Home > Prompts > Prompt: Watch the world go by

robson squareAre you a people watcher? Do you like to sit with a coffee and a notebook (or a laptop) and watch the world go by? I do, and it seems to be particularly the case when I’m actually meant to be writing something.

This is like the Google prompt in that it’s designed to turn your procrastination into poetry, or prose… Or at the very least, something more productive. It’s a great exercise is great for the summer time, when you can sit outside and watch people lazing on a sunny afternoon.

First, choose a public space, preferably a busy one and settle yourself down in a place where you can comfortably watch your location. Set yourself a time (an hour is best) and make notes on the people, the location, and the general atmosphere of the place.

Think about the most interesting interactions or people that have caught your attention-why? What was it about them, or the incident that made you take notice? You can also consider how it functions as a public space, how people move through it or treat it.

This is a good prompt for poetry or prose, and can inspire your characters, settings or a whole new piece. The best thing about this prompt is that you can use it many, many times, in different places or in the same one. If you’re on holiday, try observing a foreign place and see what conclusions you draw. If you feel a pull towards one spot, try going there at different times of day or night, or different seasons, to see how it can change.

Good luck!