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We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to…

  • Ready to write? We’ll give you a new challenge each Monday. Publish a new post on your blog that interprets the challenge. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More

We blog for a million different reasons, but in the end, we’re all storytellers. Creative Writing Challenges are here to help you push your writing boundaries and explore new ideas, subjects, and writing styles.

To participate, tag your post with DPchallenge and include a link to this post, to generate a pingback and help others find the challenges. Please make sure your post has been specifically written in response to this challenge. We’ll highlight some of our favorites on Freshly Pressed on Friday, and in our monthly newsletter.

As individuals and as communities, we have an impact on the world around us, whether we leave our mark by scratching our names in wet cement, or pay homage to those who have come before through small tokens of affection. These symbolic objects and actions leave behind a lasting message.

EvergreenFlowers

Last month, I snapped a picture of these flowers at the Evergreen Cemetery in Santa Cruz, California. The cemetery dates back to the 1850s, when Santa Cruz was still a small village. It’s a treasure hidden away from the city center, and houses an intriguing combination of old and new.

While walking around Evergreen, I was surprised to see these flowers sitting in such an old part of the cemetery. The flowers themselves looked relatively old, covered in cobwebs and the dust of late summer pollen, though they had clearly been placed there recently enough to retain some of their beautiful, lavender color.

I couldn’t help but wonder: Who comes to a cemetery that’s over 150 years old to leave a token of affection, like these flowers? What is this person’s connection to this place? Is this a relative, or just a visitor? Have they created their own story for one of the people who rests here, or was this a one-time token of remembrance?

Using the story behind the photo above as a jumping off point for this week’s writing challenge, we want you to talk about leaving your mark. For the fiction-minded, fill in the mystery behind this photograph. Who were these flowers left for? Was there a message included? Is there a mysterious reason why these flowers are covered in dust, but still appear so young?

If you need a few more ideas to get you going, try these suggestions:

  • It’s 2,000 years in the future and a team of anthropologists are studying the early 21st century. What symbols of our culture do they find? How do they interpret their meaning?
  • Taking a look around you, what three objects most represent you and why? How do their reflect your personality, and who you are?
  • As a creative way to connect with those around you, you leave a gift for a stranger in a nearby park/restaurant/library. What do you leave? What message do you include with it?

We’re looking forward to reading your interpretations of what it means to leave your mark, and honor those before you.

160 Comments

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  1. What a coincidence: This is the first time I have explored WordPress, although I’ve been blogging for months. And here is Evergreen Cemetery in SANTA CRUZ! Three years ago this cemetery, along with it’s denizens would have meant less than nothing to me. Today,it might just hold answers to a lot of genealogy questions! .

    1. I’ve also been wondering about this. I look forward to seeing what WP gleans out of their prompt responses each Friday. It’s always such an interesting mix of different interpretations on the same prompt. But I haven’t seen any featured the last few Fridays. What’s up?

    2. I’ve seen this happen a couple of times before and I hesitate to say that “no one wrote anything good enough,” although that’s always a possibility. (If that’s what happened, there’s no way a WP employee will say so.) Fact is, these challenges generate some outstanding posts that weren’t targeted to the broad audience FP has. I’ve seen some FP selections that received painfully few likes, and in those cases the promotion to FP was probably a curse for the blogger instead of a reward. As far as I’m concerned, WP shouldn’t promote a post just to promote a post; I’d rather they change the challenge instructions to say they’ll ***usually*** highlight some favorites on FP.

      1. I feel so discouraged that I have actually given up on the weekly challenges; I suspect I am not alone here.
        It is like being back at school and trying desperately to get an A* – with a teacher who keeps changing the goal posts, so that you have no idea how to improve.
        At the risk of making myself VERY unpopular, let me express this thought: I have read Freshly Pressed pieces which are NO BETTER than the posts I write, my friends write – and I am speaking here as an ex English teacher as well as a writer. I KNOW (from thirty years of experience) what to look for in an outstanding piece of writing – and, I am sorry, but some of the stuff I see on here would not get anywhere near even a C grade at GCSE.
        So, I have to ask: what are the TRUE criteria for producing a work deemed worthy of praise?
        Because, I’m damned if I can work them out!
        There is a HUGE amount of positive and wonderful work going on here; I LOVE being part of this community and have made some great friends; I appreciate that it is difficult to make choices, to decide which people deserve rewards – but, I think it sad that some writers are left feeling that they are, quite simply, not good enough.

