I often find the writing that comes from exercises like these surprises me. Ever look back at something you wrote and thought, "Wow, I wrote that?" It's a cool feeling. Random prompts like this allow me to write outside of my comfort zone.
I've always loved photography and wanted to try my hand at it, though I never have. I recently began subscribing to Flickr streams for a regular dose of photographic inspiration. When I'm stuck for an idea, I check my Google Reader and see if any interesting images come up.
Try this. Find an image - a painting in a museum, or a coffee shop, a photograph on a stranger's wall - what's happening in there? What does it look like from the inside, what does it feel like? If there are people in the photo/painting, how did they get there? Where are they going?
Looking for inspiration without leaving the house? Pull out an old photo album, find a photograph. Describe what's happening in the picture. What happened right before that shot was snapped? Right after?
Here is a painting used as a writing prompt in that same workshop:
|The Fog Warning, Winslow Homer|
Write. Surprise yourself.