In my experience of writing over the past 12 years, I think writing prompts are essential for writers.
“But isn’t everyone just writing about the same thing?”
Well, yes and no.
While writers might use the same prompt, the separate pieces of work will never come out exactly the same. Everyone has their own interpretation or story that goes along with a prompt, so when there are 50 or more responses to a prompt, it’s pretty much guaranteed that no two responses will be the exact same. That’s one of the beauties of writing, everyone has their own story to share. It’s similar to coming across two different ‘mom blogs’ – they might both be written by mothers with 3 kids, but I can tell you the posts will all be different because these two women are having different experiences with their children.
The thing with prompts is that sometimes the possibilities are endless – you can go with it in any direction you wish to. In that case, it can be hard for writers to narrow down and choose just one way to write about, which puts them in the same spot as before… not knowing what to write about.
On the other hand, some prompts can be very specific and be very limiting. Some people would say that these kind of prompts are too limiting. I, however, think that a limited prompt can really help a writer. It challenges you to stay within the borders of the prompt, or in other words, color within the lines. Especially if it’s a topic you’ve never touched before, now’s your chance to push yourself into that genre or topic of writing. Even if you don’t come out with a great piece, so what? You tried it. You pushed yourself. Go pat yourself on the back.
Writing prompts, in my opinion, are tools for writers to learn and challenge themselves – not just for when you can’t think of anything to write about (although that’s a good perk).
And go figure, this entire post was in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “A Little Sneaky.”
Well played WordPress, well played.