Hello, everyone! Today we're going to talk about writing prompts. I've been doing a daily prompt (just for a couple of days now) at http://www.reddit.com/r/promptoftheday/, and to be a good moderator I've been doing the prompts along with whoever else wants to participate.
I have a couple of questions about writing prompts, actually. I don't know if they're helpful or distracting. I know that they're a great way to stretch those writing muscles, and maybe they're a good way to get unstuck if you're stuck on something, but what about when you're right in the middle of a project? I think, for a writer, anything except for working on your current project is procrastination. I have a novel in the works right now, and pausing every day to write 500 words on some other idea I've had kicking around for a while just sounds dangerous.
Maybe that's just because these are my prompts that are being offered. The ideas for the prompts that I'm posting are all coming from my notebooks - notes I've jotted down, pieces of ideas that I've had in class. I might have this note: cracks floating in the air. That's it, just one line. But if I make it into a prompt, I will let that small little note in my notebook win, and I will be forced to figure out what it means, or what it might mean.
I can see this as both a good and a bad thing. On one hand, I get to flesh out an idea that's been lurking in the depths of my idea book for months, and once I write about it I can check that small little itch in the back of my mind off for good. But what if it's good? What if I like it? I wrote exactly 499 words about a first day at the University of War. Doesn't that sound pretty awesome? How do I stick with my boring old novel when I can get sidetracked and write about what's going on at the University of War?
What do you think? Are writing prompts a good way to get yourself out of a rut, or into the writing mood? or are they potentially dangerous sand traps for your current work in progress? Can they possibly be both?