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?




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: Photo Edition

It's been awhile since I've given you a prompt in my ongoing Promptitude series, and earlier this weekend I had a brainstorm.  (That said brainstorm was on Saturday morning and i'ts now Sunday evening and I'm finally getting around to posting gives you some idea of how busy this weekend has been.)

So here's the brain flash:

use a photo for a prompt.  Ta da!

There's alot to be said for this approach.  You can take any element of the photo, or the entire thing.  Write about one person,  a relationship between two of the people in the photo, or what you think is going on in it.  Use one person from the photo and create a whole life for them.  What's their ordinary day like?  Is what's going on in the photo a usual part of their ordinary day, or is this an unusual event?  What will they do when this happening (to use a phrase from the swingin' sixties) is over?  Go eat lunch?  Drink in a bar?  Meet their lover for an assignation at a ritzy hotel?

Okay, I'm getting carried away.  Now its your turn.  Have at it.  Oh, one last thing.  With the help of Jessica Baverstock, we are cooking up something really cool around the idea of prompts for the new year.  You're going to love it!

Here's your photo.  Go write. 

(Photo form

When you're done with your writing session and still hungry for more, here are some of the other Promptitude posts:

Saturday Prompitude (the one that started it all)

Promptitude: LA

Promptitude: New Moon

Promptitude: Wide Open Spaces

Promptitude: What Makes a Good Prompt?

The Return of Promptitude (complete with juicy medical prompts)

There's more prompt posts, but I'm too lazy to list them I've got to go get ready for dinner at my sister's.  And wine.  It's been awhile since I've had me some wine.

Promptitude: Summer Vacation

Beach_sand_warm_247390_l Alas, I have been alarmingly somewhat remiss in my project of providing you with prompts.   But seeing as how I'll be on a plane to Orlando tomorrow (for the Suzanne Evans 10K Coaching Club business intensive) I thought I might extract some summer vacation type prompts from my fertile brain.  Even though I'll be working, not vacationing.  And on my birthday, no less.

So here you go:

They ran through the airport.

The plane was late.

The problem with the tropics is the heat.

Ah, sunshine.

Sand has an annoying habit of collecting everywhere.

Her feet hurt from walking all day.

She enjoyed the perfect qualities of a trashy beach book.

Vacations are important because.

Her favorite thing to do on an airplane was…

The car ride made him sick.

*For more inspiration, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free book when you do!  All you have to do is fill out the form to the right.


Photo by ohinsanity, from Everystockphoto.

Promptitude: Departing for Another World

A friend wrote and told me she seems to be surrounded with people who are having their own personal earthquakes and tsunamis.  I, appparently am no different.  So if you are not in the mood for a short, downer post, click away now.  I'll forgive you.

I was going to do a prompt this week around journal writing, specifically, something to do with writing your way back to yourself.

But right now I'm sitting with a dying pug.  My poor sweet Ally's health problems are overwhelming her and she's got a foot in each world right now.  I'm just happy I got to have her for a few months.  And that she is having a peaceful, loving death.

Here's the prompt of the week, snitched from the book of prompts that I'm creating:

And then we came to the end.

Send a little prayer for the safe passage of my beloved writing companion, would you please?

7 Ways to Use Writing Prompts With Your Current Project

Writing prompts…love 'em or hate 'em.


Some people swear by them, while others shudder at the thought of using a writing prompt in their work. Because, too often, using random writing prompts can lead you astray.  And let's face it, most prompts are a bit on the random side, aren't they?  Those books of prompts are great, but they have about as much as common with your novel in progress as flying to the moon does to a wedding dress.

Say you're stuck on your writing project, so you open one of your books of writing prompts, choose one and begin writing.  All well and good.  Except that you're just writing, not really writing about anything of much interest or use to you.

Now, I'm a great one for writing something, anything, on a regular basis.  And I often exhort people to do just that–particularly when they are stuck.  But writing mindlessly for any great length of time can be as frustrating as not writing.   Writing aimlessly is bad for your creative morale, because your heart and soul won't be in it.

The trick is to find a way to make your writing prompts relevant to your current project, so that they are enhancing your writing, not taking away from it.  When used in this manner, writing prompts can be wonderfully helpful in a couple of ways:

  • To generate actual writing
  • To get a flow of ideas going
  • To get yourself unstuck

And, remember, the best way to use prompts is as freely and loosely as possible.  Take your prompt, write it at the top of a sheet of paper, and set a timer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Then write.  And write and write and write, without stopping, until the timer goes off.

If you want to use writing prompts with your current project, here are some suggestions:

1. Take the last line of the previous scene or chapter and use it as a prompt.  Or take the first line.  Using a sentence from your work is a great way to drive deeper into the writing.  Because you are writing freely and loosely, your inner critic is silenced and you may be surprised what you come up with.

2. Put a location from your book into a sentence and use it as a prompt.  You can do this for the city or area your book is set in, or do it on a smaller scale, using a building such as your character's workplace or his home to write about.  This technique can help to uncover details you'll later use in description, or even ideas your character might have about her surroundings.

3. Put your character in a sentence.  Of course, this is sort of the whole point of writing a novel, but do this in a random way, having your character do either something unexpected or completely mundane and then write about it for 20 minutes.  You'll be amazed what you'll learn.

4. Use a line of dialogue from your project. 

5. Use keywords as prompts.   Quick, tell me three words that describe your writing project.  Now use those words as prompts–either one at a time or putting them into a sentence.

6. Use theme as a prompt.  Maybe you don't know what the theme of your book is–don't laugh, it takes many a draft to figure it out sometimes–or maybe you have a vague idea of it.  Make a sentence out of what your don't know or that vague idea and use it for a prompt.

7. Riff on the title.  Most works-in-progress have a title, even if its only a working title.  Use that for a prompt and see what comes up.

Those are some ways I've used prompts with my work-in-progress.  Any more suggestions?