The Writing Process: Coming Up With Titles

Dramatic is a great word to describe me because I’ll gladly exaggerate every feeling I have, especially when I’m frustrated. So, when I say that titles are the bane of my existence, they really aren’t, but I hate them a lot. Obviously I know why we need titles, why they are important for the reader, and how they can help the creative piece you’ve just spent hours working on. I am totally aware that titles should to be creative, but still related to what you’ve written. I know all the things.

Titles and me have a hate/hate relationship, where I despise them profoundly and they despise me just as much back. At the top of my Word docs, in all caps reads: TITLE GOES HERE. Usually, my analytical pieces end up with some boring, direct explanation of what my paper was about and would probably make any writer cringe at my lack of creativity. But I could never get by as easily with my creative writing stories. “Vanesa, you need a title” was a phrase spoken loads of times to me by my lovely professors, followed by the endless reasons they are important to have on written pieces. However, knowing why we need them never made coming up with them any easier.


I guess I should be grateful that, by the second half of my undergraduate career, I was quickly intrigued by poetry and have gravitated towards that style of writing. Erasures, haikus, and prose poems are a near and dear writing style to me and have change the way I approach my writing. I’ve also been extremely grateful that, while many poets title poetry, I can brush that task much more easily under the rug. Sure, I’ve titled some of my poems, but the majority are labeled by the first lines of the poem because I’m lazy and don’t know how to smash through the figurative door that is “Title Writer’s Block.”

I’m actually not sure if “Title Writer’s Block” is real, and I have only recently decided that I have the worst case of it or have simply been born without the ability to write titles. Maybe Titles, if I personify it and make it an evil entity that lurks in corners with that sketchy hat (the intruder), just wants to torture me and ruin my writing career by not letting me come up with the best names for my pieces. Maybe I care too much about titles. Regardless of the reason, naming my work is a constant struggle that I have yet to overcome.

I like the idea that using the first line of a poem can be the title. I wish this could be translated to prose writing, in that a particular sentence can be the title of the piece. I’ve never tried this, but feel that it may work best for those who always lack the ability to christen their lovely creative work. Knowing the importance of a title, especially for a prose piece, I don’t want to continue struggling or completely omit this action, so for the next couple pieces or prose writing I do, I will try naming it with a line from the story, then ask people what they think.

What are some ways that help you title your work? Comment and share your ways that may help me (and anyone else) struggling with titles!Death_to_stock_photography_Vibrant (9 of 10)


7 comments on “The Writing Process: Coming Up With Titles

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