About this time last year I took a virtual trip over to Meetup.com and did a search for writer’s groups in my local area. I found a couple and checked them out. I started attending one group up until November 2014, at which point I dove into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and then school started for me in December.

Today, after nearly six months, I re-visited the group that still meets regularly at the same time and same location. There were two old faces and five new faces sitting at the table. After introductions it was time for 10-minute timed writing exercises.

The hostess of the group provided several writing prompts for us to work through. She would read off the first prompt, set the timer, then yell, “Start!”. We’d each write on our laptops or longhand on paper for the allotted time. Once the timer ended you stopped writing and then we took turns sharing our work.

The last time I did this sort of activity with a writing group was about eight months ago. At the time, I had not been writing much prior to coming to that meeting. Thus, when the timer started I was frozen with anxiety and the internal editor stopped me from writing much, let alone writing well.

Today was a very different experience. I have been writing more and working on some editing projects as of late. Thus, today when the timer started I was relaxed and pumped out a good 350 to 450 words for each 10-minute session. The approach I took for each prompt was very different than the previous prompt.

Today’s writing prompts, with accompanying pictures:

Writing Prompt 1:
If colors can symbolize emotions or qualities, paint a picture of a moment with the colors that mean more than just a hue. Inspiration: Colors

Writing Prompt 2:
Sibling rivalry. Sometimes we survive it. Sometimes barely. Some may yearn for it. Inspiration: Siblings

Writing Prompt 3:
She knew this was the answer, from the second she picked up the axe. Inspiration: Axe

Writing Prompt 4:
You discover the person you’ve been assigned to work on a project with is the last person on earth you’d expect. You admire them, they have nothing to do with your profession/schooling, and maybe you could have sworn they’ve been dead awhile. Inspiration: Famous Assistant

How I chose to approach each prompt and in most cases the hostess called “Start!” while I was still reading the prompt:

  • A monk, wearing a sky blue sash, same as his clan banners, is performing kata’s during a storm while standing on a cliff top
  • Twin sisters exchanging verbal jabs as they talk about a boy they both like
  • A young woman finding an axe, then turning to face her pursuer and no longer being the victim
  • Having to face off with my new co-worker, a recently undead (zombie) who is going through rehab and reintegrating into the workforce

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I’m convinced I would have froze again or had not been very efficient with the 10-minute rush, if I had not already been writing throughout the earlier part of the week. When you practice writing every day, it does get easier to write when you are put under the pressure of a deadline and have to push words to paper.

So plan to succeed at writing every day this week. Then, equipped with some writing prompts you’ve never read before, set the timer and see what comes out. There is a very good chance you’ll surprise yourself.

Keep on writing.