Day 16: Make a writing prompt your own

Friday, January 17, 2014

“Writing prompts can be a blogger’s best friend: on days when inspiration levels are low and fresh ideas are few, responding to someone else’s question can do get you out of a slump. Even if they were created for consumption by thousands of bloggers, they’re most productive when you personalize them to fit your own interests and perspective.

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p>Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on today’s Daily Prompt.”

As my eyes are trying to turn inside my head with exhaustion, my first thought is to create a post as quickly as possible so I can go to bed. I’m also hoping that I will get a second wind to extend my writing time, but so far fatigue is winning the battle.

I had looked at today’s prompt earlier and ideas have been stewing, simmering. I’ve kept the burner low to avoid any boiling over and haven’t had to be concerned about burning anything.

All good recipes require spice, unless it’s dessert, though isn’t cinnamon a spice? Nevermind that analogy or at least nevermind that this analogy doesn’t work with desserts. In order to spice things up, I spent time reading how other bloggers attacked this assignment. I started to ask myself questions. What kinds of things do I want to write about? What kinds of things do I want to read about? Now that I’ve become part of a writing community, the zero to hero, has become a two-way street. I write to be read. I read to write.

My first idea, write about why you write, was immediately rejected when I deemed it as being an easy out. This is a topic that I’ve touched on a few times; other bloggers have done this as well; it’s like I go down this avenue to justify the time I spend writing.

What seemed like a zillion years ago, I worked at a small newspaper in Eugene, The Register-Guard. I was a grunt. I wrote weddings and anniversaries. Tonight I struggle with the spelling of anniversaries, though that second wind did come around. I started my clerk-typist job with vigor and enthusiasm, believing in the American Dream that if I worked hard, I could advance up the  ladder. I remember asking Jim Godbold, though I have forgotten his title, but he was the man that could say whether I could go to a writer’s conference. His answer: “Sending you to a writing workshop would be like sending you to a a welding workshop.” Even though this conversation and in turn a slap in the face happened a long time ago. I lost my job in 2003, after I had been employed for a decade. The math suggests that this reminder that I was not a writer happened in 1993.

Rejection. I think the soup is ready. Maybe it’s more like a stew where the simmering has created a thicker base. I have a lot of insecurities when it comes to writing. I dream of becoming a writer. I dream of being a writer. I dream that my writing pays the bills, and teaching is something I do because I love to teach. So what keeps me from reaching these goals? What keeps us from those goals?

Voices in my head say I don’t have what it takes to write. That writing is a competitive business and it’s very hard to make it, and those odds are only going down.

So the bus has finally arrived at the stop. Don’t you just love mixed metaphors. I could have said that the food’s on the table and it’s ready to eat. What I’d like to know is how many of you are struggling with the the fear of failure with writing that that fear has kept you from reaching your goal and becoming a published writer? And how many of you out there in the blogosphere have overcome such fear and have been able to life the legs of lead and learn to fly anyway and have become published writers?

So, what do you say my blogpeeps, what do you say about writing and failure?

15 Comments

  1. I’m glad I’ve stumbled across your reference to the Daily Prompt because my mind has blanked out overnight and I need some inspiration. I’ll go and have a look at the site.

  2. I tend to get sudden flares of insecurity and, ‘I’m not goof enough to do this’. It’s only moments but they really knock me back. I am better now at ignoring them and pushing myself onwards though, I think I’m growing up… or growing too old to care 😀

    Great post, you write in a way the really keeps me reading.

    1. Thanks. The best part about writing is that I never really know where my mind is going to take me. I can get off on some very strange tangents. I think I have the same attitude as you in terms of growing too old to care.

    2. The Daily Prompt got me writing for 20 minutes – a useful writing exercise, though I’m not going to publish it on my blog. It was asking me to consider if I have a reputation, and what I think of my reputation.

    1. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to what people think of me. There have been plenty of times when someone’s behavior causes me to judge that they don’t like me, and sometimes I rack my brain thinking about what it is that I said or did to perhaps make them think this way. I don’t ask very often. I hardly ever ask. I figure that if I said something that bothered someone, they could tell me this, and if they choose to not tell me, the relationship is not worth having.
      I think I have drank way too much coffee today…
      Last night at Strike City Lanes, there was a guy who was wearing a T-Shirt that exclaimed that he supports Single Moms, and the picture that accompanied the words were of a pole dancer. I did not like his shirt and I told him. He had earlier pronounced that he was wearing the shirt because he believes in being honest and telling people what he thought.
      Later on in the evening there was a discussion going on and this guy, who’s name escapes me, but that’s okay, said that he wouldn’t be sixty for another twenty years. I’ve only got seven years to hit that mark and I commented to him, “You are only forty?” He got really pissed at me, so pissed that he was talking about it to another table of bowlers. I asked him what it was that I said to make him so mad. He was mad that I was thinking that he looked older than he really was, but he has grey hair and I thought he looked older than I. I tried to apologize, but that didn’t get me anywhere. What happened to being honest and real?

  3. I wrote and rewrote mine 3 times last night. I finally started over this morning and ended up publishing that one. When I saw the prompt I was like WHY this prompt this is a tough one. I honestly think that was the point to make us really think.

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