From very early on in my writing, I have loved using prompts. Personally, I don’t go for complicated prompts – those that border on puzzles. For example, “Use these seven words in a flash fiction of under 300 words” or “Write a story in which the protagonist is somebody who has constructed a house across the street from your grocer.” Some people gravitate towards prompts like that and I certainly applaud them for it. They just don’t click with me. I like gentle, nudging prompts. Sometimes a gentle prompt such as a single word or image will unlock a story that’s been churning away in my subconscious for some time. Or a prompt will put some structure around a vague idea that I’ve had for a story.
It is with this idea in mind that I stumbled upon an idea for a prompt while wandering around a bookstore the other day (yes, bookstores still exist in some parts of the country). ”Word a day.” As simple as that. The idea came to me while looking at moleskins in the bookstore. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any “word a day” calendars at this time of year, but I found a free app for my iPhone and I am now off to the races.
My goal is to get into a daily writing habit even if it’s something as small as a paragraph or just a few lines, although I know that many days I won’t be able to pull this off. I started my “Inspiration Minute” posts with that in mind, sharing things that inspire me to at least think and possibly write. And “Word a day” also fits that prescription beautifully and in two days it has inspired two flash-length stories. My words so far have been “avatar” and “trenchant.” The stories themselves may or may not ever see the light of day – the goal isn’t to work a finished story every day, just put forth some rough draft material.
I’ve added a “word of the day” to my sidebar – scroll down, it’s on the right-hand-side. Not sure if I’ll leave it there, but it serves as a good reminder for me for the moment.
Do you use prompts? What sort of prompts work best for you? Please add your links for prompt sources and if I get enough, I’ll gather them up and include them in a post. I’ll share some of my favorites, as well.