The Bloggery

2021: Celebrating The Writers' Greenhouse
10 YEAR anniversary!

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Introducing... Weekly writing prompts

Pic: Weekly writing prompt

Regular little writing exercises are one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer. When you're gunning ahead with a novel, they keep you limber and flexible, as a place to play with new approaches without pulling your novel in a dozen different directions. When you're short on ideas, they're a constant source of fresh inspiration - not so much the prompts themselves, I find, but the actual doing of them. You do the prompt because you're told to and that's the next prompt, then suddenly, in the space where pen hits paper / fingers hit keyboard, the ideas start spilling out. And when you're struggling to write - recovering from an illness or a loss, struggling with writers' block or mental health - they're a gentle, doable, constrained task.

For all those uses, they work best if you set yourself two little rules. (Creative people might hate constraints, but creativity loves them!) The first rule is simply, do the prompt. The magic is not the prompt itself: the magic is what happens when you do the prompt. Even if it's not your thing, do the prompt. Make a pact with yourself to do the prompt. The second rule is to set a timer for ten minutes, do as much as you can in ten minutes, and then stop. You can choose to carry on with it, after a wee break, but that's bonus writing. If you've done your ten minutes, you've done the prompt. The beauty of ten minutes is that it's just ten minutes, so whether you're loathe to steal time from your main novel, or have very little spare time, or are finding things overwhelming, ten minutes is always doable. The other beauty of ten minutes is that you can do a surprising amount in that time!

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