Yesterday I stumbled upon the idea of Journal Prompts. I’ve seen people blog to writing prompts, and while I get the reasoning behind it, or the need some people might feel to use them – I never felt they were worth my time. I write when I want to write and I only write what swims around in my brain before I sit down to do it.
But journaling prompts? The idea is even more foreign and unattractive to me. By journaling I naturally think of writing in a diary. Why would I write anything other than what I have to get out of my head or document about my life in such a case? Why would I write what other people suggest?
As I scanned through some sites that offered journal prompts, it occurred to me that many of them seem much like questions a teacher might ask you to write answers to – so I guess that makes sense if they mean journal as in a project book you have for school… Something more focused on talking about your own opinions, etc rather than creative writing prompts I usually see referred to on some blogs.
Anyway, I just don’t get it I guess…. And none I’ve seen has even caused me to gain an idea to write about something I haven’t yet shared. I guess, to be fair, there were several questions that I feel like I have answered already – so maybe they could have been helpful early on in my writing/blogging life.
I also find it confusing that on one site it said to write about memories associated with a smell… and then gave a list of smells. Besides the fact that I’ve written about scent memories before, unprompted, I am aghast that cigarette smoke didn’t make the list. That is a strong scent memory I have – usually associated with the courtyard at school, usually associated with Dan and friends. All the actual mentioned smells I could answer in just a few words:
- pine needles: Christmas
- cut grass: Grandpa’s lawnmower
- sunscreen: Fishnet Festival with Wyatt
- rubbing alcohol: The clinic I always got my overseas immunizations
- cinnamon: Mom’s hot cider
- stale beer: Timmy, asleep on top of me.
- pencil erasers: 4th grade
- vinegar: making Easter eggs
…and I’m tired of that now. Only half the list, if I’m honest. Most of those I wouldn’t care to write about, and I doubt you’d care to read. I have already written about Timmy crushing me and making it hard to breathe with the smell of beer yeast coming from his pores. Trust me when I say I needed no prompt to remember that and write…
Look, I don’t mean to come off as judgmental, but when I am browsing blogs on the explore function… and they state they are following a prompt, I tend to switch off. It makes it less attractive for me to read – especially when I see several people are writing off of the same prompt that day.
I want to read original ideas, I want to read you. I want to write and share me. It’s different if, say, someone specifically asks a question or wants an elaboration – but writing from generic prompts is… boring at best.
Hell, I’m boring myself with a post just about prompts…
All I’m saying is, really, is if you do use prompts for your writing… Don’t state it. Don’t make it obvious, or do the one everyone else is doing that week or whatever.
Write unique; write you.