Hello, dear regulars and new pub visitors, this round is on me… Just name your favourite tipple (that’s a British term for drinks) and Marina Sofia will employ all her cocktail-making skills…
Tonight I want to talk about poetry prompts. Do you love them or hate them? How easy do you find it to write to a prompt? Do you always need to have absolute creative freedom or do the constraints of a prompt free you up to try something different, experiment a little?
I have to admit my first reaction when faced with a prompt is to panic, attempt to run away and invoke my everlasting busy-ness as a reason why I should wriggle out of it. And yet, every time I have taken part in a prompt, whether here on dVerse or at a workshop or as part of a writing course, I have enjoyed it tremendously after the fact. Also, I have always come up with some valuable material that could then form the basis for further poetry.
Invention seems to come out of problem-solving. If we are faced with the puzzle of a prompt, especially a completely unexpected one, it forces us to step out of the comfortable groove of our daily thinking. Here is what the composer Igor Stravinsky said about working with constraints and prompts:
The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.
We have had many fantastic prompts over the past 4 years at dVerse. Some of the most memorable ones (for me) have been: mixing metaphors, or my first encounter with the poetic form of pantoum, or jumping in to the surreal Dadaist experience. What have been some of your favourites? Which ones did you find particularly challenging or rewarding?
So let’s have a cosy chat about the pros and cons of poetry prompts – and hopefully that will motivate us to participate in more of them in the future… even when we feel like running away!
Linda Kruschke said:
What a great “prompt” for discussion! (hehehe). I appreciate prompts because often I will have a general idea for a poem in my mind but be struggling with how to articulate it. Then along comes a prompt that speaks right to it and solves my problem. I especially appreciate the form-lesson prompts here at dVerse that challenge me to try new forms but offer freedom in regard to subject matter. I do think, however, that it is good for poets to write without prompts, too. Always writing in response to prompts can be a symptom of trying to avoid what the poet really needs to be writing about. Peace, Linda
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Sometimes you can become a prompt-junkie.. you cease to listen to your own muse a little I feel. But I think we can find prompts everywhere around us.. in what we read, in what we see or smell.. and that observation skill can perhaps decrease if we rely to much on prompts for inspiration.
Glenn Buttkus said:
The sheer volume of our writing soars when prompted, hundreds of poems per year. I believe that the act of writing, when guided or directed, helps us to expand the potentials that begin to present themselves; that we emerge as better writers/poets because of it.
Exactly. I am given a prompt and it says to me – this is a whole new world for you to explore – go for it, run with it, explore this world.
I do think that writing to an open link sometimes is good for a blogosphere poet. That is where a poet can totally think on his/her own again without the crutch of a prompt. That is one reason why I like to read open link poems — either here at dVerse or in the Poets United Poetry Pantry. I see what people really wanted to write & how they wanted to write it. Admittedly, however, sometimes it is hard for me to get ideas for a new ‘open link’ poem……smiles. But it IS good for me. And everyone, I think.
I think that’s a very good point, Bjorn, and is a sin of which I am often guilty.
Victoria C. Slotto said:
Thank You marina for bringing up this topic. I hate to think how many poems would never have been written had it not been for prompts. I turn to prompts even when I’m not posting to find the discipline I need to write. I would find it impossible to name my favorite prompts, but I will say that being a part of the team and having to offer prompts has been a poetry education in itself. I’m looking forward to seem the responses of other poets. Thank you for bringing up this topic.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Oh yes.. it’s so fun and educating to have to give prompts as well.. some of yours have expanded my vision in the past, and also the expectation of what other’s have written, that makes you rethink your own interpretation…
Victoria C. Slotto said:
And that’s the beauty open link night. But chance to share what we’ve written without prompt.
