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Keep Your Pen Moving: On the Importance of Writing to Prompts

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

"If you write every day, the next day ideas have bubbled up from someplace that you had no idea was there." -Walter Mosley

How do we write every day? Like eating healthy, meditating, and exercising, finding time to put words on the page can also sometimes be elusive. Many writers have said to me, "I take these workshops so that I will write." Whether it's working towards a deadline of having to turn in pages or choosing one of our prompt classes, when you commit to a workshop, you are making writing a priority in your life. In his book, The War of Art, author Steven Pressfield argues that when we show up to write every day, we are more likely to be "blessed" by the Muse. I can tell you that I have experienced this first-hand. There are so many days when the writing isn't going well, but I sit there anyway and churn out sentences I don't love and stories that go nowhere. With this practice in place and a continued belief in myself (August Wilson says that we have to have a belief in ourself that is bigger than anyone else's), once in a while I'll have a day where it all comes together and I write something that I'm proud of. But I have to punch in on all of those other days to get the reward of the Muse.

The question is how do we write when we don't feel like it? One surefire way is to write to prompts! Whether you find a poem or a line from a story or an image, having prompts handy has always helped me to get going. I keep a stack of books that inspire me right next to my writing desk and refer to them often. Every season we offer a number of prompt workshops! As we always say, writing isn't good or bad; it's finished or unfinished. When we commit to learning and mastering the craft of writing, we understand that showing up each day is part of our apprenticeship. Prompts are just one of the many tools we pull out when we're floundering, when we need inspiration, and often -- the right prompt will lead to an unforgettable story or essay!

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