Monday, June 4, 2012

To Prompt Or Not To Prompt?

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 somethingThat 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?

16 comments:

  1. Amen sister. You're preaching to the choir here lol.
    You know what? I can usually write a thing or three every day but I like the prompts because I find it interesting the different thoughts they generate in people. I like the way they make me have to work my mind to see what i can make of them.
    Long live the prompt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is always interesting to see all of the different directions a certain photo will send everyone's thoughts. Long live the prompt!

      Delete
  2. I love writing prompts! I used to teach writing, and I used them all the time in my classes. They can provide the boost of inspiration that all writers need, and as Delores said, they make you stretch your mind, which is always a good thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very cool that you used to teach writing! If a writing teacher says prompts are a good thing they must be.

      Delete
  3. I don't use them, but I'm quite a lazy blogger at the moment and only write once or twice a week. If I wanted to be more committed an blog more often, I would definitely consider using writing prompts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They definitely can help on those days when you don't seem to have anything to write about.

      Delete
  4. Danielle, this is kind of along the same line...
    I've written reading passages for three different educational publishers. And the one that I found the easiest to write for was the one that gave me writing prompts. But it was also the one that I found most challenging. I didn't have to come up with my own ideas, but I had to write a story based on their ideas. In other words, while writing prompts may be easier, they are also more challenging. Does that make sense?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That actually makes a lot of sense. A prompt can get you going, but I guess it can sort of limit where/how far you can go in that direction.

      Delete
  5. I think writing prompts can be good things for the reasons you mentioned; sometimes the creative juices do need to be sparked with a bit of creativity that can come by a writing prompt. I think I would use one if I wanted to write and was having trouble coming up with a subject or what to write about.

    betty

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They definitely can help you narrow down a subject.

      Delete
  6. i think prompts are great! I loved the A-Z challenge b/c a bit of an idea was already there. Life isn't always exciting and offering original ideas to be penned. I think pictures are a great prompt too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right the A to Z Challenge was kind of a prompt. Sometimes we do have to look outside of our own daily life for original ideas.

      Delete
  7. I will have to check out those writing prompts. I've seen the 10 on Tuesday ones but I like the idea of a picture prompt. I don't see anything wrong with it!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'll take ANY prompt I can get!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to comment! Please leave your link so I can visit you as well.