Life and Cliché Writing Prompts

Spiral Notebook with Pen 2 by adamr

I was trying to come up with a blog post topic (and failing miserably) when I thought about glancing at my old posts to see if anything inspired me. You’d think writing one post a month wouldn’t be so bad. Plenty of authors write one or more a day, but I just don’t know how they do it.

Anyway, I read my old Writing Despite Life blog and wished I could just repeat that post. If you haven’t read it and you’re discouraged about writing, I hope it helps you. Unfortunately I still don’t have a three-step routine for getting out of my funk and writing.

This time though, it’s a little different. When I wrote that last post, I was just stressed. There were many changes in my life at that point. I think I’ve gotten a little better at separating my mind from work when I’m at home at least. Now, there are still changes and plenty more to come in the next few months. But I’ve realized one thing.

I’m not that fond of writing nonfiction like I have done in my previous blog posts.

Or rather, I’m not fond of feeling like I have nothing to say in a nonfiction manner. I loved doing my blog series on Crafting a Story and others, but that was because I really wanted to share my ideas and felt like it was important for young writers to know. I was also discovering and solidifying my personal views on writing.

But most times, trying to think of something to write for these blogs is more stressful than fun. I’d rather be writing or editing my own story. Maybe this stage won’t last forever. Until it’s over, I don’t know what my blog posts will be like or about. Probably they’ll be pretty sporadic. You’ve been warned.

Today, let’s rant. I recently joined Pinterest, since I just got engaged and apparently Pinterest is supposed to help you plan your wedding. Apparently you’re supposed to have a planned wedding by the time you get engaged. But whatever.

On Pinterest, I see tons of writing prompts. Especially cliché writing prompts. Some examples of the type of prompt I’m talking about:

You feel someone tug on your arm and whisper your name. You turn, but no one is there.

You come to the realization that the fence around the orphanage is to keep the public safe from the kids—not the other way around.

“That is a terrible, horrible, incredibly foolish idea. Let’s do it and see what happens.”

There are whole websites dedicated to these. The reason I don’t like them is because they feel like they’re trying too hard to have a surprise factor. It feels forced to me. Like a young writer trying to come up with something that hasn’t been thought up before, not realizing everything has been done before. Maybe I also don’t like them because it reminds me of my younger writer self and how I thought this type of surprise or twist was good writing in and of itself. These prompts would spin me into endless ideas for stories that maybe got a paragraph before petering out.

I think we need better writing prompts out there. And more of them. Though ideas can flow even from a cliché, we should have something for people who are too sick of those types of prompts to make them work. I had wanted to come up with some options, but the creative juices are a little dried up. If you think of any and want to share in the comments, please feel free. And I’ll keep thinking of some prompts too. Maybe next time I’ll have some for you.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

By Tracy Buckler