Very interesting thought. You’re right that sometimes we resort to prompts as a way to avoid having to look too closely at our own selves, or dig too deep into our own emotions. And yet perhaps these things surface even with seemingly unrelated prompts…
Linda Kruschke said:
I agree that they sometimes do. As I said, I do love prompts. But I need to remind myself to use them as a tool to improve, not as a crutch to limp along on.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
There is no secret that I love prompts.. first of all I think constrictions make me more free to focus on the content rather than all the rest. I think it makes me a better writer bending myself to the wills of a puppetmaster, I know how to dance with strings attached you could say, but that said what I like most with prompts is to read the poems written to the same prompt, it’s like reading a book, you are all in one common page, and you can identify yourself to the thoughts of the other poets. Whenever we have open link I often go back through old prompts to find something in our old library of prompts…
Linda Kruschke said:
I agree that it is great to read all the different takes that poets have on a given prompt. Though I would think of it more like a non-fiction book, where each chapter/poem can stand alone, rather than as a novel.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Oh indeed.. like a poetry collection on the same subject, vs a confusing collection of random poetry.
That is one of the best things about dVerse – the huge variety of interpretations of one and the same prompt. Makes for some great reading – never boring!
Glenn Buttkus said:
Over the years, I tended only to write poetry when life goosed up my emotions–positively or negatively–a lot of love poetry/romantic free verse as I moved in & out of relationships. But then a decade ago I encountered my first site with a poetry prompt–& I just jumped in with quill a’quivering. Hanging around dVerse for a couple of years now, I have found that although some prompts (especially the MTB or FFA ones) were difficult for my old hippy Beat free verse ID, but I persevered, & although sometimes I did not succeed at finite forms, still the richness of the education I received has broadened my horizons, reaching beyond my grasp proved that my own style, voice & natural form could be enriched by both knowledge & craft. What prompts have done for me is help me to see the potentials of poetic expression I probably never would have discovered on my own. Other sites tended t use only image or word list prompts. Here at dVerse, there does not seem to be any barriers on the challenges, other than the self-imposed ones.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
But isn’t the feeling wonderful when we have formed a perfect sonnet or taken the work along new rhymes and beats.. it’s a little bit like having fun at school..
I hear you, Glenn, I too struggle with poetic forms. I often think that they inhibit my flow of inspiration, my vocabulary, my thoughts… yet they do give me great satisfaction, like solving a puzzle. Even if they don’t always come out exactly like I want them to! And you’re right, it’s so nice that on dVerse we have all manner of prompts, not just visual or word lists. There’s something for everyone, and if you can’t find something to write for one prompt, the next one will be more congenial, usually!
Initially when I began writing poetry I wrote totally without prompts. And actually, if I am honest, a lot of my very good poetry writing (not blogged…but in my very first book) was done before I even knew what prompts were. LOL.
Now that I have been in the blogosphere I do appreciate prompts because they give me ideas. When I first wrote poetry, ideas for writing came fairly easily to mind. But now…admittedly they don’t, as it seems I have written about so many subjects already that I have a harder time coming up with ideas. So prompts help.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
I sincerely hopes that prompts don’t become crutches that make us worse to come up with ideas… but I have to say that some of my best ideas have come from the discipline of form prompts.. or word-prompts…or picture prompts… and the regularity of prompts force me to write all the time, which is probably the discipline I need.
Linda Kruschke said:
I agree here, too, that prompts have caused me to write more than I otherwise might have. Though I have to skip some, often I’ll have time to write and read, but not an idea, and a prompt will keep me writing.
We can’t feel inspired all the time – and perhaps once we’ve ‘written out’ some of our most pressing concerns or preoccupations, we feel a bit of a void. That’s when prompts can be so handy. And I’ve heard even the most serious and committed poets admit that they use them occasionally – not always, of course.
Like you, Mary, there’s so much that I wrote before prompts that it was difficult to come up with something new. Nowadays a good prompt makes me look for an old poem and work on it in the light of new knowledge.
I understand that very much, Viv! I agree.
I love prompts as it gives me ideas, makes me try/practice something different and allows me to break patterns in my writing.
