This Immeasurable Year

Since late February 2020, the Life-Writing of Immeasurable Events (LIVE) project has collected writing that documents personal experiences of, and creative responses to, the Covid-19 pandemic. We are interested in poems, journal or diary entries, essays, anecdotes - really any form of life-writing that anyone would like to send us. The project was launched during the UK’s first national lockdown and now, a year later, we are relaunching the LIVE prompts as a monthly inspiration and support for life-writers and life-writing.

We have gathered here a series of prompts that we hope will inspire you to reflect on your experience of This Immeasurable Year. You are welcome to choose one, or respond to several or indeed all the prompts. As always, the guidelines for submission can be found here and we look forward to reading your contributions. 

Time to rethink

Cherry buds

Much has changed since March 2020. Hopes that an emergency on the scale of the global pandemic and financial crisis might provoke a more egalitarian society have not been realised. At least not yet.

However, this March there are reasons to hope that this might be the last lockdown. 

For this prompt about rethinking, you could: 

  • revisit something you wrote in March 2020 and rewrite it from your current standpoint, hopeful or otherwise
  • or, if you are inspired by Bernadette Mayer’s experiment (click here to read a summary) of rewriting someone else’s words, you might pick a LIVE submission and rewrite that from your own point of view. 

We hope that you might find some inspiration in this writing prompt but as always if you would like to write something else - a diary entry, poem, your reflections on something else about your life at the moment - we'd be delighted to read whatever you would like to send. To go directly to the submission page and send us your writing, click here

Snap retrospective

Slides and photo films

Digital photos build up quickly, and they can provide an interesting source of creativity when looking back over a year.  

Your smart phone (or computer if you transfer pictures there) might allow you to review your photos by day, month, year. It might show you clusters of photos on a map, or photos 'on this day' for different times, places, or types of photo...

For this prompt choose up to 12 photos taken between March 2020 and March 2021. You can allow technology to surprise you with its selections or you can choose them yourself, whichever is most interesting to you. Use what you see in those photographs, or perhaps what you don't see in them, as a starting point for your Immeasurable Year snap retrospective.  

If you would like to see your photos as a collage you could use this template we've created.

To go to the submission page and send us your writing, click here


Daily walk

Man walking towards black at sunrise

This year has really brought home the importance of nature - and many people’s limited access to it. For many of us, whether in nature or far from it, a daily walk has become a ritual and coping mechanism. 

On one of your daily walks take notes. You could think about what patterns your feet would draw around your neighbourhood. You could list the objects you see, whether natural, like stones or plants, or human-made, such as street art or litter.

How might note-taking affect the way you walk and the way you see things compared to your usual ritual? You could experiment with writing something using your notes and the memories of that route accumulated over the year.

To go to the submission page and send us your writing, click here.

Not writing

Pen on blank pages

Not writing has been a feature of many people’s year. The immediate dangers of the pandemic, negative emotions, stress from work, homeschooling, distance learning, furlough, unemployment, and more, have all contributed to writer's blocks or simply lack of time to write. 

We would like to invite you to write something about the process of not writing or not being able to write. You might be inspired by Anne Boyer’s poem “Not Writing” (2015) to think about the forces that get in your way or the other things you prioritise. Or you might be inspired by Ban En Banlieu (2015), a hybrid autobiography / novel / poetic project which the author Bhanu Kapil presented as written around “a novel never written” (here is a review of Ben En Banlieu, which explains this). 

What are your thoughts about the writing you never committed to the page or left by the wayside? What can you tell  us about the experience of “not writing”?

To go to the submission page and send us your writing, click here