I love writing prompts because they both force me and free me to create stories or poems I may not have otherwise considered. The “freewriting” nature of most prompt exercises tames my inner editor. I’m also usually thinking no one will ever read what I’m writing, so I stretch my writing muscle and imagination. Due to the short timeframe for most writing prompt requirements, I usually look back at the rough draft of the finished product and consider the outcome as time well spent.
Ten years ago, I participated in about a fun contest at Writing.com. The 15 for 15 Contest challenged writers to respond to writing prompts (photos) for 15 straight days writing for no more than 15 minutes each day. Per Writing.com:
This contest is for writers
who may only have a little
time on their hands
but a lot of creative ideas
bubbling around in their heads.
All you will need is 15 minutes a day for 15 days
I highly recommend these types of activities and contests for writers because it forces pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. Below is an example of one of those writing prompt responses that I would have never just sat down and wrote. It ended up being a runner-up in that day’s contest! Responding to prompts makes writers think beyond what they may normally write without judging themselves (as much).
“I love you to Pluto and back!” Jason said lovingly, while on one knee grinning ear to ear and looking into Natalie’s eyes.
“It’s to the Moon and back, goofball.”
“No, it’s not. Pluto is far further than the Moon, and I love you more than the simple distance to the Moon.”
Natalie couldn’t help but love this man. The past nine months she’d learned more about love than she had in the thirty years before. Jason, unafraid of his feelings, and unafraid of commitment and attachment. She’d never met anyone like him.
“Where are you?’ he asked, sensing she had wandered off to another place, which she seemed to do quite often.
“I’m right here, my love, just lost in thoughts. I haven’t gone anywhere; I’m still with you.”
“Good, because I was thinking we should go grab a blanket and sit outside in this crisp air and stargaze for a while. Then I can show you how far Pluto is, so you’ll see how much I love you.”
Natalie cooed, “I can’t think of a better way to spend our nine-month anniversary.”
“Nine months? I thought it was nine days?” Jason smiled again, gazing at her mouth this time, and seemed expectant of an answer.
“Nine months, nine days – who’s counting? I’ll get the blanket and lead the way to the best spot on the hill.”
As they settled in together lying on their backs, bodies warm, close, and sharing heartbeats, he whispered in her ear, “Please tell me what you see.”
“I see the man I want to spend the rest of my life with, Jason.”
“I meant what do you see in the sky. But I do like your answer better.”
On the nine-month anniversary since their first date, Jason committed to marry Natalie and take care of her for the rest of her life. And Natalie committed to loving a man forever who had no sight, but a heart that was out of this world.
Unfortunately, Writing.com no longer runs the 15 for 15 contest, but for anyone interested, here is Writing.com’s prompts link: Writing Prompts, Creative Writing Prompts, Prompts for Writers – Writing.Com. Set your timer for 15 minutes a day for 15 straight days and surprise yourself. If anyone has writing prompt thoughts or suggestions, please leave a comment!