Writing turns on a part of my brain that needs exercise. Everyone should give it a try. And if you enjoy it as much as I do, you should find a way to make it a habit. Be it journaling, writing articles, kids books, poems, scrapbooking blurbs, editorials, fiction, memoirs, limericks. It’s all good, people.
In this spirit, let me share some links I use to find writing prompts. I like a deadline, even if it’s self imposed. These contests etc. help me continue to create new material, which is nice if I’m stuck in a long series of edits or revisions on a manuscript. I get to pick my head up and look around at some new scenery. Ahhh, the view is…whatever I want it to be.
A site I like that filters you to free contests in the U.S. is this one:
I also am a fan of Real Simple magazine. Their contest now is to write a short essay about a decision you regret. Just that topic had me spinning my creative wheels in a different direction.
Writing can be therapeutic, I know because I studied Narrative Therapy while getting my Masters in Clinical Social Work. People can re write their own stories, take the reins and give it a different spin, or change the ending entirely. You can become the author of your own story, literally and figuratively. Of course, professionals would say real Narrative Therapy works best with a careful support system in place, ideally with a professional.
As a writer, not a social worker, I think any type of creative energy is good, and -thoughtfully harnessed- it can be healing. What would you write about for the Real Simple contest?
Another I like is short and sweet, the Writer’s Digest bimonthly contest called Your Story. They give you different starting points, loosely defined, like a picture or a sentence or an idea. This month’s is to write a 100 word sentence about a coworker overhearing a conversation at work. You could go anywhere with this!
Think about it while you drive, before you fall asleep and while you unload the dishwasher. While you exercise compose a killer opening sentence, or a ‘loose end’ finale, or a secret theme you can lace throughout with a proud smile. And then take the plunge. Wait a week, month or year. Read it again. You’ll be glad you did.
Pssst...each contest I mentioned is free. All they cost is an investment in creativity and courage. Can you afford it?