Welcome to Week 2! For those of you in the states, Happy Tax Day! Hopefully, you've gotten your taxes done already and can focus on what's really important - finding more ideas for prompts!

Let's do a brief recap: we've explored using scenarios, pictures, and the five senses as source material. What's your favorite so far?

How do you keep going? We'll explore that a bit this week and play with some challenges. But here are some initial suggestions for what's worked for me. If you've used prompts in the past, what's been useful to you?

  1. Use the many in support of the one: don't try to be a lone wolf. Find others who want to write and band together with them - but be selective. Find playmates who understand that play is work and respect the inner artist child. No bullies!
  2. Write regularly. Even if you can't write daily, set aside regular time each week to write. If you need structure, then here's my suggestion: make it no more than 30 minutes, use a digital timer, and do it before work - yes, it makes you get up early. I'm not a morning person. But by doing it in the morning, it's done by the time your inner critic wakes up to talk you out of it. (I'm having entirely too much fun with these icons, in case you haven't noticed.)
  3. Be willing to suck. You have to be able to do it badly before you can do it well. Spend an entire week and write nothing but shit. (Can I swear here? Hope I'm not too blue for you.) But seriously - never underestimate the power of schlock. Look how many awesome things Star Trek inspired? The original show isn't exactly high cinema, but it was a lot of fun and they created a fanbase that's still gaga for them.
  4. Be trainable. When in doubt, take a class - but again, same caveat: make sure it's with a teacher that respects the creative process. If it says "critiques," "in-depth reviews," or other stuff like that, walk the other way. If it says "explore new ways of seeing," "finding stories to tell," stuff like that, then go for it.
  5. Trust n the power of five. You'll notice this list has 5 items in it. There's a reason for that. There is a kind of alchemy that happens when your'e stumped. If you can get a list down, even a silly one, and get to five, it's been my experience that will crack the stump and get you to story. So, in answer to the problem "I don't know what to write next," write 1 to 5 on a sheet of paper and jot down 5 possible things to write about - and make sure one of them is silly (such as an adventure story told from the point of view of the sock that got lost in the laundry and found itself in the sock dimension).

And as a bonus tip, never underestimate the power of leftovers. Just as in cooking, leaving a good idea to percolate lets the flavors meld. If it was a good prompt once, why not recycle it and see what you have to say about it on a new day? You might get something entirely different.

Here, let's try it: today's challenge, write down 5 ideas that you might try writing a prompt to. Remember to include a silly one. You can do it!