Consistency is the key to improving as a writer. I see regular writing practices as the oil to rusty gear – it smoothens out any awkward clunkiness and helps you to flow more easily.
Writing experts will tell you to write every day, but it can be difficult when you don’t know where to start. This is where writing prompts come in handy. How about embarking on this free 31-day writing boot camp by Writers Write? It features 31 prompts, one for each day, and focuses on a variety of writing formats, from business writing and copywriting, to blogging and fiction writing.
31 prompts for a month of writing – are you game?
Day 1: Write an author’s bio about yourself. It should describe who you are (as a writer), and what you write about. Keep it between 50 and 100 words.
Day 2: Imagine three fictional ideas for “The Worst Horror Story You’ll Ever See’. Write a 50 word synopsis for each of them. Look at book, movie, and TV show descriptions for inspiration.
Day 3: Your favourite character from a book or TV show has just been fatally shot. Write their obituary. Make it 150 to 250 words. Focus on their life’s accomplishments, and tribute their lives. Read newspaper obituary sections for research.
Day 4: Write a one-page script that features a family at the breakfast table. It’s an advertisement for pasta. It can be serious, funny, or interesting. Up to you.
Day 5: How many article and story ideas can you write down in 120 seconds? Grab a pen, open your word processor. Open the stopwatch from your mobile. Now go.
Day 6: Navigate to the closest local news website. Choose the top fivr articles for the day from the home page. Write alternate, catchy headlines for these articles. Then rewrite the first paragraphs, too.
Day 7: Write an e-mail apologising to a client for delivering their article 1 day after the official deadline. It happens to everyone. Sometimes, it’s how you handle the situation that matters. Be professional, be friendly, and admit what led to the event.
Day 8: Choose an article or story that you’ve written/published/read. Next, write three status updates for Facebook summarising the article, and inviting readers to click the link. It’s important to understand how to promote.
Day 9: Select one minute of footage from a TV show, movie, or YouTube video. Transcribe only the audio. It will take some practice. Go back and listen again. The more you’ve done it, the easier it gets.
Day 10: ‘Should the open consumption of cheese be banned from school events?’ Write a 150 word argument that says no. Then, write the other side of the argument which argues for yes. Perspectives and points-of-view are crucial for writing fiction. (Especially when you don’t agree.)
Day 11: Choose a random article from Wikipedia. Summarise the article using 100 to 150 words. Don’t just rewrite the original. Choose its most crucial points, and write a summary in plain language.
Day 12: Pick your favourite book. Rewrite a random paragraph from the book in a different tense. Past, present, or future.
Day 13: Watch the ending scene from your favourite movie. Now write down one minute of the ending as though it were a short story. Remember to describe the setting, and pay attention to the dialogue, sounds, and background. Readers don’t have the benefit of the visuals the writer is looking at (but still has to evoke the same emotions).
Day 14: Pitch the movie Die Hard as a romantic novel with a 150 to 200 word email to a publication’s editor.
Day 15: Let’s imagine that you’ve just been arrested for a crime. Write your official statement of what happened (and how) using 300 words. Statements have to be truthful, and from your perspective. They will contain detail, but people also often forget certain details (or recount them wrong) after the event has happened. Be creative. Did you really do it – or not?
Day 16: Write an email pitch about rattlesnakes in five different ways. Take advantage of different angles surrounding the same topic. For example, Rattlesnake Identification In North West versus Rattlesnake Venom In South Africa.
Day 17: Visit an online typing speed tester. What’s your average typing speed? Work on improving it, and test this regularly. Learning how to type faster is a huge time-saver when you’re a writer.
Day 18: Read your local newspaper. Then, choose an article and write a letter to the editor. Feel free to submit the letter once you’re done.
Day 19: Write a clearly spam-filled email that invites users to click on a link to Win A Free Smartphone. It’s important for writers to recognise how these messages are written. This way, you’ll make sure your newsletters and messages never spam your readers (or trigger automatic spam filters).
Day 20: You’re being interviewed about your writing for a newspaper article. What are your Top Three Tips For Other Writers? Don’t think about it. You’re on the spot. Answer the questions fast! Read what you’ve written down after this, and then think how you could have answered differently.
Day 21: Interview your favourite fictional character. (Yes, it can be the story’s villain.) Ask them three uncomfortable, personal questions. Then write their responses in a paragraph or two.
Day 22: Write an email that introduces you, the writer to the editor of a publication or website. Request their guidelines. Be formal, be friendly, be professional, and be quick. Whether or not you send this is up to you. (Good luck!)
Day 23: Select a random piece of writing from the internet. Edit it, and then cut it down to half its current word count. It’s an important exercise in learning how to say the same things, but with less.
Day 24: Write a 250 to 300-word short story detailing your most traumatic or scariest life experience. Use first– or second– or third-person perspective. It’s an important exercise in writing. It can also help writers to process life events better.
Day 25: Write a 250 word rejection letter for your own writing. Be harsh! Be mean! Pull out all the stops! Pick at everything that bothers you. See? You’re still alive after this. Editors can never be more harsh than this, and rejection will never bother you again.
Day 26: Write a short 100 word review for the first item to your left. Do you love it, or hate it? Why?
Day 27: Write a 100 to 150 word product description for the least favourite item in your fridge. This description is meant to appear on the packaging. It should contain details about the product, and/or about the company.
Day 28: Write a formal complaint about a product or service that you weren’t happy with. It should be short (approximately 150 to 250 words), and state only the facts. Tell the company or manufacturer why you weren’t happy. Mention where they can improve, and what you expect in return.
Day 29: Summarise a full book or movie plot in just 20 to 25 words. (Yes, it’s hard. That’s the point.)
Day 30: Write a 50 word flash fiction horror story. Choose a random word from the dictionary as your topic.
Day 31: Name four writing goals that you want to achieve next. Describe a plan for each of these goals using one sentence each. How are you going to achieve your next milestones?