Five prompts to smack down Writer’s Block

“I learned that if you want to make it bad enough, no matter how bad it is, you can make it.”~Gale Sayers, American athlete

I was going to write about Writer’s Block, but I have writer’s block. 

Small, random prompts are the best. An unexpected string of words. I forgot how much fun that was until my last Deadwood Writers Group meeting. Facilitator John gave us all a 5-minute writing prompt to use all senses with this opening line: “Kelly and Shawn stared across a wooden table, cups in their hand.” Our group had been critiquing a member’s piece involving alcohol, so naturally my mind leaped to Beer Pong.

In five minutes, I only got touch, sight and smell. Maybe I did get sound with my sentence, “He snorted.” I definitely didn’t get taste, but that’s an easy one to add in without that time constraint. I embellished that prompt–more accurately, condensed that–into a 100-word micro-fiction entry for this year’s Rochester Writers contest. I’ve been procrastinating about that entry, but this spontaneous exercise in my writers group inspired me. It was a short piece, anyway; I just had to make the tight words do double duty.

So if you don’t have a creative writers group with you, how do you come up with prompts? Here are some ideas:

• Grab a book or magazine. Open to a random page. Write down 10 words: five nouns and five verbs. Then, depending on the words, ask the question, “Who/What/Where is that?” Or ask all three.

• Play an I-Spy game. Look out the window, and in 30 seconds, write down the first 5, 10 or 20 images you see. Begin a writing exercise with: “I never expected to see a/an [image] doing that.”

• Use the above Kelly and Shawn prompt above.

• Type “writing prompts” into your search engine. A plethora of images pop up with prompts for dialogue, alphabet writing, holidays, scenarios, What Ifs, poetry, storytelling and lists.  One website that stuck out to me is thinkwritten, which has a 365 creative prompts blogpost.

Of course, you could always start writing about having writers block.

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