Tuesday, May 7, 2013

No Pressure, in 3-5: Writing Prompts for Very Busy People

Boy, do I hope this works. Poetry Month just ended last week. I honestly thought I would flame out after week one. Never thought would feel so driven to crank out a poem a day. And I never expected that when it was over, others would be asking me for help, to help keep our creative momentum going. So I came up with an idea. I have no idea if it will work or not. I dreamed this up on Friday. I did a little research over the weekend to see if anyone else is doing it. Best that I can tell, they’re not. So here’s the idea...

The biggest complaint writers have is “I don’t have time to write.” I write for a living and I don’t have time to write. Not the creative stuff. The fiction-y, poet-y, WordNerd-y mess-around-with-the-dictionary fun stuff. (Yes, my idea of a good time is reading the dictionary. I have issues.) Anyway, last month was the first creative writing I have done in a very, very long time.

So here’s my goofball way of making sure the fun writing happens more often...

No Pressure Prompts, in 3-5.


The 3-5... that’s the number of words, lines or phrases  I’ll ask you to write. It's a minimum. It can be a paragraph. It can be a poem. Whatever. No pressure. Write 3-5. It's the length of a Twitter post. You write those. Of a Facebook update. You write those. Of a Post-It note. You wrote those too. It's something you can jot down on a notepad and shove in your pocket if that's all you have time to  write. If you're lucky (and the boss isn't looking, or the kids are playing quietly... write more! Please! By all means.) 

The 3-5 is a minimum amount of creativity. No pressure. Off the top of your head. Improv. First thing that the prompt brings to mind. The first thing that makes you smile. It's more of a creativity exercise than a writing exercise. It's not about writing down the Most Genius Piece of Literature You Ever Wrote. It's about sparking the playtime on the page that the prompt provides... 

But that's just the first piece of it...

Pen It, Post It, or Publish It. Take that any way you would like it to mean... But speaking as the World's Greatest Coward when it comes to sharing stuff I've written  just off the top of my head, I've discovered that this will work best if you share what you wrote. If you'd rather write it in your notebook and keep it there, that's fine. Again, No Pressure. But feedback is how we learn. It's how we have fun and grow. If your writing prompt made you smile -- it might make someone else smile too. So I'll (gently) push you to post it -- on Facebook, on Twitter, on your blog, or just email it to a friend.

The point is for these prompts to give you a spark. Something to use. To write, every day. Even when you have no ideas. Or time. Very short. Very simple. And something that can be built upon. These 3-5 lines... you want to save them. Use them, build on them. My hope is that after doing this for a few weeks, we can start prompting on ways to take what you've already created and turn it into  Something More... if you haven't started doing that yourself already.

So that's the deal.

3-5 times a week, I'll send out writing prompts that require no more than 3-5 lines. Writing that can be done when you maybe only have 3-5 minutes. No pressure to make it more than that. (But if the spirit moves you and you want to write more -- go for it!) 

I'm making this up as I go, right along with you. I welcome ideas. Feedback. Prompt suggestions. This might not work out. But what do you say we give it a try?  -- WNG

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5/07/2013

    I love my brother. I was estranged from him for 40 years due to some strange family dynamics. We were recently re-aquainted @ a funeral. I had always wondered how he would fare in the face of the same things I could not tolerate. Well, he's a self -made success. He managed to launch a career as a musician, married, raised kids and got them through college in spite of (or maybe because of ) some daunting circumstances.

    Please, if you don't take anything else away from this, remember : Children remember everthing you say to them. Tell them everyday that they're even better looking , smarter & able to accomplish everything they want to do.

    I love my brother.