New Year, new goals.
Has the shine tarnished on your New Year resolutions already? Or have you decided that it is best to leave resolutions alone this year? After all, look at how last year turned out…
If you have decided that THIS is the year that you are going to start writing again, then this is the blog for you. We are going to talk about writing prompts and how they can help writers’ block. Here is a usual recipe for writing:
One brand-new shiny notebook, preferably really cute
Take your brand-new shiny, cute notebook and open it. Pick up your pen…
OK, stop there! If you haven’t had an idea running round your head for the past week and you don’t know where to start, how do you begin to fill that blank white page with a story?
A good place to start is a writing prompt.
A writing prompt is usually a short idea or picture that is designed to get your brain thinking about a story. There are many websites that offer writing prompts that can help get you started writing.
You can treat writing prompts as a writing exercise. Come up with a short story outline which could be turned into a full story. Spend 10 minutes writing and see what you come up with. A writing prompt enables you to have something to write about straight away, it avoids the blank page syndrome where you stare at a blank page and have a blank brain to match.
Tips for Using a Writing Prompt
- Put aside some time to write – even just 15 minutes will do
- Plan ahead to write – send the family out for a walk
- Find a place to write and make sure that your tools of choice (laptop, pen and paper or old-fashioned typewriter) are available.
- Just write based on the prompt. You may not know immediately what you are going to write but begin by writing a sentence and see what comes up.
- Don’t worry about editing. You can edit your story once it is finished. No story is ever finished after a first draft and every story can be improved. Just focus on getting the words down on paper/screen.
- When your story is finished, give it some space. Wait 24 hours before taking a look at the editing
- Not every story can be a best seller, but when you write one that you are really proud of, then I encourage you to ask someone else to read it and give you constructive feedback. Preferably someone you trust. It is important to get used to the idea of someone else reading your stories if you want to do more with them
- Know that your writing brain acts like a muscle. The more you write, the more ideas and inspiration will come to you and the more you will have to write. Ideas are all around us, you just have to tune your brain in to them.
Where can I find Writing Prompts?
I have recently discovered Julie and she offers a lot for writers. She offers a free planning tool, lots of help and information as well as courses and of course, writing prompts.
Daily Prompt App
Currently on Apple only but Android is planned. You pick a time of day when you are most likely to write and you will receive an alert and a writing prompt at that time. This app is a gateway to a community where you can receive feedback on your story and enter competitions.
This is a fun tool that can turn up some quite diverse ideas. It is also a blog with lots of ideas about writing.
Social Media Writing Prompts
You can find writing prompts on your social media of choice. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr and Reddit all offer writing prompts. Search using the hashtag #writingprompts or #writingpromptsdaily
Sign up for fiction, non-fiction and poetry prompts. The magazine is based in the US and runs programmes and courses for poets and writers.
Offers a list of daily writing prompts and is also a literary journal
Offers some pictorial ideas as well as hints on writing your own writing prompts. Could also be useful for teachers of students.
Reedsy are a great writing blog which offer a sign up for 5 writing prompts a week. It also offers a writing competition with a $50 prize every week.
Writers’ Digest Online Workshops
Picture and written writing prompts to help get you writing. Lots of information on writing, too.
A great way to start writing is to write flash fiction which requires precision and imagination. Christopher Fielden offers a great resource to writers. He offers hints and tips and a regularly updated source of writing competitions, but it is in writing challenges that he excels.
He publishes a number of anthologies for charity, based on short 100-200 word stories. To enter you can either email your story to him or fill in the contact form with your story. You will need to write a short bio and your story, and that’s it. As long as it meets the brief then Christopher will include it in the anthology. There is also a Facebook for authors who contribute to the anthologies. A community can really help you keep writing.
So there you have it. If you have decided that 2021 is the year that you want to start writing and get past your writers’ block, then here are a selection of good resources to get you going.
Please do drop a line in the comments if this article has given you a push to get writing.