I don't do writing prompts.
They're a pointless waste of time and energy. Why? Because prompts are for people who don't know what to write. They're a distraction — a way to trick yourself into writing when you don't know what to say.
And frankly, you can do better than that.
Admittedly, prompts can be valuable — as an exercise. But eventually, you don't need another day at the gym. You need to sign up for the marathon and run. You need to go play a real game. You need to do something.
Here's what I find productive — far more than writing prompts (no offense to those who use them):
Write something meaningful and share it
Okay, you may be thinking, why can't that be a writing prompt?
Because a writing prompt is an exercise. It's something you do to practice for the Big Event. And I don't buy that. Because this is it — life is the big event.
Every day, we are living and competing. Not just practicing. We are playing.
Why are you still waiting? Time to show us what you've got.
Why keep hiding behind writing prompts?
You have something to say. Say it now.
Don't wait for permission or a piece of paper to say you're ready. Do it now. Hit publish on your blog. Send your local newspaper that piece that's been sitting on your laptop for months, unedited.
Ship. Deliver. Go. Act. Move. Now.
Writing prompts are for people who would rather sit on the sideline than get in the game.
And you're too good for that.
You want to know how really great musicians get really great? They play a lot of shows. They don't spend hours in the studio or jamming in their friend's living room. They book a concert. They force themselves to practice in public.
In other words:
Stop rehearsing, start broadcasting
Put away the writing prompts and write something that matters today. And when you're done, share it. Yes, this is scary. But it is also how you get very good.
What this does to the seriousness with which you treat your craft is amazing.
- You will work harder. Because you have to. People are watching.
- You will be braver. Because you have to. An audience is counting on you.
- And you will do better. Because you have to. Others are depending on you.
That's it. No more talking. No more practicing. No more prompting.
You're already in the game. Will you play?
* * *
Of course, you could always do both — use a writing prompt and ship. And if you need some help, my friend Joe's eBook 14 Prompts is a great resource.
Just don't use it to hide. You have what it takes. Get started. Now.
Do you use writing prompts? Why or why not? Share your experiences in the comments.
*Photo credit: Julie Jordan Scott (Creative Commons)