Björn Rudberg (brudberg) said:
Yes that is the main purpose.. to challenge and make us think in new ways.
So very true – otherwise it’s a little too easy to stay in our comfort zone and always use the same forms, words, metaphors, symbolism, sentiment etc. Patterns are good, are what makes us unique as individuals, but patterns shouldn’t become ruts, right?
I enjoy the prompts (may not always be comfortable but still, it’s good to stretch). The prompts for a week of Chivalry and such caused me to write one of my best tanka – a death poem at the end of a “story” poem about about a Samurai and his family. The prompt Claudia did on layers – painting layers with words, opened me to a new way of looking at my poetry and refining it. The ones on learning forms: what a wondrous free education and how write a different form, even if I did it badly. It made me more aware of the work involved in creating beauty or justice or sorrow or healing…it opened my mind and my heart to a different way of looking at words and how to structure them – like instead of always doing traffic engineering to instead do environmental engineering. It is always interesting to read the responses to the prompts and how wonderfully people respond. Anna with her prompt on using “beautiful words” gave me the chance to use one of my favorite words and smells – petrichor.
I like the discipline of the prompts, especially the poetic form prompts. Because I enjoy Japanese forms so much, I tend to stick there – free verse. It puts me in a rut of always the same shapes of the poems, the spacing, the feeling. with the Poetic/Form prompts, it gets me into a new way of thinking. It actually frees me rather than stifles me.
Linda Kruschke said:
I agree. I love the form prompts because they stretch me. One of my favorite prompts was the one that asked us to take a story and pull out only the most essential words to create a poem. I used one of my own short stories and ended up liking the poem so much better than the original short story. It taught me so much about the value of brevity and using just the right words.
I too love all the ‘deleted’ or ‘fragmented’ or ‘condensed’ poetry, as it really teaches me how to be succinct, how much of what we say in poetry is ‘stating the obvious’ and how much we can leave out.
OLN is great too, but I like the balance with poetics and prompts. It touches all of us and on one hand, lets us do our free style dance and on the other, let’s us show how well we can adapt and pull off that pasa doble and create something unique – same prompt, different take.
I have really enjoyed writing by prompts through the years. They’ve really brought to life much of my writing especially in the early days. And before there was dVerse, there was Victoria C. Slotto who offered prompts and instruction on writing from her own blog. I learned so much from Victoria about how to come up with ideas for writing. One idea that comes to mind is to pick up a dictionary and just randomly choose words that you’re attracted too and then write a topic with the chosen words. it’s amazing what will show up. So here’s to prompts and here’s to Victoria…thank you, to a wonderfully creative instructor and a sweet friend!
Hey, maybe Victoria needs to do a pub tending on finding topics! Sometimes I just get stuck….I can always find inspiration in nature though. A friend gave me an excellent prompt Saturday when we were at lunch…..without meaning to, she spoke of how she often feels put down by the “younger” set, how because she is older and deaf,they perceive her as stupid or slow. It certainly made me think of sometimes the preconceptions I have. It is something I hve been thinking about since.
Victoria is quite something, isn’t she? I was initially a little dismissive of ‘prompts’ in workshops – I thought they were just party tricks. But I’ve heard some amazing pieces of work as a result, and they’ve always pushed me in a good way (although it hasn’t always led to great results).
I find having a notebook always to hand and scribbling away bits of overheard conversations (I spend a lot of time in airports) or random sounds or phrases that appear fully formed in my head at times can really kickstart ideas.
Yes, Victoria is quite something, Marina. I’ve been an admirer of hers ever since I first met her within another large poetry group when I first started blogging. And Toni, that was a good prompt that your friend gave you even though not intentionally. You’d think that ideas would be bombarding us from all directions, but no, sometimes an interesting prompt can really kick start some writing.
