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?

 

 

 

Why Blog? Just Because

image © 360b via shutterstock.com

It started as one thing but became something quite different…

It was back in January 2010, having just published my first novel, that I began writing this blog. The word on online-writer-street was (and still is), that as an author, it was advisable to have a blog in order to raise your authorly profile and to alert potential readers to your masterpieces and where they could buy them.

So after a bit of research I chose WordPress to be the host for my blog. I liked its ease of use, even for an old, not very tech savvy bird like me. I also liked the wide choice of style and appearance that WordPress has to choose from.

To start with I blogged mainly about my writing. I wrote about the process, motivation and road to publication and beyond. At first the number of people viewing my posts was low. But ever so gradually the numbers grew. People started to ‘like’ the posts and comments started to come in. I also visited and began to follow other people’s blogs.

Later I linked my posts to my Twitter account, so that I could alert folks to new posts. And over the years I reviewed and updated the look and type of content on my blog and I also got my own domain of putitinwriting.me

And now? Now Put It In Writing is my online hub. It’s my home on the web. Yes, I have two author websites – one for each of my author identities – but they’re really just shop windows for my work. And yes, I have two author pages on Facebook where I engage with the readers of my books. But it’s on the blog that I write and share the stuff that matters most to my writing soul.

Nowadays after 268 posts, I write about books I’ve read, I write about my experiences, thoughts and reflections and sometimes I even write about my writing. I hope to entertain, give pause for thought and to inform.

But I no longer do it to sell books. I’m not sure it ever had that effect anyway. I blog because I love it. I enjoy writing the posts and I enjoy the comments and interaction that my posts generate.

And I get just as much enjoyment from reading others’ blogs. I follow a lot of other blogs here on WordPress and elsewhere, covering a wide variety of topics and types of writing. By engaging with fellow bloggers’ posts, I in turn, am entertained, made to think and informed. I read my fellow bloggers posts, comment on and share them on Twitter. And they do the same for me. And it’s through blogging, and the often related use of Twitter, that I feel like I’m part of a mutually supportive community of readers and writers.

The bloggers I follow are, by definition, all writers. They include fellow novelists, book bloggers who love reading and reviewing what they’ve read, and others who are commentators on all sorts of interesting topics.

Below I’ve listed just a few of my favourite bloggers –

Some wise and wonderful author bloggers include:

Helen Mackinven at https://helenmackinven.wordpress.com

Anne Stenhouse at https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/

Shelley Sackier at https://peakperspective.com/

Bryn Donovan at http://www.bryndonovan.com/

Summer Pierre at https://summerpierre.wordpress.com/

Henry Chamberlain at https://comicsgrinder.com/category/henry-chamberlain/

Martin Griffin at http://www.martingriffinbooks.com/

 

Some of the insightful and dedicated book bloggers who I’ve ‘met’ through the wonderful Book Connectors group on Facebook include:

Linda at https://lindasbookbag.com/

Hayley at https://rathertoofondofbooks.com

Anne at http://beingannereading.blogspot.co.uk

Joanne at https://portobellobookblog.com

 

Then there’s nature writer and artist and real life friend, Jan who blogs at https://janhendry.com/

There’s spot-on observational post writer Andrea at https://andreabadgley.com

There’s truck driving, Shakespeare buff and art lover George at http://myshakespearejourney.wordpress.com/

There’s lovely writer and photographer Marsha at http://tchistorygal.wordpress.com/

And finally, there’s the educational and engaging official blog of the Culloden Battlefield and Visitor Centre at https://cullodenbattlefield.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/270-years-ago/

 

One last thing  before you go, why do you read and or/write a blog? Do you have a sense of an online tribe and if so where does that come from? Do leave your thought in the comments below.