I fell off of the blogging and writing wagon a little bit this weekend. I just didn’t have anything to offer, and needed to retreat within myself for a little while, but I am back now. In the process of coming back I have been catching up on reading the posts on the blogs I usually read regularly.
One of the posts, from Delores at the feathered nest, was about writing prompts. She has been providing a weekly photo for anyone who’d like to participate to use as a prompt ever since the A to Z Challenge ended. I have participated every week except last week. (It just wasn’t a good week, and I didn’t have it in me.) I enjoy it. The prompts are usually enough to get the creative juices flowing, or at least enough to force me to write something. That has been a good thing for me.
Apparently not everyone is in agreement that writing prompts are a good thing. Personally, I don’t understand how it can bother someone for someone else to use a prompt. I would love it if I was able to find enough in life to inspire me to write something every day without relying on prompts. I would also love to win the lottery. I don’t think it’s going to happen.
Most of us have to work, not always in a job we find inspiring. Our time is limited. We get caught up in going to work, doing laundry, going to the grocery store, and doing what must be done. Sometimes we may simply not be inspired by what’s around us. That’s where the prompt comes in, at least for me.
I have come to view writing prompts much like take-out food. Is it better to have a wonderful home-cooked meal, or linger over a nice meal in a nice restaurant than to have take-out from a Styrofoam box? Of course it is! Is it always practical? No. Sometimes the take-out food fills a need, and it’s the only way to fill that need. I think writing prompts are very much the same. Would I write something better if I were able to spend my day on a quiet beach, soaking up the sun, with the wonderful salt smell in my nostrils? Most likely. Can I do that every day? Not until I win the lottery. So the writing prompt meets a need for me in the best, most practical way possible. It gives me something to work with, a place to start from.
What are your thoughts on writing prompts? Do you use them? What do you use, words, photos, places? Do you find prompts helpful, or find that you work better without them?