On Writing: Writing Prompts – Helpful Distractions and a Means to an End


The Writer's Adventure, by Sexton Burke

Writing prompts – the writer’s savior

I ordered a few books about writing, specifically a few about ideas for writing.  I keep finding myself at roadblocks with pieces I want to work on, and working with writing prompts has been helpful.

The book I flipped through this weekend is called The Writing Adventure by Sexton Burke.  It has pages of starters for writing.  In fact, each prompt sits on a full page so you can write.  I am not sure if I will do any writing inside the book – that is what I have all these notebooks for! – but I think it is a neat concept.

The book starts off with a few prompts geared towards personal reflection.  So I focused on these, and I figured I would share.  Maybe, as they helped me, they can help someone else too!  In fact, I think these might help content creators of all types, not just necessarily writers.

Sum up your most important reason for writing in a single word.

Every time you sit down to write, put this at the top of your page.

My word: Share!

Sharing my thoughts, ideas, feelings… this is my biggest reason for writing.  As I mentioned in my post about why to create a blog, I write because I am the only person who can say what I have to say.

It also gave me an idea for one of the six word memoirs we worked on in Creative Writing: Share it, Show it, Tell it!

Make two lists… the first detailing what it is you love about writing; the second, everything you struggle with.

What I Love About Writing:

  • Sharing my thoughts, ideas, feelings
  • Putting my thoughts into words
  • Making worlds and characters come to life
  • Creating a world of many layers and fitting them all together
  • Making A and B work together, whether it is pieces I have created or lore pieces from WoW that fit with my personal characters

What I Struggle with About Writing:

  • Making time
  • Finding the energy
  • Writer’s block
  • Writing about what I want to write about (often I end up working on prompts instead)
  • Distractions that come up while I am writing (usually self-induced, “researching” various items on the internet)

Reframe your view of the obstacles in your life that impede your writing.  Make a list of these obstacles.  Then, next to each one, write about how you can overcome the obstacle and how it might be used as a tool for creativity.

My obstacles:

  • Work – Use work as an inspiration instead of a hindrance.  Start writing some pieces about window cleaning!  I need to write down ideas as they come to me for posts and infographics.
  • School – Continue to use school projects as inspirations for blog posts.  I have used essays and short stories and even public speaking pieces to inspire blog posts.  Re-purposing my school work makes it serve multiple purposes.
  • Time – I need to MAKE TIME to write, instead of making excuses about not having time.  Sitting down with writing prompts (like these) are a good way to start.  I need to schedule time where I am not allowed to do anything but write about SOMETHING, no matter what it is.
  • Energy – If I need to drag myself off my butt, then so be it.  The important part is to keep myself motivated, create scheduled chunks of time (both for accomplishing things and for being “lazy”), and make writing more of a habit.
  • Inspiration – Writer’s block is no excuse for a blogger!  I do not have to stick to one story or topic.  I do not have to write anything in order.  I can write snippets as they come to me, and publish them in logical chunks.  Heck, I can post pieces I write from story prompts.  I am basically without limit on what I can do here on my blog.

Take a moment to examine [the] lists from the previous [prompts]…  Describe in detail what you find to be the single most challenging thing about writing and why it affects you the way it does.

It is not so much writer’s block I find frustrating, but not being able to work on the pieces I want to work on.  It seems whenever something is strong on my mind, my ability to actually write the story evaporates and instead I have to switch my focus and work on something else.  (ie. writing prompts)  I enjoy prompts, but I have plenty of stories I would prefer to be working on.

Now, determine what needs to be done to overcome this challenge…  Find a solution.  Write it out.

The past few weekends, I have been spending my free time working on updating and fleshing out the details of my personal fantasy world – Dadreon.

The other thing I do to combat writer’s block is to write out of order.  I write as things come to me.  Sometimes, writing out of order helps me to get back to the part of the story I was working on.

So the solution: Keep writing!  Write regularly.  Write as things come to me.  Write from prompts when nothing comes to me on its own.


From The Ultimate Secrets of Total Self-Confidence, by Robert Anthony:

“Psychological studies in personal performance show that individuals who have a plan and goals for their lives are happier and more successful than those who do not.”

What are your goals as a writer?  Do you have plans for achieving them…?  If you do, write the plan below.  If you do not, it’s time to create one.  Write it below.

My short term writing goal is to continue to regularly post on my blog – whether stories or posts about writing or personal stuff.  Post regularly.

My mid-range goal is to get back to actually writing stories in my personal fantasy world.

My long term goal is to eventually get a novel finished and published.

So there is an idea of what I have been working on this weekend.

~ Effy

Do you have any input or writing goals to share?  Please let me know!

Getting the Creativity Flowing


I finished my first week of school!

I already gave my first speech in my communications class and I have decided that taking Creative Writing II was the best school decision I could have ever made.  😀

My writing teacher, Jas (pronounced “jazz”) Obrecht, is fascinating.  My Tech Writing adviser had already told me some about him when I told her the classes I was taking.  So I was already aware of the fact that he spent many years writing for Guitar Player and interviewing a number of famous rock and blues guitarists.  He has a number of them on his personal blog: http://jasobrecht.com/ and he told us the story of his first interview, which also happened to be the first interview Eddie Van Halen ever gave: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/flashback-eddie-van-halens-first-interview/152258.

Among the stories told and introductions given, Jas explained that our first order of business would be the Haiku and 6-Word Memoirs.  He professed that less is more.  Strip your words down to the essentials.  Verbs are key.  He told us these two forms of expressing ourselves would illustrate his point.

So I am trying my hand at a few of each…



A Haiku is a Japanese poem with a specific format.  Three lines.  Five syllables, then seven syllables, then five syllables.  5-7-5.  Because of the limited nature of Haiku, they make you choose your wording carefully and state your point in a more succinct and sometimes abstract manner.

Soft, intelligent
Brown eyes.  I am a sucker
For my puppy dog.

Azure skin and horns,
Extraterrestrial being,
Draenei means exile.

Orange, red, gold, and brown.
Leaves cascading, falling down.
Beautiful autumn.

6-Word Memoir


The 6-Word Memoir is something that has been going around for sometime now, but surprisingly I have never tried writing one.  There are a number on Oprah’s website that we reviewed in class.  Though we can tell our life story in thousands of words, telling it in only 6 can be a refreshing change.  It can make us view things in a different way.  It can make us say things in a different way.

Live for writing.  Write for life.

Awaiting the muse is writing’s punchline.

WoW, there is more than gaming.

And now, a Poll…

In closing, I wanted to post a poll.  Jas said we can bring in some of our previous work for review in class.  I created a list of my shorter pieces, because 1) I will need a copy for each of my classmates and 2) we will have to read it in class.  So unfortunately, this leaves out some of my favorite pieces, simply because they are too long for my current purposes.

If you want to read them before choosing (either for the first time or again), here are the links:

  1. Regrets
  2. Tiny Dreamer
  3. A Reunion of Sorts
  4. In the Shadow, In the Light
  5. Bounty Hunter
  6. Beginning in the Middle
  7. Hunting the Hunters
  8. Aspect of Warning
  9. Daybreak
  10. Moonlight

Please let me know your thoughts!  Or share your own Haiku or 6-Word Memoir.  Also, feel free to include short story “write-ins” in the comments, if you prefer.  Maybe I can take in a longer piece at a later date.

~ Effy