There is a GBE2 blogging prompt for this week, it is a group I follow and in which I take part although I do not engage as often as I feel I should participate. I just could not resist the prompt from this week: Indulgences.
Should I treat the topic as it relates to hedonic concerns, to religious history, to health and wellness? When I saw the word “indulgence” my mind began to race and I am sure my pulse sped up. Only a blogger who considers herself a writer could have such a reaction. It is a perfect prompt.
The world of prompts and the stimulation of the creative juices of writing, and community, is an art that must have begun with the earliest teachers, philosophers, and storytellers. With the burgeoning of online writing, I have noticed the delightful way that a good prompt can become a mini-meme. Mike Meyers forgive me.
Please indulge me while I spin-off for a bit and talk about what makes a good prompt.
Characteristics of a Good Blog Prompt
Walks the Tight Rope
Tension is critical in getting someone to act. If you don’t create an imbalance or an excess of thought or energy, people will continue moving along in the same direction in which they are already moving. Juxtapose something or use a thesaurus to select a word that is multifaceted. “Indulgence” might have been “pamper” but the mood would be a totally different one
It is Novel
The world of predictable prompts is well staffed with Thirsty Thursdays, Meatless Mondays, and Wordless Wednesdays. A novel prompt might not be one that you invented for readers, but neither should it be overly familiar to most readers and writers to whom you are attempting to appeal. The theme might address a familiar topic, but make the spin as novel as possible.
It is Global
- Make the scope broad enough to appeal beyond your inner circle of readers, but neither should it be overly familiar to most readers and writers to whom you are attempting to appeal. Consider using more generic terminology to keep from being overly specific. For example, use the word market and not supermarket and you will automatically appeal to a larger more international audience.
Bias toward a particular life style, or stage of life, should be minimized. If there is no need to limit a prompt on, say, decorating a shared, small, cramped space to appealing only to college students by using the word dormitory in the prompt, don’t do it.
Use Necessary Limits
Constraints either limit or enable; good prompts are enabling constraints. These prompts provoke an “aha” after puzzlement. For example, in June when traditionally there are many brides, you may want to have several marriage related prompts, but this limitation can enable posts with a delightful mix of topics as well as wedding-related contributions if the prompts are carefully chosen to include words like: proposal, surname, and aisle.
Stimulating thought in a way that promotes community is no easy task. Getting people to think is difficult too, but with a few simple guidelines the task is easier than it might seem at first. Good luck with your writing prompts for group use.