Prompts and Sprints

This topic is contested. I understand why it is not everyone’s cup of tea. To be honest, tea is not my cup of tea but that is for another time. I had learned exactly what a writing prompt is from my current writing group. I found it funny as I had been using writing prompts well before I even knew there was a term for it. Songs, stories, and art were long used as inspiration for writing. 

There are so many places to get writing prompts and a Google search will overwhelm you with results of pregenerated ones. Honestly, the world is just a large one. One of the first ones we did at Write On when I first attended was based on the movie Inside Out. The leader of the group brought in cards with just the words of the emotions on them. Anger was ultimately what I chose, and I don’t recall if I read that story out loud or not.  

Music and pictures or art are the ones which generate the most thoughts for me. My imagination runs wild when seeing a forest or desert landscape. The characters enter the world or keep doing what they were when I first saw them.  

Sprints go along with prompts pretty well. A writing sprint, which I am doing for this and my other articles, are using a given amount of time or word count and writing. You don’t stop, don’t edit. It is letting the words flow for an uninterrupted amount of time. Writing groups are good sources for this as well as on Twitter. If you want to start one yourself, just note the time and say you will be writing for the next fifteen minutes.  

I say these are a point of argument as it is not how everyone writes or wants to write. I noted that our group does them, but it is split on whether it is fun or not. It does add an element of almost being a homework assignment or a test. That causes stress that some don’t enjoy. As with all writing, the first draft comes out rife with issues. People are less willing to share and want to try to clean it up as much as possible before sharing. 

The prompts can also be slow to generate ideas or not resonate with people. Their inspiration is drawn from other places or they have a work in progress that they would like to focus on. Our minds all work differently, and creativity can sometimes come and go. 

Whether you are for writing prompts and sprints or against, know that they do exist. Doing these can seem like an exercise or help jump-start something you did not know you wanted to work on. Either way, you fall on this line, enjoy what you are writing and continue your work. If you do enjoy them, what have been some of your favorite prompts?

One Response

  • Hi Vince
    Thanks for this post. I hadn’t heard the term sprint, but a long sprint is NANOWRIMO!
    I have difficulty with prompts, especially in the group. Sometimes I just don’t have anything come to mind when I read the prompts.
    However, when I am researching info for a story, ideas come rushing at me.
    I have picked up six story ideas from my current research project.
    See you next week.

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