Time To Write. But Struggling To Get On With It: Using writing prompts to get started #writing #amwriting #writingprompts #WordPress

Getting Started Can Prove Difficult

Whether you’re a professional author, someone who writes as a hobby, or are a complete novice, the hardest part of getting words down on the page is often, simply, getting started – even in normal times.

But, in the challenging times we’re currently living through, no matter how much you want to continue writing, or to give it a try for the first time, it may be proving even more difficult to get in the zone – regardless of the time you may have at your disposal.

Writing like any other art or craft is part aptitude, part acquired skill, but for the most part perseverance. It can be frustrating, challenging and exhilarating.

Yes, it begins with inspiration and by that I don’t mean anything particularly grand. It can be a tiny seed – a passing thought, a memory, a question that pops into your head uninvited but it can be enough to eventually lead to a finished, polished and ready to share piece of work. Or having explored it you might decide it’s not worth pursuing. But either way you’re going to have to take the idea and have a go at writing something.

But sometimes inspiration doesn’t arrive. You know you want to write something but you don’t know what. And this is equally the case for experienced and rookie writers. And sometimes, even when you do have an idea you’d like to run (or continue) with, that old enemy procrastination prevents you getting to your notebook or laptop and getting on with it.

And this is where writing prompts can prove very useful. A writing prompt is that little seed that will get you started but you don’t have to come up with an idea yourself. It’s also not prescriptive in terms of style or content, it’s just a gentle, non-threatening nudge.

Following a writing prompt might lead to a few lines, a paragraph, or a page of words. The result might turn out to be a poem, a bit of factual writing or a fictional story. It might be something you want to develop further, it might not – but it will get you in the writing zone.

Using a prompt acts as a warm-up for your writing brain. It can set you up for getting back to the work-in-progress or it can inspire and encourage you to try something new. Nobody but you is going to see it. You can write freely. And it doesn’t have to lead to anything other than writing for its own sake.

So all you need now are some examples – some actual writing prompts – and it so happens I have some to share with you. And they’re courtesy of the amazing creative folks over at WordPress.

Writing Prompts on WordPress

Throughout the month of April WordPress has been offering a daily one-word creative prompt and you can see them by clicking here. There are also helpful notes and hints as to how you might go about writing your response to the prompt.

Examples include:

  • Hands
  • Pairs
  • Open
  • Song
  • Distance

So what are you waiting for? Established writer or complete beginner – go on give it a go. Write on the back of an envelope, in a beautiful notebook, or on your computer. Keep the results to yourself, develop them into something more, or put them up on your new or established writing blog – it’s up to you. But just do it.

What helps you to stop procrastinating – not only if you’re a writer – but in life in general? What helps you get into the required zone and get on with whatever it is you need to be doing? Are you finding it harder to concentrate during lockdown – or has it proved to be a gift of extra time for you to do the things you enjoy – while at home?