To me, the idea of writing prompts is both curious (on the one hand) and slightly unnatural (on the other). I suppose some writers depend on such devices to spur their creative juices. WordPress even offers a daily prompt to facilitate bloggers who are stuck. At the end of 2013, the editors at WordPress produced a PDF file titled 365 Days of Writing Prompts.
A Google search for “writing prompts” yields more than ten million results. Many of those come from writing-teacher blogs and online workshops. Others have been provided by schools, colleges and how-to professional resources organized to help individuals develop career goals and more ably compete by acquiring better writing and/or conversational tools. There are writing prompts from past College Board exams to help future test-takers know what might be expected on an SAT test.
The range of writing prompts is probably as varied as writing itself. Sometimes writing prompts are fanciful: write a fairy tale where the princess turns into a frog. Other writing prompts are more mundane: describe the steps required to power up your computer. The key, apparently, is to train your mind for spontaneous, off-the-cuff writing readiness. (As I previously suggested, I think developing this skill carries over into conversation as well.) Continue reading “Careful Writing”