By Shannon Grossman
Getting into a writing routine can be difficult. It may seem impossible to somehow spout out words on a page, day in and day out, on command. Authors do it all the time; it should be easy, right? Yet when you try to get up an hour early, brew that cup of coffee, sit down with your laptop open on a blank page, words seem impossible.
People keep telling you to free-write. To write whatever just comes to mind and spill complete nonsense onto a page. But what if there is nothing? It’s like life rebooted itself, and you can only blink and stare, the memory erased.
But there is a solution. Prompts. As writers, we can be inspired again. The workings of the mind will begin to creak, fingers will begin hesitantly making words, but then the pace will pick up as ideas begin to generate, and soon it’s half past noon, and you wonder where the time went.
Prompts can help ease our way into getting into a writing routine, to help us free-write and inspire ideas, regardless of their future use.
And here are some prompts to help you get started, to expand your imagination, practice your dialogue, tease out those descriptions, basically to just plain write, today, and the next, and the next (well, for the next week, at least). Try. Try to use one of these prompts below to get going:
1) You and your closest friends from college decide to venture down memory lane and revisit your favorite places from way back. When you get there, everything seems the same, despite the time that has passed. Then you realize, that no time has passed and you’re trapped in a time warp.
2) It is the first day of your new, dream job, and you can’t wait. At the end of the day, you’ve quit. What happened?
3) You’re sitting on some sort of public transportation. A couple near you begin having an argument. Your stop isn’t for another 20 minutes, and, if you get off, you’ll be late.
4) Out of these three sentences, choose one to start your story and one to end it: “This vacation needs to end.” “There is a knife on the table, and I am only a foot away.” “She asks me to kiss her.”
5) Write a scene while traveling through nature. Includes the words: pencil, elephant, plate, bar, jetpack and marbles.
6) You enjoy participating in a sport of your choice. In the middle of your activity, you are warped into an animated world from the Disney movie of your choice.
7) Begin a story about something negative—war, death, disease—and turn it into something positive.