Inventive Writing Post Round-up #16

Here's the latest collection of blog posts from my Tumblr blog!

#110  Use the words red, candle and chicken in a sentence.  Then use that sentence as a writing prompt.

#111  Stand up and look out the window.  Now write a sentence describing what you see.  Use that sentence as a prompt.

#112  You’ve just been called up to serve in the army for six months.  What will you miss the most when you are away from home?  Write about it in full, glorious, sensual detail.

#113 Off again—this time you’re headed back home.  What does home mean to you?  What do you find there you can’t find anywhere else?

#114  Call it religion or spirituality, call it a longing for something bigger than yourself. How does this manifest in you or your character’s life?  Do you/they ignore it or follow the call?

#115  Do you believe in luck?  Or would you call it something else?  How does it manifest in your character’s life?

#116  It's Saturday!  How does your main character's routine differ from the week days?  What does he or she like to do for fun?

There you go! How are you using prompts these days?

Inventive Writing Prompt Round-Up #15

The weekly collection of prompts from my Tumblr blog (and don't forget, there are tons more here.)

#103 Write about how your main character exercises.  Does she go to the gym? Is he a runner training for the marathon?  Does she talk about starting an exercise program but never quite get to it?

#104 "If I were queen of the world, I would decree that Mondays did not exist," she said.

"But then Tuesdays would become Mondays," he said.

She shook her head.  ”I don’t care.  It just wouldn’t be the same.”

What one thing would you change if you ruled the world?

#105 What magazines do you, or your main character, read regularly? Make a list.  Write what this list says about you.  If you don’t read magazines, write about that.

#106 What is your favorite thing about airplane travel?  Your least favorite?

#107 Write about light, or the lack of it.  Every setting has a particular kind of light—bright and sunny, soft and glowy, dark and gray.  We writers look at all aspects of setting, but often forget to notice one of the most basic—light.  

#108  When it was finally over, they….

#109  Write about a time when your body hurt.  What from?  Why?  How long did it last?

Now go forth and write! But first leave a comment–what's your most helpful writing tip?

 

 

Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #12

#82  He dealt cards to the four of them playing.   As they picked up their hands, she said, “This seems like as good a time as any to tell you.”  And so, as the game progressed, she told her story.   What did she have to say?

#83  In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue…

Where have you (or your main character) gone lately?  Write about the journey.

#84  "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you," they sang.  She sat at the table, staring at the candle-laden cake and beaming, and then looked around at all the faces she loved so much.  What would they think if they knew what she was planning to do next?

Write what she does.

#85  "It hurts," he said.

"If you didn’t want the pain, you shouldn’t have gotten a tattoo," she snapped.

"But I had to," he said.  "Because….."

#86  The last epic fight you (or your main character) had with their spouse.

Write about it.  What set it off? What was the goal of each spouse? How did it finally end?

#87  "Ugh," he said, "I ate too much."

#88  "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."  FDR

What is your biggest fear?  What is your main character’s biggest fear?  Why?

Write for at least 20 minutes

 Which one is your favorite?  Which one produced the most writing for you?

 

Inventive Writing Prompt Round-up #1

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I've started a daily writing prompt blog on Tumblr.  

However, one of my wonderful readers pointed out that it was impossible to get those posts emailed from Tumblr.  So I had a brainstorm:  why not do a weekly round-up post of the prompts?  

And so, here it is.

Behold, the first ten prompts:

#1. "Don't be stupid like me," he said. "Instead, remember that you should always…"

#2. Write about a time someone gave you (or your character) a present you hated. What was it? How did you react? Why did you hate it so?

#3.  She should have known better.

#4.  "To keep our faces toward change, and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate, is strength undefeatable."  Helen Keller

Write about a sudden change (in your life or the life of your character) and how people reacted to it.

#5.  The sickest you've ever been.

#6.  Here are the seven deadly sins: wrath, avarice, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony.  Choose two, and include them in a scene or a story.

#7.  You can pick one day out of your whole life to live over.  Which one is it?

#8.  Write about the last day of school.

#9.  She could taste the sharp tang of disappointment in the back of her throat.

#10.  Write about the one(s) who got away.

Okay, there you go–have at it.  Go forth and write!

 

Announcing…Punch for Prompt

If you're a regular visitor to this blog, you've probably noticed a new tab here.  It is called Punch for Prompt, and it's basically a place where you can punch a purple bar and get yourself a prompt.  And then another.  And then another.  A nearly endless supply of them, to be exact.  You can keep coming back and coming back and coming back and every time get a brand new prompt.  Cool, huh?

