1. I could write this but no one could ever read it:

2. I could write this and hope everyone in Boston reads it:

3. I could write about this person:

4. I could write about this relationship:

5. I could write about this day:

6. I could write about this period of my life:

7. I could write about this question:

8. I could write a funny piece about this:

9. I could write a piece unified by this theme or idea:

10. I could write a purely narrative piece – storytelling for its own sake – about this:

11. I have this compelling image in my head that I keep returning to and I could write something taking off from it:

12. There is something I keep noticing that other people seem not to notice:

13. “After that day it was never the same” – a piece about a clearly visible turning point in life (my life or that of someone close to me):

14. I am not like the people around me, in this way that I would like to explore and communicate in writing:

15. I could write something based in this particular expertise or talent (e.g., sport, art form, job, life experience):

16. I have this cultural attribute (e.g., ethnicity, religion, language, place of birth, parents’ culture) and I could write a piece in which it matters a lot:

17. I have this theory about something and I could write a piece about why I’m right and why it matters:

18. “The unfinished story” – there’s a significant story about someone I know well that has some very significant missing part, a part I’ve always wondered about. That part is unspoken, perhaps secret, perhaps unknowable – but I could create it.

You can download this as a Word document here: What to Write?