Writing Assignment: Describe Your Coffee Cup

by Randy Murray on September 17, 2010

If your goal is to become a better writer, you need to practice. Here’s your writing assignment for today: write a short piece about your coffee cup or whatever you’re drinking out of at the moment.

Physical description is an important skill for a writer. Some may choose to explore metaphor and simile while others strive for a direct and careful accounting of the object’s physical qualities. Either method requires a focused attention on the object and one’s choice of words.

In today’s assignment, write a brief piece describing a cup or container that you can see and touch while writing. Include as many of the physical attributes as you wish and consider detailing the memories or emotions that it may evoke.

Here’s my example:

Today it’s the “Randy” cup, the one that one of my daughters gave me as a present. It has my name in multiple colors and as that name would appear in different languages. It’s one of my three standard mugs, but it’s probably my least favorite. It’s a bit too large and the coffee cools before I can drink it all. But it’s a good, solid mug and I use it frequently.

I don’t care about my name emblazoned on it’s surface, but I do like that it was a gift from one of my daughters, although I’m not sure which one. That my name in Hebrew might be represented as “nonen” holds no interest for me. Only that someone who cares for me saw it and thought of me causes me to keep it in rotation with my two favorites. Unlike my favorite, the Star Trek mug from Enterprise A, the Randy mug is still smooth and perfectly white inside. It hasn’t picked up the stains in the hairline cracks of the porcelain that my Star Trek mug has. Yes, this one is bigger than the Walt Disney Studios mug. That one is the perfect size, slightly smaller than the normal mug and very good at keeping the coffee hot for the time it takes me to drink it. But the Randy mug sits here beside my keyboard every 3rd day and I’m happy to see it.

You may leave your completed assignment in the comments section below.

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