There are times when writing prompts can seem a bit twee. I mean, who has time to sit down and write or tap out words for 15 minutes based on a randomly generated thought or idea?
But there is something about the process itself that makes it worth the investment of time and energy. Sometimes it is just knowing that it is for a short timeframe, or that what comes out of your mind in response to the prompt is probably of limited consequence and may in fact never be used at all – this can be liberating. What does it matter if you write nonsense, as long as you are writing?
Years ago whilst travelling through Daylesford, I stumbled across an excellent bookshop. It had a mixture of old and new books, stashed in various rooms and cubby holes. It was a delight to wander around and in a spot wedged between two rooms I found the writing reference section. There were a couple of books that took my interest but the one that I left with was A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. This book has a writing prompt for every day, interspersed with lots of suggestions around how to incorporate writing into your life. There are also insights into the habits of famous writers and lots of great suggestions on how to connect deeper with your work.
Some of my best work has emerged out of writing prompts. A writing exercise completed with my local writing group included an unidentified tool, writing from a randomly assigned genre, and the challenge of writing from another gender. From this prompt emerged a short piece which I have significantly expanded upon. It is hard to imagine how else I would have come across such an idea.
It’s all in the power of the prompt. Do you have any favourite prompts?