 

Punchforprompt1

 

This all came about because I mentioned to Jessica Baverstock of Creativity's Workshop that I wanted to find a way to easily get prompts to people.  I love prompts and think they can encourage amazing writing.  However, the key to encouraging lots of amazing writing is having an endless supply of prompts.  When I discussed all this with Jessica, she brought up an idea she'd had–Punch for Prompt–and volunteered to write the code.  Of course, it took me about one second to say yes.  The new Punch for Prompt page is the result.

Now, before you do anything else, like choose a prompt, head on over to Jessica's blog because she's also featuring Punch for Prompt today and she's doing something way cool, I must say.  You'll have to find out what it is for yourself.  So go check it out.  Oh, and I must also mention her brother, Tristan Ward, a programmer of international repute, who also helped with writing the code.  Thanks, guys!

As a reminder, here's one way you can use a prompt:

1.  Punch for Prompt

2.  Choose a computer or pencil and paper

3.  Set a timer for anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes

4.  Write without stopping or lifting your pen from the page

5.  Punch for Prompt again; rinse and repeat

Here are a few other posts on prompts:

7 Ways to Use Prompts With Your Current Project

Promptitude: What Makes a Good Prompt

On Writing Prompts

Happy Writing!

Please comment.  Do you use prompts?  What are your experiences with them?

Create a successful, inspired writing life: Punch for prompt.  Follow the instructions above.  Remember, you can aim the prompt at your current writing project or work on something totally new and different.

 

Promptitude: LA

As you are reading this, I'll in in LA.  Not lounging by the pool, even though I am staying in Santa Monica.  No, I'm at the first Suzanne Evans 10K Coaching Club Intensive, working my little tail off to come up with new and wonderful ways to serve my clients and readers.  Yes, you.

And since I am in LA, I figured LA-related prompts would be in order.  (You can go to my post from last week to get the links for all the prompt posts I've written.  I'm too busy being busy to relist them here.)

Ready? Here we go:

He was shocked that all the women looked alike.

Palm trees and blue sky mean home.

It never rains in California.

It is difficult and time-consuming to be beautiful.

There are way too many cars in the world.

"Everyone is rich, or should be," he said.

Amazing how ordinary celebrities look in real life.

The sun set over the Pacific.

She loved the ocean.

The sand felt dry and crunchy beneath her toes.

Have fun.  And if you get bored, check out my Book Proposal Teleclass, coming up soon.  You can read about it here.

Promptitude: Hair

After a brief break last week because I was off doing a VIP day, Promptitude is back.  For those of you who are not familiar with it, every Saturday I post prompts on whatever topic suits my whim.  You can read more about the process here, and find a list of all the Promptitudes so far at the end of this post. Woman_long_hair_271986_l

I am getting my hair done today.  The last time I went in for a cut was in September and afterwards I met my friends Sue and Mayanna for dinner and we sat at a sidewalk table of an Italian cafe in the autumn sunshine.

Ever since then, I've been dithering: cut it short, or leave it medium length?  Straight or layered?  I'm here to tell you, dithering results in only one thing: inaction.  (The same is true in writing, of course.  As above, so below.) And so, because of this inaction, my hair has gotten longer than it has been in years, it has no style, and the maintenance of it is driving me nuts.  Plus, I've got split ends for the first time since I was a teenager.

The problem is, the results of my informal polls of friends and family (cut short or not?) have been mixed, with violent opinions on either side.  So I'm just going to do what I've truly wanted to do for months now: get it all cut off.  I'll once again look like that photo that accompanies this site.

And so today I have hair on my mind.  And so will you, if you use the following prompts:

The woman with the scraggly hair pushed her shopping cart full of junk by their restaurant.

It hurt when Mom used to brush the snarls out of my hair.

He got a buzz cut at the start of every summer.

She used her hair as a flirtatious device.

With the first snip of her long locks, she cried.

Oh God, it looks awful.

Blondes have more fun.

There you have it.  Seven prompts about hair. 

Saturday Promptitude

Promptitude: What Makes a Good Prompt?

Promptitude: Departing for Another World

Promptitude: Super Moon Edition

Promptitude: Whiney Baby

Promptitude: New Moon

Promptitude: Rain

Promptitude: Wide Open Spaces

7 Ways to Find Ideas

How do you get ideas?  Do you struggle to find them, or do they come to you in an endless flow that is frustrating only because you can't act on all of them? Light_bulb_lamp_266884_l

Although most creative types fall into the latter category, I think if we're honest we'll also admit that there are fallow times when ideas aren't quite so forthcoming.  Your writing life will be a lot happier and less stressful if you realize that this is part of the creative cycle and don't beat yourself up over it.

