Poetry Prompt: Letter to Yourself

Poetry Prompt: Letter to Yourself

For today’s poetry prompt, you’ll be writing to a one-of-a-kind audience—you! So get ready to send yourself a very special message.

This prompt actually contains two separate prompts. You’ll need to decide if you want to...

  • Write a letter to your past self: Do you have some advice for your five-year-old self, or something that you’d really like to have known when you were eleven? Then choose this prompt!
  • Write a letter to your future self: Wondering what your future self might be up to or where in the world they are? Why not write a letter and imagine your future!

Once you’ve chosen your audience (you!) and the time (past/future), it’s time to do the nitty-gritty work of brainstorming your poem.

  • If you’re writing about the past, think about what you were like at that age. Did you have a favorite book? Item of clothing? Who was your best friend? What was your favorite snack?
  • If you’re writing about your future self, imagine what they might be doing. What sort of job does your future self have? What places have they seen or what interesting things have they done? What are the best parts of their life?

Next, take a while to think about the difficulties and problems your past or future selves might have faced. When you were five, were you terrified of the dark? When you were seven, were you shy and hated going to new places? Or, if you’re writing about the future, what do you think the greatest obstacle for your future self achieving those dreams might be? What might they not have done yet that you think they should do?

Now that you’ve got a better sense of who you were or who you might be in the future, it’s time to think about what advice you’d give your past or future selves. What are you learning now that might be helpful to them? What lessons did your past self teach you that you’re using today? You could also explain a choice you made recently and why you think it’ll help your future self.

With your ideas flowing, it’s time to stop brainstorming and start writing! Begin your poem with the words “Dear past/future me…” and go from there. Write as if you’re speaking to yourself. Use line breaks to help separate new thoughts and ideas. Don’t worry about rhyme or rhythm. For now, just get the words on the page!

Once you’ve got your poem written out, make sure to revise it. Add specific, vivid details using your five senses, and end the letter with a specific memory or emotion that packs a punch. Check out our other tips for revising here, and be sure to send us your finished work here at Poetry Teatime!


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