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  • Writer's pictureKaecey McCormick

Writing Prompt: Using Facebook to Craft Poems (and other types of writing)

Facebook and poetry may not seem like they go together - at least not from the perspective of using Facebook to generate poetry.

But I'm a fan of using whatever works to generate creativity and get poems (or fiction or any writing ideas) out of the ether and onto the page. 

And I promise you - if you fully execute this technique, you will end up with a poem.  Or character.  Or the beginning of a story... you get the picture. Plus, it's fun, it's easy, and you can do it even if you don't like using Facebook. 

What is the Facebook writing technique?  

First, scroll through your list of FB friends until you come across names from your childhood of people you haven't kept up with over the years.  If you don't have any FB friends that reach back that far, settle for FB friends that you are merely acquaintances with in real life.

The point is to find people you know, but people you don't know very well.

You want to be surprised.

Second, visit the pages of these FB friends and look at their most recent post.  Ideally, the first page you visit is the one you'll use, but if it doesn't work move down the list.

Third, using whatever this person posted as your inspiration, brainstorm any words and phrases that immediately come to mind.  Try to incorporate sensory language if possible, but stay true to whatever pops into your head.

Fourth, the fun part! Write a poem (or story) inspired by the FB friend's post and your brainstormed list. It can be a poem in any form or style. It can be flash fiction. A short story. A scene from a novel. It can even be a mini-memoir or roman a clef.

The point is to WRITE.

What if I'm not on Facebook?

If you're not on Facebook, try searching old emails, greeting cards, letters, or use another social media source (like Twitter or Instagram) to accomplish the same result.

Where did this writing exercise come from?

I came up with this technique when I randomly clicked on the Facebook page of a childhood friend. We hadn't had any contact other than when I accepted her friend request years ago. 

I was saddened to learn she had just lost her father. 

Her most recent post happened to be a picture of her at about preschool age sitting on her dad's lap. They were reading a book together, and the caption read, "Missing my dad today." 

The photo was grainy and the clothes were standard late seventies/early eighties plaid.  Her dad sported some impressive sideburns, and my friend's cheeks were bright red, the way kids' cheeks get after playing outside in the snow.

I was overcome with emotion and wonder, and I started writing down ideas and words that popped into my head as I gazed at the picture.  Those words evolved into a poem, and I found the technique so useful I tried it again and again.

Give the Facebook technique a try and happy writing!


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