As a little child, my very first steps were quite weak and I stumbled many times, which must have been amusing and endearing to my parents and relatives. It was endearing when I was young but nowadays I seem to abhor any stumbling and elevate success too much. A lot of emphasis is placed on being embarrassed when I botched something. Actually, any failures should be viewed as opening up of new paths or steps to move forward instead of hindrance because we are learning to be better. Nevertheless, these thought-processes and other reasoning have held me back on my writing.
Even if I did stumble, it didn’t mean I have to give up on my dream. I took an online writing course that introduced Writing prompt to me. Before taking the course, I had a notebook that forced me to write 750-words per day over anything random, which got tiring after a while because random writing was really not my cup of tea. I needed a good reason to write, whether it is due to a big inspiration, a specific topic or a person. That notebook has several 750-words entries that sounded like a diary or a journal of events. Not really exciting or worth sharing. Now I use it for writing prompt and I like going over the entries I wrote because it is more significant.
If you are driven to write, go write. Let the writing prompts assist you in starting. I have listed down the Benefits of a Writing Prompt to show how it helped me.
- It helps one acknowledge their fears. There are several ways to go about facing our fears. One is to let it overcome us and the other is to realize that we can master it by acknowledging they exist. Nobody can stand on your shoes at that particular moment when you face fear. It is your own battle. So write about your greatest fear since this is the tangible emotion on what has a great impact to you. The result could be quite rudimentary like: `scared´, `wrong choices´, or `laughed at´ but they were your honest feelings and your baby step forward.
- It guides one to pen something (without judgment). My mentor often reminds me that first drafts are there to serve as a simple outcome. Nobody has to see it. You can box them all away or burn them. But here you are allowed to do free verse, push several elements around and even change your characters. There is no grammar and spelling police around or harsh literary critics allowed in the room—not even yourself.
- It gave one a topic to focus on. We don’t have to write a whole world of Narnia, Middle Earth or Hogwarts. The focus could be on something as miniscule as lunch or lack thereof, the coffee shop, and those noisy neighbors or even about the pen on our hand. This method really helps a lot in this Attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)-afflicted world. I’m not exactly a focused person by nature so I don’t pass any judgment here on anyone.
- It is a fun exercise. Any discipline would always state “Practice, practice, practice.” If our body gets more agile with daily practice and exercises, what more our mind and tools. There are many articles out there about this so there is no need to expound. There’s only action needed on our part and the goal is to have fun. You get to exercise your creativity for certain duration just like opening a door to take in as much of the scenery as possible before describing it to someone. It is exhilarating and stimulating when a very impressive scenario would come to mind. Even though the lack of words would hinder us, improving it is the purpose of the exercise.
- It is short and quick. Just take a small notebook and pen; allot 10 to 15 minutes to write expressively those thoughts and images on the topic you’ve chosen. Eventually, it would become an endearing routine to write the short prompts when you are working on a big project like a 750,000-plus-word manuscript or a three-book novel series. You have accomplished something in this short 10 to 15 minutes, the same time it takes me to cook a small pot of rice. The feeling of this small achievement would spur you to write further.
- It is not exhaustive. The sky is not even the limit to whatever you can write about because there are so many possible topics out there. Nature, people, events, thoughts and feelings are just the surface of it. There are so many books written in different (writing) voices, yet more books are still being published since there is more to say over discoveries, imagined world and even the very thing we’re doing: thinking (or writing).
My blog has a section called Writing Prompts where I post some of the creative results I am proud of and hope it will encourage you to write also. Don’t wait for the story you imagined to appear somewhere, pen it down. Use it as writing prompt already. Write a “Once upon a time…” and make sure you get to “The End.” Remember not to over complicate it and just have fun.
If you have other possible writing prompts, share your suggestions on the comment below. I welcome such prompts and it would add it to my Writing Exercises notebook. This would serve as a challenge for me to write one of those so I could post them for you.