To prompt, or not to prompt?

Okay, I’m past due on my blog.  But sometimes life gets crazy and refuses to relinquish the reins.  But it wasn’t all for naught.  This weekend I had the good fortune to attend a terrific writer’s workshop hosted by author Laurie Larsen, followed by our annual Summer Solstice Soiree for the Pen to Paper writers group.  The latter ended with the usual results:  too much food and wine, a lot of spirited conversation, and boisterous good times all around.  Who says we writers don’t know how to have fun?  But the best part: writing prompts from both events gave birth to two new story ideas that are now trekking their way through my gray matter, turning over rocks, poking here and nudging there with their walking sticks, forcing me to get them down on paper before they hike off to locations unknown. Writers have a love-hate relationship with prompts.  Personally I love it when somebody says “here’s your prompt – you’ve got twenty minutes – GO!”  It forces you to think on the fly, shoves you out of your comfort zone and makes you scramble.  Ideas zinging like pinballs in your head, you can’t write fast enough.  But fast writing is often the best writing -- no time to think, no time for your internal editor to get snitty about words or structure.  You just puke it all out onto paper and see where it goes.  That’s why I love them – I create something I never would have written if I’d had time to think about it, and I walk away feeling inspired to write more.  My last two published stories came from writer’s prompts.  So never doubt the power of the prompt to kick your muse in the ass and send her on a wild ride over the rapids without an oar.  Don’t worry.  She’s a good swimmer. A quick plug for a couple Writer’s Digest Magazine items that my fellow authors may find useful.  First, the July/August Creativity Issue rocks, it’s full of great ideas and prompts for getting those juices flowing.  Second, WD is offering a free webinar this Tuesday 6/24/14:  Build Your Author Platform Online, all about creating and growing your online presence via blogging, author websites, and social media.  Take advantage of it if you can, they don’t offer freebies very often.  Today’s authors need a solid and active online presence to succeed in our social media-driven world, so register today.  If you don’t build your audience, who will? Now back to you, reader.  Here’s hoping you had a great weekend and – Wait, did you hear that? Sshh…hold on…there it was again! Oh crap, it’s my muse.  She’s swearing and screaming something about an oar.  Guess my surge of ideas has hit flood stage.  Time to put pen to paper and save her from the roaring currents (insert cheesy Baywatch theme song here). I sure as hell hope she wore her water wings.

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