Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: Free Write


Do you regularly free write? Do you wish you did? Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook or a blank page and keep your hand moving for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation – just write.


Earlier today, you wouldn't have wanted to see me. One minute I was reading an article on Aeon about circadian rhythms and creativity, and the next I was running a damp towel over toddler-spilled smoothie on the carpeted steps. Scrubbing hard. Thinking about the cleansers in the bathroom cabinet upstairs that I'm not getting. Doing things the hard way.

The four-year-old wandered over as I cleaned and I snapped at him to stay away from the mess, instantly regretting it. His nose was running, I swiped it with a scratchy paper towel for the sake of convenience.

All the while, my hair was piled atop my head in a messy bun, my face ruddy and unwashed, sweatpants stained, shirt ripped. My pricey cover-up tucked away in the bathroom drawer for another day; my flattering skinny jeans hung neatly in the closet—stowed for when there was a lower risk of contact with grimy palms.

I finished scrubbing and slumped into the embrace of the soft recliner opposite the TV screen as I contemplated breakfast for dinner. I snuck a peek at Twitter. My bio glared back ironically, with its summery photo of me in good lighting, hair just so. My last tweet was a stunning Mary Oliver quote. The disconnect prompted a chuckle.

No, earlier today, you wouldn't have wanted to see me—and I wouldn't have wanted to show you either.

But it's good to tell about it.

Much has been written about the carefully curated personas we project online, but a writer's best work is often her most honest.

Today, free write about who you are when no one is looking. Are you honest about yourself—online? In your writing? How does your private behavior differ from what you show to the world? When are you your truest self?


Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd love to read your ideas!

Dina L. Relles is a writer with work in The Atlantic, Atticus Review, River TeethSTIR JournalBrain, Child Magazine, Full Grown People, The Manifest-Station, The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, and elsewhere. You can find more of her work on her own site, Commonplaceand you can connect with her on Twitter She lives in New York with her husband and children. Dina is a former blog editor for Literary Mama.

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Definitely going to do this one. Great prompt, thanks!
Great prompt. Here is what I did with it! Thanks for the idea. -
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