Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Staying Creative, Part 5: Prompt Yourself

You can compare writing prompts for writers like an automatic pilot light for a gas stove. Some of us prefer a wood burning stove for our heat. But we have to chop down the tree, split the wood, stack the bundles near the house, stuff the logs in the oven, light a match to them, stoke the fire, and keep feeding more logs as fire dissipates. So most of us prefer the ease of flipping a switch, turning a knob, or igniting the pilot light, and presto—here comes the heat for as long as we need it. We writers are the wood-burning-stove types. We have to get the idea, muster the inspiration, draft laboriously, revise paragraphs, edit sentences, change words, correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling, and probably somewhere down the line rewrite the whole darn thing.

Writing prompts might ease the pain. If you do a web search on “writing prompts,” you’ll find a seemingly endless list of topics you can use as springboards for getting started in the writing process. They range from single words to paragraphs, from nonsense to insights.

You can get started clicking on the weblinks below. Some are for schoolchildren, but even they’re helpful for adults:

Can-Teach Writing Prompts

Creative Writing Prompts

Jefferson County Tennessee Schools Prompt Generator

Writer’s Digest Writing Prompts

Writing-Lesson-of-the-Month Prompts