One of the best ways I keep my muse fresh is by participating in word prompt games on Twitter. It’s a fun activity that brings enjoyment to my writing life and helps keep me connected to the writing community. The basic concept of all the prompts is this: a host picks a word, phrase, or picture, the writer writes using the word, phrase, or picture as inspiration, and the host’s hashtag is used so others can find what was written.
The following example was taken from the #vss365 prompt. I happen to be the host this month. Writers within the community take the word of the day, desert in this case, and create fantastic poetry or stories using this one word.
“But Arthur, I am brand new to all of this and have no clue what I am doing!”
That’s okay. It’s common to feel overwhelmed in the beginning. The first thing you need to do is find a prompt that appeals to you. Second, find out who hosts the prompt. Third, find out if there are any special rules to follow (i.e., no combo-prompts, no ads, etc). Last, write and post your micro story/poem.
1: Find a prompt that appeals to you. There are weekly prompts (i.e. #1LineWed, #SciFiFri, #MartialMonday, #Twisted2sDay, #MadVerse ) and daily prompts (i.e. #BardBits, #vss365). This is all up to your personal writing style.
2: Find out who hosts the prompt or who posts the words/pictures for prompt. The easiest way to do this is to do a search for the hashtag and then click on the people tab.
Most of the hosts will post directly in their bios their level of involvement.
3: Find out if there are any special rules. The lovely @EvieDre hosts the #WriteLGBTQ prompt and makes it easy to see what her tag is all about and how to participate.
If you notice at the bottom, it says: THEME IS OPTIONAL. BUY LINKS WELCOME, BUT PLEASE DON’T SPAM.
This lets you the writer know the parameters for story creation. Each prompt is unique, so it is essential to seek the initial post to avoid any faux pas or unintentional breaches of etiquette.
4: Write your story/poem. This should be the easy part for a writer, but the 280 character limit of Twitter introduces a unique constraint. Worse comes to worst, just post a link to your blog site or a screenshot of your completed work. Don’t forget to leave space for the hashtag. The prompt’s hashtag is how others find your words.
When all else fails, just ask. Everyone starts their writing journey somewhere. Writing on a social platform introduces new and unique challenges. Every writer has something unique to offer the world and the writing community. You will eventually see your words reaching more people by following a few simple social etiquette rules.
Most importantly, keep an open mind and be willing to learn new things. Frustration and self-depreciation run rampant among writers. Patience is vital, especially when trying anything new.
Next time I will dive into how to tweak your author account to get only the best writing stuff into your newsfeed.
Good luck and happy writing! – Arthur