After following Kara Benz’s awesome monthly Boho Berry Challenges for almost a year, I’ve decided to launch my own writing challenge. It’s called, quite simply, the Buttontapper Challenge, and it’s something you can participate in daily or whenever the mood strikes you.
So, what’s this all about?
About the Challenge
The Buttontapper Challenge is a writing challenge with a new theme each month. We’ll follow a set of prompts and write about them each day, sharing snippets on social media using the hashtag #ButtontapperChallenge.
February’s Theme: True Love
As February sneaks up on us, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and relationships. That’s only fitting, since Valentine’s Day is the main event for many people this month, and a holiday I’ve had a love/hate relationships with over the years. As a writer with several books on love and relationships (as well as a few adults-only titles), I’ve been thinking more about how people use the word “love,” and what they really mean when they say “I love you,” whether it’s to a spouse or significant other, a friend, a family member, or a total stranger. I think it’s important to revisit our relationships and see where we can improve our interactions with one another, especially with the people who love – who often see us at our worst AND our best.
I’ve divided the list up into prompts that will help you think about different types of love, relationships, and “love languages,” along with some of the clichés and common beliefs we hold about love. I can’t wait to see your responses to these prompts!
The challenge prompts are completely open to interpretation, but I’ve written up a little explanation for why I chose each one, and what I’ll be writing about that day, to give you some ideas about what to write in case you find yourself stuck.
- What Love Means to Me – Is love just a feeling, or is it an action? How do you express (or receive) love? Give us some of your thoughts on this month’s all-important word!
- Passion – Many people consider passion to be the most important part of any kind of love. What are you passionate about in your relationships, and is passion the be-all, end-all for you?
- Compassion – Compassion for others is a kind of love, too. How do you express compassion in your relationships?
- Intimacy – What does intimacy mean to you?
- Affection – How do you express your affection for people you care about?
- Obsession – Does obsession qualify as love? (So many romcoms seem to think it does!)
- Selfish Love – Have you ever loved someone who was selfish? Have you ever been selfish in love?
- Selfless Love – Have you ever been selfless in love? If you’re in a relationship, how does your partner share selflessly with you?
- Types of Love – The Greeks believed there were 8 different kinds of love: Eros (erotic love), Philia (affectionate love), Storge (familiar love), Ludus (playful love), Mania (obsessive love), Pragma (enduring love), Philautia (self love), and Agape (selfless love). They seem to have either forgotten or skipped over unrequited love! Which types of love are most important to you, and have you ever thought about each of these different kinds of love in your various relationships?
- Love Languages – According to Gary Chapman, there are 5 types of “love languages“: words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, and physical touch. Which of these types of love languages are you most drawn to, and does your partner use the same love language?
- Relationships – How do your relationships reflect your feelings on love?
- Family – Today is Family Day, so ponder parental & brotherly/sisterly love! What do you love about your family, and how do you express that love?
- Spirituality – Today is Mardi Gras, so let’s think about religious love or spirituality. How do you express love more abstractly, to a higher power or to the human race as a whole?
- Romance – It’s Valentine’s Day, the perfect time to think about romance. What does romance mean to you, and how do you express romantic feelings to someone?
- Jealousy – One of the dark sides of love is jealousy. How do you handle feelings of jealousy towards others, and have you ever had a relationship dissolve because of jealousy?
- Cultural Differences – Today is the Lunar New Year, or Chinese New Year. Have you ever fallen in love with someone from a different cultural background than your own, or even someone from a different country? What kinds of obstacles does this kind of love face?
- Dating – The dating landscape is always changing. Think about how people used to “court” one another in one-on-one relationships vs. modern-day dating and its fast pace with multiple partners. What kinds of customs or practices do you consider “dating”? Is it only a date if you declare it as such?
- Marriage – Marriage is often considered the ultimate expression of love for a romantic partner. Is marriage important to you? Why or why not?
- Patriotism – Today is Presidents’ Day in the USA, so let’s think a bit about patriotism (i.e. love of country) and what that really means. Must one love one’s country, no matter what? Or is constructive criticism a part of loving something, too?
- In The Media – Think about some of the representations of love that appear in in film, TV, music, books, and other media. Are these accurate depictions of love? What would you change about these depictions, if you could?
- Gender & Sexuality – Gender and sexuality are increasingly seen as fluid, rather than as strict dichotomies like male/female or hetero/homo. Indeed, the prevailing theory is that everyone falls somewhere on a spectrum, in terms of gender and sexual identity, with a dazzling array of word choices to describe each one (if you’re not familiar with these, try googling “gender identity” or “LGBTQIAPK”). What does any of this mean to you, and how do you define your own gender and/or sexuality?
- Heart Vs. Head – Often, when we think about romantic love, we say that someone is thinking with their heart instead of their head. Have you ever experienced this “heart vs. head” feeling? What happened, as a result?
- Soulmates – Is there really just ONE true love out there for each of us? What do you think of the concept of “soulmates”?
- Joy – So much of our thinking about love can be about chasing relationships… but what about the simple joy of being in love? What kinds of things bring you joy in a relationship, romantic or otherwise?
- Men vs. Women – Are they really from Mars and Venus, respectively? What are some of the myths you’ve been taught about the differences between men and women? (Friendly reminder: Black Heart’s submission window for our “A World Without Men” issue closes today!)
- Friendships – How valuable are friendships to you, and what do you do to express your love for your friends?
- Love Thy Neighbor – Neighbors can be a huge source of frustration or joy, depending on your outlook. What kind of relationship do you have with your neighbors, and how could you improve those relationships?
- Lessons Learned – Tell us what you learned this month by examining your relationships and thoughts on love. What will you do differently next month?
Grab the Free Printable
Click the button to download a free printable copy of these prompts for personal use: