Instant writing against the clock puts you on the spot and forces you to conquer the blank page. It’s a great way of warming up the imagination and getting the ideas to flow.
Last week at my writing group (Lichfield and District Writers) we did some instant writing based on a selection of objects brought in by one of our members (thanks Sylvia!). Then we shared our work. Few of us had a complete story but there were lots of promising beginnings plus some middles that could be moulded into publishable stories later. These were all pieces that would never have been written if we hadn’t been forced to pick an object and sit down to write for a specified amount of time.
If you’re struggling to put pen to paper or battling writers’ block then have a go at doing your own instant writing at home. Set yourself a time limit (try 15 minutes) and choose a subject such as:
- A photo in a magazine – use it to create a character study
- A postcard you’ve received – try to think up a story to suit this setting
- Put a selection of small household objects on a tray and choose one a day as the subject of a poem, short story, memoir or article
Once you’ve got the creative juices flowing you may well find yourself immersed in an idea and happy to continue past the end of your time limit to finish the piece. If it hasn’t worked for you this time, don’t worry – whatever you have managed to scribble is better than nothing and tomorrow is always another day and a new piece of instant writing.
To help you along (and maybe inspire me too!) I’m going to include an instant writing prompt at the end of each of my blog posts. You can use it to kick-start a piece of fiction or to inspire the poet within or even build an article around it.
The first instant writing prompt is:
An Alarm Clock
#1 by Elizabeth on November 10, 2010 - 11:44 am
Thank’s Sally. I’m enjopying your Blog and looking forward to the next one
#2 by Sally Jenkins on November 10, 2010 - 7:40 pm
Thanks, Elizabeth – it’s good to get some feedback and know I’m not blogging to myself!
#3 by Helen Yendall on November 10, 2010 - 10:09 pm
Sally, thanks for this. I don’t manage to get to a writers’ group myself so I really enjoyed reading about yours and the interesting stuff you’ve been doing! I’m eyeing that alarm clock… and I’m sure – once I get through NaNo, I’ll be getting some inspiration from your ‘prompts’! Helen