When it comes to kick starting the writing process I know plenty of people who like to use writing prompts.
There are a lot of different ways to find prompts – short ideas designed to give you a starting point. There are accounts on Tumblr that frequently post short or long writing prompts and I’ve done group exercises before when one person makes a suggestion on each turn so that we can all write our own version of a story using the prompt. Obviously this is only a couple of examples of how you can get started with finding your own writing prompts.
Beginning a piece of writing isn’t the same for everyone of course. In our own online writing group there are people who love writing prompts and other writers who don’t like that method of writing.
If a writing prompt catches my eye then I’m usually happy to write at least a little bit on the subject. Sometimes it’s about keeping in practice and at other times it is just because an idea was too good to resist. For example, I was scrolling through Tumblr the other day when I saw this as a writing prompt, ‘Do you want to live forever?’ and I started writing a short piece immediately:
Do you want to live forever?
It was idle curiosity that made me pick up the leaflet. You know what its like. Sitting in the waiting room of the local doctors surgery is hardly the most interesting thing that you’re ever going to do. There’s reading material everywhere. Even if most of it’s not particularly interesting your eyes still tend to wander.
It honestly didn’t look like much but, I was bored enough to pick up the purple and yellow leaflet. Sickly yellow and purple, by the way, is not a colour scheme I would recommend. All that was written on the front was ‘Do you want to live forever?’
I don’t know what I expected. Whatever it was, it wasn’t what I got.
If I ever find out who it was that actually left that leaflet in that waiting room – we’re going to have words. Strong ones.
It might not be much but, I like the intrigue. If I wanted to write more, using what I’ve got then I figure that expanding on what I already have would make an interesting piece. Writing prompts can be pretty subjective but they can also lead to great flash fiction pieces or they can lead you on to a much bigger idea if you’re lucky.
A fellow writer posted this prompt to our writing group the other day and I think that it’s an interesting one to write for if you’re looking for a prompt at the moment.
Writing prompts don’t completely take away my desire to have a really good session of brainstorming with like-minded people. I love the process of throwing out ideas and seeing if anything sticks but, writing a short piece just because I liked what I read is good for passing the time and for testing my own writing limits because there’s not really any boundaries once you’ve jumped from the initial idea.