Silly Prompts and Serious Ideas – Wacky Ways to Warm Up Your Writing Muscle!

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Maybe you want to start a project. Maybe you are working on one, but it seems uninspired. Maybe the white page/screen has become more foe than friend.

Whether you are looking for fresh ideas, or just need a way to get unstuck, the following could help you get going (again):

 

Use Keywords

The idea behind Google Adwords is to help advertisers see which keywords are hot or not. Little did they know that it is a great tool for potential writers as well. Have a look here http://tinyurl.com/27uvznm to see how it works.

Using Google Adwords is a great place to start if you are into writing non-fiction. Simply type in your keyword(s) and do the search. Remember to keep the option “broad” rather than specific if you want to use this as a tool for ideas.

Your search returns will have the word(s) you asked for, but also link the word  to other keywords or show it as part of a phrase – the way that real people looked for something to do with this topic on Google Search. You will also see how often these were searched globally and in the area you choose.

Great ideas for blogs! You can download and save the searches as Excel files. Remember to rename each file by adding the original keyword(s) so that you can easily sort these into groups that might make up different chapters of your new eBook!

 

Use an Online Writing Prompt

Writing prompts are to a writer what warm-up exercises are to an athlete. Some days your writing muscle just seems to be a bit stiff and you stare at the page/screen feeling old and empty. Or you could be stuck with a story and not know how to continue. Use the writing prompt to get the writer’s muscle nice and warm and ready for a sprint, or a marathon.

And do remember to keep what you wrote – later it might actually grow into its own work of fiction, a blog or a book.  You will be able to find many online writing prompts, but here are three websites to get you started:

Creative Writing Prompts (http://creativewritingprompts.com/) has a creative approach: a list of numbers. As you move your cursor over each of the numbers (there are 346), you will get a pop-window with a writing prompt. From the divine to ridiculous – lots of fun!

 Writer’s Digest has a free download called “The Writing Prompt Boot Camp” that you can download here http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-prompts and that will give you a writing prompt for 16 days in a row.

Creative Writing Solutions (http://www.creative-writing-solutions.com/creative-writing-prompts.html) also has some great writing prompts, but some of them, especially the ones dealing with plot development, could actually be more than just mental finger exercises – you might just get a book out of them.

 

Use Online Images

Writers create mental images as they write and readers do the same. So why not use images to get you started?

Find a great image and imagine it as a snapshot taken at some point in someone’s life.  What happened before the time? What was happening at that precise moment when the snapshot was taken? Who are the other characters? Why are they involved? What will happen afterwards? Just keep asking questions and you’ll soon have a strong plot and some interesting characters.

Obviously you can use real photographs, or page through magazines or coffee table books. But online images are simple to find and there are multitudes.

Google Images makes it really easy. Simply do a keyword search using Google’s Images search function. (Look for the word “Images” on the top bar of your browser.). If you searched for the words “lonely man”, you would find all of these: http://tinyurl.com/d8nmzlm. Surely one or two of these would be interesting enough to get you writing?

Pinterest is as great a tool. Look at what the same search for “lonely man” returned on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=lonely+man  Again … lots and lots of writing ideas here!

 

Linking Words

For this one you need to draw a table with three columns. Make about ten or so rows. In the left column now start filling in random adjectives. Anything will do – don’t think, just write. In the middle column you do the same, using random nouns. Anything – human, non-human, animal, plant – again, don’t think, just write. And in the last column you add some prepositional phrases, such as “over the hill”, “during lunch”, “at noon”, etc.

Now choose any word from the first column, add any word from the second column and end with any phrase from the third column. Write this down. Do the next one. Do NOT go down the column – choose the words randomly each time. You will end up with a list of weird and wonderful writing prompts such as “green icebergs on Saturday” and “happy dress beyond the horizon”.

Okay … now choose one and start writing. Most of these will be truly silly, but your job here is not to be your own judge and jury – it is simply to get started, to get the creative juices going.

And to prove to yourself that you ARE a writer and you can write about anything! You never know where these wacky prompts could lead you … I mean: “A cat in a hat” or “Green eggs and ham”?

As soon as you feel all happy and creative and positive, leave this silly exercise and pour all of that creativity into your “real” writing.

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