Gentle Prompting

By now I’m sure anyone reading this has noticed the Friday updates. I hope you’re enjoying them, too.

I’ve never used writing prompts before. I never felt like I needed them or had time for them, since I was always so focused on other things. Then at the beginning of August, I hit a terrible slump in my writing. Slumps happen from time to time, but they’re still frustrating, especially when they hit right at the beginning of a project, and one you’ve been wanting to write for a dozen years, at that.

I started the month with a plan to write 20,000 words for my next big project. It seemed like a reasonable amount, less than 1,000 words a day. And yet by the middle of the month, I had only 5,000 words, half of them needing to be scrapped and reworked. It was just that bad.

So I picked up something different. Some friends were doing writing prompts for fun, something different from the norm that let them get the juices flowing with characters who might not get a lot of exercise otherwise. After all, even after you’re done writing a series, you still think of the characters you grew to love while working on it. And when you have a big workload with a lot of books to finish, like me, it might be a long time before you cycle back to some of your favorite fictional friends.

I feel like it’s helped a lot to use prompts selected randomly from a list, and then complete them without editing anything written. It hasn’t gotten me all the way back on track–I certainly didn’t reach 20,000 words with my current project–but it does still have me writing, and every prompt I complete helps me feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things after a little bit of burnout.

So for the next few weeks, at least, you’ll be seeing pieces of flash fiction from writing prompts posted here every Friday. They can be accessed in the future by viewing the Short Stories archive linked to on the left. And if you’re looking for more pieces of free writing, you can check out the work my friends are posting here and here!

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