    3. Hi all — thanks for your comments! It’s true that there are some weeks where no challenge entries are featured, and we’ll be modifying the challenge instructions to reflect that. To keep Freshly Pressed reflective of what the community is publishing, we include a range of topics and viewpoints and try to keep a good mix of things on the page, and that does influence selections somewhat.

      That being said, the goal of the challenges is for us to have fun, find other readers, and push ourselves as bloggers. We hope that people participate because they’re inspired to publish, and that people click through other participants’ blogs to read and support them whether or not they’re featured on Freshly Pressed. Challenges are simply meant to be prompts, not a contest.

      As for Freshly Pressed generally, it’s picked by real humans, and we don’t expect every reader to love every post. If you use Twitter, feel free to recommend great reads to us there — we’re @freshly_pressed. Unfortunately, there are far more excellent posts that we can read or feature at any one time — you’re a prolific bunch.

  2. I love the fact that the what we leave behind from our life is a very philosophical point but this is not just descending into generic, oft-repeated philosophical arguments. I do love the WordPress community sometimes!

  3. It appears that several of us are lost on this “add a link” request. I have looked all over this blog for a url or an “add link button” button and I have not found either. I feel like the only word I ever use anymore is – H E L P – Thanks! And I look forward to this challenge. :)

    1. While writing your post in response to this challenge, you’ll want to highlight a portion of your post text — i.e. “This post is in response to this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge.”

      Then, you can use the Add Link button above your Editor to insert a link to this post. You’ll be able to grab the URL for this challenge by copying and pasting the address showing in your browser.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if you’re still having trouble :)

  4. Beautiful concept! “Leaving your mark” is a strong point. It draws my mind to legacies.
    What would we be remembered for when we are gone? Who would bother to keep coming to drop flowers?
    We’ve got to live a life worthy of emulation, to attract such remarkable commemoration. I hope my vocabulary is right?
    Lovely subject for the challenge! :)

  5. I wrote down a dream once and it is some what a War time scene but with a twist, at the end a soldier is engaged and in order to save his own life kills another soldier that he later discovers was a soldiers wife.
    During the trial the ghost of the soldiers wife appears and walks up to the soldier condemned to die and kiss
    him on his cheek and then to signify that her marriage was over kissed the soldier on his lips after she tells him that he had told the truth , and that truth is most powerful thing in this world.

    So what do you think ?

  6. I know I’m thick – I’m simply hopeless at following intuitive stuff. But I’d give quids if only someone could indicate HOW I can find all the other bloggers who’ve posted against any one of TDP’s topics (of course I mean this one, today) …? I tried entering search terms into the place in the Reader, but each time got only 1 or 2 results.
    Is there some simple way of getting to see the totality of people posting on any DP subject, please?

      1. Crikey! – it’s that simple? Then those posting against any of TDP’s activities can be found via the list at the bottom of the relevant TDP page?
        Far out!
        How lucky it is for all those who have to answer my mindless questions that there’s only one of me.
        :-\
        Thank you, Katharine!

      2. Sweet M.R. you are not mindless! You are brilliant and that is why you don’t waste brain cells on chasing this stuff. Eventually it comes to you, as just now it has. Why dash about frantic in search of the most info about a system that you KNOW will change before you can blink!
        The only dumb question is the silent one, the unasked one. (dumb as in mute)
        Now, I have a question: You offered a quid. Is that something I would want? And what is it? And how do I get it? Just joking, but would like to know. See? We all have unasked questioins that need to come out. :)

  7. If I was going to leave a gift for a stranger, I would leave a coffee voucher in a restuarant with this message:
    “Hello, I do not know how far you have come considering that it is becoming chilly as winter settles in I thought a cup of coffee would warm you up. While you are having coffee you can reflect on all the experiences you have encountered on your journey and discover how they have enriched your journey. Have a nice journey.”

86 Responses Ready to write? To participate, publish a post on your blog that responds to the prompt. Include a pingback and we’ll list your post below. Learn More