Writing prompts. Where do they come from? I once read a tweet by Benjamin Dreyer who I defer to in almost all matters of grammar and copyediting, but there are two things I disagree with:
1. an historic is correct, and
2. He is incorrect when he says that not everything is a writing prompt.
In fact, EVERYTHING is a writing prompt.
That bird nestling in the tree outside your garage. Writing Prompt.
That car that went through the stop sign. Writing Prompt.
A sink full of dirty dishes. Writing Prompt.
Your child’s laughter. Writing Prompt.
Everything around you is a writing prompt.
Take for example this week’s Target ad. Advertisers tell you what you should be focusing on in the new year and encourage you to better yourself whether you need to or not. The first couple of weeks of ads focus on that new year, new you spirit, and of course they want you to buy things. If you follow the seasonal editorial/advertising schedule you’ll also see what people are interested in and looking for.
Going through the Target ad there are easily ten separate things that can be written as features, blog posts, listicles, and whatever else you might think of. Just like “Low Prices!” Target copywriters can offer titles or sub-titles to a longer piece: “Home Refresh” and “Clean Every Surface“.
The subjects include, but of course are not limited to: laundry, cleaning, restocking essentials, baby stuff – diapers, formula, furniture, vitamins, exercise equipment, office and stationary organization and “essential items” now with taxes right around the corner, and at the end of the ad is the reminder that Valentine’s Day is coming soon so get those blog posts written and those pictures taken.
Personally, I’ve already made my list from the ad of most of the things we’ve run out of over the holidays while we were preparing and celebrating Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s. We made do with what we had, but now it’s time to restock.
I’ve also started writing in my new calendar/planner so I need to begin writing with some of the prompts I’ve been collecting.
These are some of my go-to resources:
Dreyer’s English by Benjamin Dreyer
Thesaurus dot com
The Writer magazine
Business Calendar 2 app (I use the free one, but I plan on getting the pro version sometime in 2022)