Speaking of prompts, thank you Marina Sofia for this. And I wish all of you could be here to speak about my prompt for the day – comfort! I have a huge pot of soup simmering with end of season veggies in it, an apple cake baking, and yeast rolls rising to have with the soup. A pitcher of Manhattans and a pitcher of spiced cider would certainly get the talk going! It is cool and rainy here for the first time since first of May and I.am.loving.it.
Ah, you make my mouth water… and I know you’ll be pleased to see the last of the hot weather! Thank you for your very thoughtful contributions to the discussion. I was just taking my older son to his theatre class today and it occured to me that poetry prompts are a little bit like scripts – they all look the same but can feel and sound and look so different when interpreted by a wide array of diverse talent. While OLN is more like improvisation – where we really let our hair down. And yet sometimes the script gives us more freedom to really push our limits, while with improv we tend to stick to tried and tested methods, things which have got us audience appreciation in the past.
If you’ll pardon the mixed metaphors…
I think it is perfect – theater and improve, ballroom dancing and freestyle…..prompts teach us and give us discipline, OLN lets us run free. We need both! 🙂
Wow I am hungry 🙂
Come on there is plenty. I love this end of summer bounty – tomatoes, butter beans, yellow squash, zuchinni, corn, green beans, freshly dug onions and potatoes, tomatoes….plenty of rolls for sopping and dunking, and a nice spicy apple cake from the first apples of the fall season. A friend of mine is already trying to figure out to get here from Ontario. I make a huge potful and then freeze several quarts to eat during the winter – summer tasting veggies when the weather is dull just makes one smile. Next week, I’ll do “vegetarian” crab cakes – grated zuchinni and yellow squash seasoned up and made into patties and sautéed in some butter. I don’t know what I like more – cooking or writing poetry.
I haven’t tried that vegetarian crab cakes ~ Hey, you should do a foodie prompt, smiles ~
I did one once about foods – wrote my love poem to summer tomatoes. I’ll give you the recipe. they really are good! I developed an allergy to seafood and shellfish after my cancer treatment and a longtime vegetarian friend of mine hooked me up. I’m not sure if you all have Old Bay Seasoning in Canada, but that is part of it.
I’ve got the same allergy as you, so am also interested in this alternative to crab.
I’ll send to you as well. I’ll also try to approximate the old bay seasoning. I had a bumper crop of zucchini and so have made several batches to freeze for later use.
2 1/2 cups grated zucchini (small or medium squash work best)
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup minced onion
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vegetable oil for frying
Grate zucchini into a colander. Lightly salt and allow to drain for about an hour and then using paper towels, squeeze out excess moisture. In a large bowl, combine zucchini, egg, and butter or margarine. Stir in seasoned crumbs, minced onion, and seasoning. Mix well. Shape mixture into patties. Dredge in flour. In a medium skillet, heat oil over medium high heat until hot. Fry patties in oil until golden brown on both sides.
I make a double batch of these (to freeze for later use), and bake them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. 400 degree oven, turning once after 12 – 15 minutes then baking an additional 12-15 minutes.
if you don’t have Old Bay, use equal parts of ground bay leaves, sweet paprika, dashes of ground nutmeg, ginger, some salt, pepper, if you like heat, cayenne.
Of course, it doesn’t taste like crab, but it is a good healthy substitute and I find the patties make good sandwiches or served with a nice pasta dish with a light chunky mariana.
Thank you. I am printing this 🙂
That meals sounds right up my alley, Toni. Being a vegetarian too, I believe I would love your “crab cakes.” 🙂
Kathy Reed said:
I also love prompts..mainly because they can open a door to stories or ideas
that might otherwise not have come to the surface. Some give me that “Aha” moment and I’m glad to share my perspective with others and read their interpretations as well. Not that one ought to have a steady diet of them, though. Therefore I like the diversity of having OLN and Poetics as well. Whomever conceived the idea for the name of this group is ingenious..if anything is dverse, this websit is.
Thanks for the discussion Marina.
My pleasure – it’s always a delight to hear all the different points of view! I too like the mix of types of prompts and the freedom of OLN. And I enjoy the pub talk as well, where we don’t have to perform, just share some thoughts and gossip about poetry and writing.
Bryan Ens said:
I love prompts. I often find myself sitting on my couch with my notebook in hand, wanting to write…something…anything…but nothing comes to mind. Prompts are often the muse that gets me going. If you know my blog, you will know that I write quite a mixture…from very short fiction pieces, to free verse poetry, to form poetry, and so I find that most prompts have something I can use. I especially love the dVerse posts that discuss a particular form (although these seem to be fewer and further between), but the thematic prompts certainly get my creative juices flowing too!
I think of a form prompt on sonnets. I kind of reversed it and you were so kind about it. I think there may be some forms coming up at dome point so hang tight and sharpen your pencils!
I too was thinking that we have fewer form prompts than we used to: perhaps the fear is that ‘it’s all been done before’?
It does no harm to have another stab at an old form! And the research for examples often give usa new perspective on something we’ve done before.
In the beginning I didn’t know what a prompt was all about as I was writing based on my own thoughts ~ Later on, I got to appreciate prompts and challenges specially writing to forms ~ I never thought I could write a sonnet or other poetic forms but once I was open to learning it, I am fine with it ~ I agree that forms stretches you,and now even when I am writing free verse, I am very much aware of the rhythm and tools to make it more “poetic” to the ears ~ I like music, picture and word list prompts for starters ~
I think its good to mix up prompts with no prompts which is the case for OLN ~
Thanks for an interesting discussion Marina ~
I like that mixture of prompts with no prompts too, Grace. It’s good to allow people to write in the way that feels most natural to them. And OLN has always been the most popular of the offerings at dVerse…that speaks volumes.
Over time, we’ve had some great picture or music prompts as well. Those are the easiest for me to relate to, I can usually write something without having to try too hard. They are the best for those days, like Bryan says, when I just sit there and wonder what to write about.
Sabio Lantz said:
I love prompts too, though I will only pick those that click with me. The speed poetry done here on d’Verse doesn’t give me time to feel into the prompt. So unless I have a feeling right then and there, I will skp a prompt.
I am not sure such speed poetry is the best practice.
I very often skip prompts too, simply because of lack of time and inspiration. They simply come too fast and furious for my slow Muse… and I’m often sad that I’ve missed a really good one, but then perhaps try to link it up later on OLN.
I save some of the prompts, so that I can make a more considered approach. If Ia return to a past prompt results in a worthwhile poem, there’s always OLN!,
Sabio Lantz said:
So, my suggestions (though I have made them before):
(a) don’t leak out hints about prompts [otherwise you get the insiders putting their poems immediately. Just do it here
(b) Better than that: Give 1 week to write prompt. Do not put up Mr. Linky until one week after prompt told. That will lead to much higher quality poems. And less rushing to be first in line.
I would have to agree with you, Sabio. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time given for me to get my thoughts gathered and written down. If not an entire week, then at least a few more days before Mr. Linky goes up. I find anyone who doesn’t link right away, is sometimes left behind so to speak.
We are trying with the one week open Mr. Linky with Haibun Monday. So far, the feedback has been good, but we need to remind everyone specially the early link ins, to check back at the end of the week, to comment and visit the late comers.
Guilty as charged! I did forget that the link was open for longer and didn’t check in. Perhaps we should have some consistency about the duration of the linky – but that does probably mean more concurrent links, which I don’t even know if it’s possible, or else fewer prompts.
Since it isn’t a contest,, as to who links first, it doesn’t matter about that. But maybe extend the post time to 72 hours, three days. I find a week a very long time, having to come back and keep checking on posters who linked up later. I like prompts as well as OLN. I don’t always do well with all prompts, but i try and usually will go back and work with it on my own. I enjoy learning trying new things. Somethings just take some practice and work. I like how it expands my my knowlege base and thought routines. I work on many of my poems after posting sometimes to refine and make them better. Not being perfect, I find I always have room for improvement. Will I ever write another villanelle? Smiles..I doubt it.
Longer linkies would allow the different time zones more chance to post their poems.
I understand that now. Silly me forgets about the time zones thinking we are all in the same neighborhood!
The map of my blog followers includes just about all 24 time zones!
So do mine. I think of them all as close bt friends…from NZ, to AK, Japan, and one of my favorites, a Great Pyrenees Mountain Dog in Spain. She is a gentle sweet soul and has viven me many licks and smiles.
I really like prompts,,,, like in clothes, you get to choose your outfits based upon the on going trend,but what clothes you’re gonna wear are entirely up to you.
Very good comparison! And hopefully we won’t all end up in boring old business suits…
I enjoy open link over prompts. I like the freedom of writing what I feel instead of forcing myself to write in a way that does not feel as organic to me.
I understand your position so well – that’s my natural feeling too. I always feel my poems for OLN are better too, they’ve been mulled over for longer. I always think of my ‘prompt’ poems as mere rough first drafts, something that can then be worked on later. Perhaps. Like warming up exercises, rather than the proper run.
While I haven’t been able to join in much over the past, for me difficult, two years, I’ve enjoyed the prompts from dVerse and the support of a wonderful poetic community. I especially like the form prompts when the form is new to me. I was at an event where form in poetry was referred to as ‘archaic’—like most contemporary poets, I tend to write in free verse, which is a form in itself (though not all would agree!) but the added challenge of a form, oh yes 😉
I see the prompts as an additional tool in my own creative processes—writing much poetry without one but welcoming the availability of a prompt that the whole community is working to—it’s a joy to see the different approaches to a prompt that we’re able to come up with at dVerse.
We have missed you, Polly, and are always happy to see you when you can join in. I can’t often join in with a prompt myself, because of my work commitments (which often leave my brain too frazzled to deal with poetry), but I always enjoy seeing what other poets make of a prompt and learn a lot from that.
Pleasant Street said:
There are times when I read prompts and they don’t speak to me, so I’ll pass on them.
But sometimes, I’ll read a prompt, usually one word or a few words, sometimes a photograph, and I am transported back to a time I thought I had forgotten. It can be a gift to be reminded of these times that slip through our fingers.
Oh, yes, at times a prompt can open up a whole world that I had forgotten about! Nicely said and so true for me too.
Time was when I would respond to any and every prompt I could find, and wrote a lot of indifferent poetry. Now I am more selective, and hopefully have learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t. But I have to be grateful for the way a good prompt can pull me out of the poetic doldrums, insists that I write SOMETHING even when not in the mood and devoid of words.
I particularly like the form prompts – the discipline of form is, as Marina says, liberating. But I am not averse to kicking over the traces: for me the poem is the important thing, and if a rule of rhyme or meter gets in the way, then so be it, I will disobey!
I can’t imagine you as a prompt junkie, but I do like your wise words about finding out what works and what doesn’t – and perhaps which prompts are going to provide the most personal growth and learning!
I have a love/hate relationship with prompts. Caveat first: I think the quality of the prompt is important. I would guess that most anyone who writes has picked up a book of prompts at some point, and discovered that there are some not-so-quality prompts. (I don’t mean that to sound pompous – some of them are just not helpful in any way) – and, of course, with that caveat comes another: different prompts work for different people.
That out of the way ….
I prefer a prompt that helps spark the imagination, rather than a prompt that requires a certain form (i.e. sonnet, villanelle, rhyming couplets, etc.). Part of that is because I don’t like the restrictions of a form. Not that I don’t appreciate forms – just that I tend to believe that the poem shapes itself, rather than trying to force a poem into a shape. So if I’m given a prompt that says “Write a sonnet about being heartbroken”, I’ll probably ignore it. I know that some poets like the structure of a form, the challenge of getting the meter right, finding the right rhyme. For me, I’d rather find the exact word I want to use, rather than trying to find a word that’s like the word I want to use and rhymes with the line above it — or having to plan a first line, so it rhymes with my word of choice in the second line. (And, face it: I’m not a huge fan of rhyme. I can appreciate it – it just doesn’t move me in the way it moves other people). But, that’s part of the joy of poetry – there are so many options!