I've been experiencing this myself lately, as you might have noticed from the lack of blog posts.   This morning I told myself I absolutely had to write a post.  But I had nothing to write about.  Nada, zip, zero, zilch. 

Until I realized that a lack of ideas is a problem all writers face at some point and I could just write about that.  The main reason I decided to do this was that I'd followed my own advice and consulted my list of ideas.  One of the items listed was "How to Get Ideas."  Voila! And so, here you go:

1.  Keep a list of ideas.  I have a pretty little Amy Butler three-ring binder that I keep ideas for blog posts and articles in.  This morning I perused them as I pondered what to write.  Even if you don't use an idea from the list, looking back over it will get your brain going.

2. Go surfing.  Spend a few minutes navigating about on the web and see what jogs your interest.  Warning: this can be dangerous.  As in, an hour later you're still reading articles and posts, justifying it because you're supposedly searching for ideas.  To avoid this, give yourself a time limit.

3.  Go for a walk.  This is the antithesis of #2.  But it is amazing how physical movement can jog your brain and let ideas flood in.  I find it especially helpful when I need inspiration in the middle of a project.

4.  Just start writing.  Not for the faint of heart, because it can so often bear no fruit.  But if you're really desperate for an idea pull out pen and paper and start writing.  See what happens.  You might surprise yourself.  You can also:

5.  Collect prompts.  The reason why prompts are popular is because they work.  A prompt is a jump-starter for your writing, a sentence or phrase that you use to get going.   I like to use them to gather ideas for current projects as well as to just practice writing.  It is best to cultivate prompts the way you cultivate friends–keep a list of them handy so you can go to it when needed.  I offer lists of prompts here every Saturday.

6.  Read a book.  A real book.  Step away from the computer screen and pick up a book, any book.  Grab a volume of poetry and sit with it for 15 minutes.  See if that doesn't get the juices flowing.

7.  Visit a museum.  Or an art gallery.  Or an art supply store.  Or a stationery or office supply store.  Or a book store.  Go somewhere that contains either the finished product of creative effort, or offers supplies for said activity.   A location that showcases finished containers or offers empty ones.  Either will inspire.

Bonus Item: Meditate or pray.  Or if you don't like any of that woo-woo stuff, get quiet and breathe.  Ask for an idea.  See what happens.  It might be magic.

What are your favorite ways to get ideas?

Photo by brokenarts, from Everystockphoto.

Promptitude: Wide Open Spaces

I just got back from visiting southeastern Oregon. 

The east side of Oregon is totally different from the west side of Oregon, where I, and most of the state's population, lives.  The east side is basin and range, gold and brown, mesas, cattle, warm, dry, long stretches of wide open spaces. The west side is green, rainy, lush, forested, hills and valleys, cities, people, business. 

When you live in a green, rainy city, visiting the open landscape of the east side of the state is mind blowing. Vfiles27241

To wit: the photo on the right, which is an image of a dirt road on Steens Mountain, the peak that looms over the entire area.  (It also moves.  Depending on where you are in the landscape, it looks like it has changed location.  It is very agile for a mountain.)

So, for your writing pleasure, here are some prompts having to do with wide open spaces, rainy landscapes, and blowing your mind:

She couldn't believe it.

The road went on forever.

In the mountains, there you feel free.     (With thanks to T.S. Eliot)

Oh my God, really?

Rain dripped from the boughs of the fir tree.

When the car broke down in the high desert he started walking.

Cows mooed loudly as they hiked by the fields.

Snow fell on a cold April morning.

Fields of gold and brown caught the sunlight.

Only one hundred more miles to go.

PS–My friend Debbie and I reserved the Diamond Hotel for a writing retreat in April of 2012.  It is going to be fabulous, so stay tuned!

Promptitude: Rain

It has been raining here forever.  Worst spring in ages. 

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It is not for me to complain, however, because when I was in Nashville last weekend, the temperatures hit 90 degrees.  And the sun shone nearly every day I was there.  Plus, bad storms hit the day before I arrived and a few days after I left.  (The storms yesterday and last night were truly awful, read more about the havoc they wreaked here.  Love and prayers to all affected.)

But, weather is always good to write about.  (And that's the great thing about being a writer: good or bad, no matter what happens to you, you can always write about it.)  So here are a few prompts inspired by the weather:

When the rain started, they ran for cover.

After the storm…

The sun eventually shines.

Winds howled and the lights flickered.

There's no sense in worrying about the weather because you can't do anything about it.

Snow fell faster and faster.

Heat rose from the asphalt in waves.

Have at it!  What's the weather like where you live?

Photo by Scott Robinson, from Everystockphoto.