Writing Prompt: Start With Sincerity and Move Into Power

Summer is around the corner, which means college students setting up hammocks everywhere, painful sunburns, and family barbecues. Embrace the sunlight, grab a pint of ice cream, and get writing with this prompt brought to you by Grub Instructor Vanessa Garcia, who will be teaching a 6 Weeks, 6 Op-Eds online class in June


“I like to have strong opinions with nothing to back them up with besides my primal sincerity. I like sincerity. I lack sincerity.”

--Kurt Cobain


Upon first reading you might think: Ok, sure, great advice when you’re tackling the lyrics of a song, but perhaps not so much when trying to tackle an op-ed. Still, there’s something to this quote regarding the nature of sincerity, and the power of someone’s legitimate, authentic Point of View (POV). It also plays with the contradictions of voice.
Use this prompt to start with sincerity and move into power. Follow these steps: 

  1. Write for five minutes about something you are very opinionated about. Just do it. Don’t think, just feel. Don’t worry about backing it up. Lay it all out there. Go!
  2. Use the next ten minutes to try and formulate that opinion into a paragraph (max two paragraphs) with a beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Start to worry about how you are going to back this up. Use the next 20 minutes to research this topic and find one or two pieces of information by credible sources that you can use to prove your POV.
  4. Now, take 10 minutes to fold that information into your paragraph.
  5. Now, the fun part. Take 10 minutes to read what you wrote and pretend you’re someone on the opposing side. Write up a really mean tweet about this opinion. Be vicious. 


Vanessa is a multidisciplinary artist working as a novelist, playwright, and journalist. Her debut novel, White Light, was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by NPR, Al Día, Flavorwire, and NBC Latino. Her pieces have appeared in The LA Times, The Guardian, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post and The Rumpus, among numerous other publications. She’s also a Huffington Post blogger and Assistant Editor at The Miami Rail. Her plays have been produced in many cities around the world. These include The Cuban Spring (a full-length Carbonell Award nominee for Best New Play, 2015) and The Crocodile’s Bite (a short included in numerous anthologies). Vanessa's upcoming online class, 6 Weeks, 6 Op-Eds, starts June 6th. Make sure you sign up soon! 

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