I like a prompt that is going to ignite my brain cells, get me searching for images and words and lines … and I like when the rules allow the final poem to end up having nothing to do with the original prompt. Sometimes it just takes a thought to fire up the brain … and the brain then goes where it will. I have no objection to sticking to the prompt, if it captures my interest, because a good poem can come from it. But I like having the freedom to diverge from it if needed.
It was mentioned above that one of the interesting things about prompts (especially if everyone keeps close to the topic of the prompt) is reading all the variations, seeing the way different people respond, watching how they piece the words together. It’s fascinating to see different takes on a prompt – especially the way the poems can stick to the ‘prompt’ but be so radically different from one another. That part I enjoy.
(By the way – I have been following your blog for a few months now, and have stumbled upon some really good poems. This is my first time commenting, and I’ve yet to participate — but don’t be surprised if I jump in with a poem one of these days!) I really enjoy your blog.
Ah, do join us if you can and want to – we’re a friendly crowd and generally don’t bite…
I do hear you about the ‘corset of form’ – I often struggle against it myself (as do many of our participants). And I also agree about the quality of the prompts. I was at a workshop once where the instructor gave us a prompt that had us scratching our heads, that we felt we had heard a hundred times before, that really did not add anything or make us enthusiastic and wanting to explore further. But then he redeemed himself with a good follow-up.
Of course, what is one person’s good prompt could be another one’s poison!
Time is the only constraint that I find for prompts.I don’t view them as a crutch but rather a door to places I never thought of going. They expand my creativity and I always look forward to them. Love the artwork prompts and the mixed metaphors was a blast! Since about ninety percent of the written material on my blog is written for dVerse, I think it is safe to say I am inspired by those that lead us in the pub.
Working full time makes it difficult to keep up sometimes and I hope that my usual late arrival to prompts is not viewed as having less enthusiasm which is definitely not the case.
I am grateful for all who inspire me.
Time is a big problem with responding to prompts. That’s why sometimes they work better in workshops – you are there for the duration of the session anyway and you are limited to just 10-15 minutes of writing. The material, however, is seldom ready for sharing with others, certainly not online.
I also work and travel, and have to skip some prompts or come late to others, so I most certainly do not see you as any less enthusiastic!
Snakypoet (Rosemary Nissen-Wade) said:
My natural inclination is to free verse, and without a prompt I probably wouldn’t think of using any of the traditional forms – but I do enjoy giving them a go when prompted. My favourite dVerse prompts were Sam Peralta’s on various versions of the sonnet. I had always been afraid to tackle a sonnet before, but he made it so easy! I’m proud of myself for all those sonnets – though it’s quite possible I’ll never write another.
I do agree with the idea that constraints are, paradoxically, freeing.
As for content, I don’t think it matters whether we write to prompts or from our own inspiration – either way it is our own subconscious we’re tapping, our own concerns we’re addressing. I enjoy both ways of writing.
Oooh, I really liked that last paragraph – I may steal/borrow it for a quote… I too liked the sonnet prompts. I actually quite enjoyed the puzzle and hardship that is a sonnet – made me feel very clever for attempting it. Like you said, I may not choose to do it of my own free will again…
Sanaa Rizvi said:
Well its hard to say whether a prompt is necessary or not.. I guess it depends on our state of mind. Perhaps a prompt might trigger a muse which is asleep.. or tend to make one run away.. it all depends on how we see it 🙂
I for one enjoy writing to prompts as they help me explore my skills 🙂 But yes.. to write freely is something else entirely 😀 oh well…