Thursday Writing Prompt No. 61

I’m back after a two-week hiatus from the prompts. I’ve been hiding under a pile of books about the Renaissance, trying to put together a 10-page essay on Giordano Bruno before I scamper out of town for a long weekend. You know, having a deadline is a great way to get yourself to write. So I’m going to give you one.

Your task is to write for a set amount of time and get as many words down on your paper or screen as you can. There’s nothing inherently new about this writing approach: it’s what novelists do in November when they sign up for NaNoWriMo. And there are a number of sites on the Internet, such as Write or Die, where you can torment yourself senseless by seeing how much you can pour forth in a given amount of time.

The easiest way to do the the writing is to simply use a watch or clock and do your writing in a program that will give you a word count. If your word processor of choice doesn’t offer that, don’t despair, because you can find word-counting software online and just tally up the numbers at the end of your timed writing session.

The point of the exercise isn’t so much about stressing over how fast you can type, but in making yourself commit to a certain amount of time and then doing the work. So start with a goal that is obtainable for you. A fifteen-minute window for writing might be the best start. Let’s use it for this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt, okay? Set aside the time when you won’t be bothered. Ignore the cell phone for a few minutes — turn it off or throw it in the toilet, I don’t care which you do, but don’t answer it during your writing time.

Now, the subject this week is clouds. Almost everyone’s seen them or heard about them, so there are no excuses not to write about this topic. You can do fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or make up a resume for a cloud. Fir fifteen minutes, just write about clouds. Count when you’re done. Put phrases on the page if you can’t think of a sentence. Write adjectives on the page if you can’t think of phrases. Put something down, and keep your fingers moving.

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