Why writing prompts are bringing sexy back

I got married two weeks ago (June 20th) to the love of my life. It’s important for you to know for a few reasons. First, because I’m saving all my lovey-dovey for him (the sass is in high gear) and second, because if you’re looking for me on Facebook my last name has changed. Instead, hit me up here and I’ll find you on the Interwebz. Don’t worry, you can keep calling me Capo. The guy understands I’m keeping my name for writing purposes, because it’s so much cooler.

With Word Sparks being released Tuesday, today is the perfect time to talk about the benefits of writing prompts.

While we’re busy making excuses about why we don’t answer writing prompts, we’re also wasting time we could be using to write our responses. Duh. Stick around if you need a few more reasons why writing prompts are bringing sexy back.

Beat writer’s block

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a writer say, “I always have ideas for the next book,” I’d be starving. And still envious of the five or six people I’ve actually seen write those words in a discussion of why they choose not to use prompts.

I think, though, even the writers who said they’re full of ideas can probably agree they still go through rough patches and still search for inspiration. Otherwise they’re full of shit. Maybe writing prompts aren’t their go-to source for creativity, but they shouldn’t be overruled.

A writing prompt can simply help you get words flowing again. If you’re struggling with a scene or chapter, with a blog post or content ideas, writing prompts will help you get past it. The worst thing a struggling writer can do is force themselves to stop writing until they’ve worked out whatever is challenging them.

Force yourself to step away from chaos and step toward another assignment, one to prove you are capable of writing. A prompt, maybe. Because they aren’t intimidating and you don’t have to show anyone your work. If you use a prompt and it gets words out, it’s done its job.

Hone your craft

Don’t think about using a literary device. Just use one. You might have a favorite, a trick you’re comfortable with throughout your work. But it’s probably getting old for your readers. If you practice using new ones in ‘throw away’ writing, you’re more likely to use a variety of devices. I love alliteration and I probably always will, but I’ve written enough to know I lean on it too much. So I mix it up. Repetition is effective and easy to use. So are anecdotes (like the one I just used).

Using the same devices isn’t a problem, if you’re only thinking of yourself. (Yep, there’s the sass.) When a reader devours your work, they pick up on your formula. If you continue writing in the same ways, you’re either going to become easy-to-imitate or boring. Both are not good.

Practicing using a variety of literary devices will make organically throwing them into your writing a hellavuh lot easier later on. So when it’s time to release new, fresh writing you aren’t sticking to the same tired habits.

Plus, the more you practice, and the more drills you use, the better you’ll become. It’s not likely you’ll see the effects of today’s work tomorrow, but your increase in skill will be much easier to spot if you commit to improving. Practicing different types of writing, no matter how closely related to your work, will help you.

A glass ceiling for creativity? No.

You are not the most creative you’ll ever be. Your brain has the ability to continue growing and expanding, to learn new tricks, much longer than formerly thought. If you think you’re creative enough, (The five of you who said, “Ideas aren’t the problem”) you probably need to use prompts more than those of us who can acknowledge a need for more, fresh ideas.

If you don’t want to grow, to become more creative and less snooze-worthy, I certainly hope you aren’t writing fiction. And while I sound a bit harsh here, it’s hard not to when the value of participating is so evident, yet people still refuse to help themselves. It’s like teaching high schoolers, if you will. And even that comparison isn’t exactly fair, as they LOVE the days I gave them creative writing prompts to complete. And they didn’t come up with nearly the amount of excuses some adults do.

The only downside to writing prompts is they take a little more of your time away. But, you’re in luck, because if you’ve ever made an excuse for why you don’t use them, or thought about using one but didn’t, you can simply replace the time you wasted with actually doing something. Those of you who are already on board are awesome, but you already knew that.

Go here to signup for Word Sparks writing prompts.


Got writing questions for Capo? Email capo@rebeccatdickson.com. Confessions of a Dirty Blonde goes out every Thursday.


Where fear and procrastination come to die: Word Sparks is LIVE

This is a call to writers. And people afraid to call themselves writers. And soon-to-be-writers.

I see you tapping your pen on your temple. I know you’re hedging, holding your words in because you think they aren’t just right. I can smell anxiety ten miles away and you, my friend, reek.

So here’s the plan:

I’ve crafted some sexy writing prompts that get delivered to your inbox five days a week. Phrases. Images. Videos even. Shit to spark your pen and keep you productive.

You take those, which I aptly named Word Sparks, and freewrite, journal or post on your blog. Whatever makes you happy – and writing.

Together, we shall kick the shit out of the internal editor. Capiche?


Why writing prompts?

Responsibilities make finding time to write difficult. They can create conflicts between ‘must do’ and ‘want to.’

Having too many responsibilities with zero time to pursue your dreams is a problem.

It’s also an excuse.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write because I don’t want to tell you you’re wrong.

Too often, we let fear, confusion and stress fill our days. Your dream of writing is easier to avoid if you over-schedule yourself. I’m not implying you have it easy (day job or otherwise) or that you should ignore your family.

I’m asking you to devote a little time to yourself every day. To exercise your brain and your creativity.

The 15 minutes you use to scan Netflix.

Your lunch break.

The kids’ nap time.

What about 30 minutes before bed?

The more you write, the better you become. Time spent writing fuels you. Want proof? Read what Malcolm Gladwell says about the 10,000-hour rule.

But Becky, who are you to prompt my writing?

My sketchy math skills say I’ve put in 29,936 hours on this writing and editing gig. It’s a conservative estimate that doesn’t account for weekends (which I almost always work) or the three years I was a freelance writer before launching this place.

I know your struggles. I can relate on a deep level. I was the writer who did everything BUT write for many years. Until I figured out how to get past that shit and… Write. My. Ass. Off.

I can coach, coax, edit, inspire and cheer you on.

But at the end of the day, you are responsible for your success.

You have to show up.

Too often, we humans have mad dreams and no direction. We sit around waiting for someone else to tell us what to do in order to get what we want. Do you see the insanity in that? (Click to tweet.)

Word Sparks, if nothing else, will keep the act of writing on your mind, taking up active space in your brain on a regular basis, jostling you to get shit on the page. As a writing coach, this is my unabashed goal.

Count on encouragement (applause or guttural chants). Signup for Word Sparks writing prompts so I can harass you and your inbox five days a week. Bonus: This is actually a step in the direction you, as a writer, want to take. Imagine?

You’re already going after goals.


P.S. You know we have an awesome cell phone app available, right? Hop onto Google Play for your Droid or the App Store for iPhone and search for “Write Raw.” And don’t forget to leave an app review.

P.P.S. The entire app image collection also lives on Pinterest. (We add more as they are released.)