that, I’ll contain those negative thoughts in lines. I’ll box them up and then cross them out with a big black marker. Time to get outside self-made boxes that limit us.
Three ideas for your journal
- think about your articular creative pastime. How can you think outside the box and create differently. Write a list that breaks the rules
- draw, paint or collage an image made entirely of box shapes (literal cubism, or boxism)
- draw a box in the centre of your page, write negative thoughts, feelings or habits within. Cover it with a positive image
Theory of General Creativity
I now have ‘box’ written on the board above my computer. I am confident it will inspire me on my creative journey this week. I am involved in far too many creative projects. I find zoning them and putting them into literal boxes helps me to focus on one at a time. And I now have all my pens, paints and other creative tools in their own box or area. That should help.
- capture boxes or square/rectangle shapes and lines with your camera
- paint a cube with something inside
- explore escaping any boxes that contain and hold you back in songwriting or poetry
Let ‘box(es)’ inspire your music, photography, and painting this week.
As always, these creative prompts are optional and entirely open to your interpretation. Use them as a starting point for a short story, a moment in your journal, something a little more grandiose or any creative project or idea.
As mentioned before, this isn’t a ‘challenge’ but the prompts can be used that way if you want. If you do create anything using them, I would love to see or hear about it. Leave a link in the comments below or tag me #thecreativeminimalist on any social platform.
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