A Call to Arms

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It’s a curse. A bloodsucking curse, robbing our stories with the thirst of those Twilight vampires, eating away our passion and making our writing numb with—

OK, OK, well maybe not exactly a curse, but a catastrophic little problem inherent to our craft: writer’s block. I fidget; I stare at the screen. I’m 90,000 words into my first novel, and I’m drained. My protagonist, wily though he may often be, just walked into the room and yawned, then sat down on a couch and stared at a wall.

Suddenly I’m not feeling The Words, no matter how much tea I dump into my good-luck Sherlock Holmes mug. A shred of sun hangs in the sky, falling across my protagonist's lifeless face. A spider watches from the ceiling: Do something already. But then he goes on his way without a single sagely word.

All of us writers need a little help sometimes, whether it’s to break block, to get back in a groove, to feel part of a community, to flex the muscle that lets us do this strange thing we do, or to merely inspire, really pour some gasoline on The Words—the ones that makes our characters do the unpredictable, the right things for the right stories right now.

(My protagonist has settled down on the couch. No … get up! We’re in the home stretch now. Get up!)

So meet Promptly: A writing prompt-driven community that aims to do all of the above by shelling out prompts to get your pen moving and keep it that way.

Here’s how it works: I’ll post on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week, offering flash-fiction prompts, activities, writing-grub-for-thought and maybe even some Q&As—in addition to some positive reinforcement. Prompts can be had Dine In or Carry Out. If you write and post up to 500 words from your responses in the comments section of the blog here—which is the ideal path, so other writers can absorb and play off your inspiration—I (if we haven't met before, I work as the managing editor at Writer’s Digest magazine) and a guest WD judge will pick a favorite post every month for some around-the-office writing swag. Think books, magazines and so on, and expect an array of prompts—from traditional ones to reverse-style prompts and even photo prompts.

(My protagonist looks up, wipes some drool and checks his head for a fever … Yes! A start.)

Thus, I challenge you to dive into our kick-off event. Check out the next post to get involved, and to flex your writing muscles and feel The Words. I’ll be right there beside you.

(My protagonist picks up the phone and dials a random phone number, and a very bad man answers. Now we’re talking …)

Let’s see what happens.

Yours in writing,