Sometimes, you need a good prompt to help you write that story, that poem, that essay...you know the one. The one that wakes you up at night. The one that scares the shit out of you. The one that must be written.
The Poet's Companion by Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux has a ton of great prompts and writing advice in it, but my favorite section, the one that has been most useful to me, is the chapter titled The Shadow. It is about writing what makes you uncomfortable, about getting "past the voices that tell you what you 'should' write, the voices that say you want people to like you, to think you are a good person" (57). I first read this book five years ago, and I have been trying to make myself uncomfortable ever since.