WRITING PROMPTS -- by Amanda Bedzrah
A few years ago, I joined a writing group on Facebook run by a famous author. I often wonder if he personally runs the group or if it is a team behind him. Regardless of the group mechanics, there are days I find myself intrigued by this group. I must admit, I am not always as active as I should be, at least not active enough to have earned a star as a top contributor. But I find it interesting on the days I do join.
It occurred to me a while ago that there is much to be gained from passing interest. Even in the things that seem mundane, things you don’t think you pay attention to, but you do. For example, one of the regular occurrences in this group is a random picture that can be anything anything from children to space and we are asked to write a story about the picture in SEVEN WORDS.
As someone who is yet to perfect the fine art of blogging, as someone who even struggles to articulate anything meaningful in 500 words or less, please know that I quickly skip past the post to tell a story with only seven words. I do often stop and glance at the submission of a few geniuses who have mastered the art of poignant story telling, some more successful than others.
One cold winter day last year,
One cold winter day last year,I found myself scrolling through the groups page. There was a new writing prompt, only this time what we were tasked with was writing a short story based on one word. No pictures just one word. Though I cannot remember the exact word that day, I remember being fascinated enough to pause and attempt the task. I honestly surprised myself with the outcome and even though it was much longer than a short story, it was a good start and no, I didn't share it on the group.
Let me tell you why this was so important for me -
- I was in a very dry season.
- Words had failed me.
I was researching and working on my now complete novel, but at the time, I had run out of steam. Am I the only writer who suddenly thinks the gift of writing has disappeared and it is completely lost in the moments of writer’s block? Instead of calling it what it is and acknowledge it as a phase, I tend to wallow in moments of self-pity and agree with my disobedient mind that I am no longer a writer and woe betide me… blah blah blah.
Anyway, I digress. Back to why this task was important. As I stared at the word, which I believe was not an everyday word, I took on the challenge and found myself enjoying writing about something totally unrelated to my work in progress and discovering that alas, I could still write. I enjoyed it so much that I started looking out for other writing prompts and I even managed to write short stories based on words that I had personally chosen as prompts.
The last one I did was on Betrayal, and I really enjoyed writing that. Have a read and tell me what you think.
It wasn’t even the way she said it or what she said; it was the way she raised her hands up to heaven, pointing at an empty sky that infuriated me. The lie flowed so easily as though it erupted from her outstretched arms. BETRAYAL
I knew she was lying, she knew she was lying but she didn’t know that I knew that too. I was there last night, I heard the plan. I didn’t mean to be there. It was an accidental intrusion. I had planned to leave before she got home, but the stale prawn cocktail I ate the night before held me imprisoned to bathroom.
She walked in letting the door slam loudly behind her, I steadied myself and grabbed my head to force relief.
“Barry, I promise you, she’s going to be out all night. Come quickly and bring the popcorn.”
How dare they? I later slipped out the back door.
“Hellooooo,” her voice riveted bringing me back to the present. I looked at her, my best friend for over 10 years, swallowing quickly to draw in the tears threatening to spill any moment now. “So Barry wasn’t here last night?” Her head bobbed up and down like a little school girl then moved left to right and right to left, confusing me. Yes or no which was it?
It wasn’t just because I overheard her conversation last night that I knew she was lying. Barry, her older brother, my boyfriend had already confessed. I ran into him as he was sneaking out early in the morning. One stern look and he sang like a canary. He only squirmed for 2 seconds before he blurted, “It was Shirley, I told her we should wait to watch the movie with you….” My raised hand both silenced and dismissed him. The loud screech of his tyres left dust floating where he stood moments ago.
While I was out studying and working, those 2 were busy watching the movie, that I found, that I bought and categorically told them not to watch.
I ate her guilt laden breakfast. A full English fry up with pancakes drenched in syrup that she made from scratch. With freshly squeezed orange juice gulped down quickly and a hot cup of coffee warming my bones, I looked at her and smiled “Barry told me,” I sniggered as I walked out the door. The memory of her open mouth etched in my brain.
I share this because writing prompts became the key that unlocked the door to my imagination and creativity again. Once I realised that I still had it in me, and I could turn of the pressure I put on myself and just write for fun and pleasure, I got my mojo back and was able to rest, relax and continue my novel.
So, if you find yourself in that place where you feel stuck and you have writers block, why not try a writing prompt, you can use any random word, or name or anything that you see around you. You can even use a full sentence or a picture, whatever it is, I am sure you will be able to write something about it. In the event that you are so done with writing you can't even think of a word, here is one for you – Hibiscus.
Write a short story about Hibiscus and see where that journey takes you. I would love to read your story if you do. Feel free to drop it in the comments or email me Amanda@Amandabedzrah.com
My new novel Becoming Queen Bathsheba will be released early summer 2022. I hope I can count on your support.
For more about me please visit my website www.amandabedzrah.com