I don’t know why, but I’m often amazed at how quickly I can come up with an idea in my Creative Writing Class when given a prompt to complete in about 10 minutes. Sometimes our tutor gives us a selection of starting lines and this can be useful for jumping in at the deep end. At other times I might choose something that springs to mind. Each time we have done this exercise I have written for 10 minutes and often wanted more time to develop what is on the page.
I can sit at home and ruminate for hours about what to write and nothing comes. Of course, this isn’t always the case otherwise I’d never write anything, but I do sit for ages sometimes thinking about how a conversation should go and what the characters sound like and where the dialogue is taking the story.
I can also write for ages sometimes and end up with fragments of a story that seem to have no beginning, ending, or direction. I think this is one of the most frustrating things as I am feeling creative at the time but without an aim in mind. I collect pieces of writing in the hope I can put them together and come up with the story I always wanted to write.
There are numerous websites giving writing prompts – a quick search on Google will bring up pages of them – but I don’t often use them. Because I have the time to think about it I dismiss some of them as not interesting enough or not quite the subject matter I would have chosen. But I don’t have any ideas of my own so it would be more beneficial to go along with the prompts that not.
Without the constraints of class I flounder. If I were stricter with myself I would set a time limit, find a (random) prompt and write. Who knows, I might eventually come up with my masterpiece.