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Exercising Creativity (& Vocal Prompters)

A blog discussion on some tips to exercising our creativity muscle, as well as a list of some Vocal creators who post prompts/challenges.

By BellePublished 6 days ago Updated a day ago 4 min read
Top Story - May 2024
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Photo by Art4All on Shutterstock

All of our skills are like muscles – we have to keep working them in order to keep them.

I recently found some of the work I wrote in high school, and I've got to tell you, it took me on a bit of a trip. The works were all just first, second, or third chapters. I didn't often get much farther than that, at least not documented. I used to be a Wattpad writer, and spent even my middle school years writing half-assed novels that I thought were brilliant. I remember taking notebooks with me everywhere, writing things down and creating all the time. Camping trips were my favorite places for inspiration. Now? Things are a bit different.

So where did that inspiration go? It seems like I used to be able to come up and roll with fun ideas so easily, even if it was just the ability to put faith in a very open-ended idea. Maybe it was just excitement to get something in the works, or maybe it was some kind of admirable creativity trait. I'm not sure.

Either way, I don't feel like the ideas come so easily to me anymore, or at least that I don't give them enough faith – that it takes so much work to believe in an idea now. I used to feel comfortable with improvising my way through the work, "trusting the process," just writing and then fixing things along the way. But I think the development of anxiety as I became a young adult took that improvisation away. Now I need a plan, a vision.

I think that's why it's easier now to write short stories and micro/flash fiction. I used to hate writing something small and took enormous pride in my word counts. Now, I like the little ideas. It takes less planning, less improvisation before a story comes to fruition.

So, if we throw the anxieties aside... What do we do now? To get that creativity back?

I think using prompts is a great way to create something, even if AI generated. We need to use our creativity and pump it like a muscle. When you take a break, it might be harder to get back into. It's like how your math teacher used to always say "you need to do math every day" regardless if you had homework or an upcoming test. If you don't use a skill, you lose it.

Now, I should be taking my own advice. I have a couple of unofficial challenges on my Vocal page, and I haven't created my own entries for them yet. But I think that as well is a good way to spark creativity, to pump that muscle, not just to use your own creativity, but to open your mind with other people's. READING can boost your creativity, not just writing. Just reading the work of other people, and the entries they create for the same prompts, can bridge some gaps and make new connections in your creative base.

Of course, using these prompts will help, too. There are the challenges that Vocal Media posts (with great prizes, which isn't too bad either!). There are some Vocal creators that post unofficial challenges/prompts as well, some of which have prizes, including:

Randy Baker: Randy posts challenges through his "Prompted" series, with specific prompts and the chance for prizes. You can find his latest challenge here.

Poppy: Poppy posts monthly prompts in her "Poppy's Prompts" series, in the form of five words in which you are encouraged to use one or tie a few or all of them together. You can find her latest prompts here.

L.C. Schäfer: L.C. posts monthly prompts for her micro/flash fiction series. She is dedicated to writing a microfiction story every day in 2024, and releases prompts for those who are doing the challenge, too. You can find her latest prompts here. L.C. has also created an unofficial challenge in the past, viewable here, with the chance for prizes, though I'm not sure if that will become a recurring thing.

Kenny Pen: Kenny has also just posted an unofficial challenge, with the chance for prizes. You can view it here!

Kodah: Kodah recently published a prompt challenge of their own, with the chance for prizes, which is viewable here. I'm not sure if this will become a recurring thing, but keep your eyes peeled!

Chloe Rose Violet: Chloe has posted a couple of writing prompt lists in the past, with a phrase/word prompt for every day of the selected month. You can see her latest prompt list here

Belle: Of course, I've got to plug myself in here. I post (at minimum) monthly unofficial challenges. You can find the list of my open and closed challenges here.

Mackenzie Davis: Mackenzie has posted a few challenges, including poetry and most commonly ekphrastics, with the chance for prizes! You can see her latest challenge here!

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred: Mike has also created his own prompt for the purpose of collecting entries, reading each other's submissions, and even awarding some tips! You can find his latest here!

Paul Stewart: Paul posts unofficial challenges from time to time, with the chance of prizes! You can view the last one here, although the results have just been released. Keep your eyes peeled for more from him!

Christy Munson: Christy has just started posting unofficial challenges on Vocal, with the chance of prizes! You can see her challenge here (which closes May 31st)! Keep your eyes out for more from her!

If you know anyone else who posts regular prompts/unofficial challenges on Vocal, please feel free to comment below and I'll add them to the list!

(Note: I will accompany their name with their latest prompt/challenge at the time I added them, but it might not be the latest by the time you see it.)

I believe the utilization of these prompts is a great way to push more content on Vocal, as well as exercise our brain and imagination, while maintaining connections and community on this platform. <3

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About the Creator

Belle

I host unofficial challenges and enjoy writing microfiction and poetry.

My current open challenges can be found here.

ALL EYES ON RAFAH. 35k+ murdered in Palestine. 70k+ injured. 25k orphaned. ~10k missing/under rubble.

Top Story Count: 4

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (14)

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  • Jasmine Aguilar2 days ago

    :Prompts are a great way if you are short on ideas and don't know what to write about. Even a one word can spark a wealth of story ideas!

  • Since Vocal stuck this one directly next to yours on the front page/Top Story list, I take that as a sign that the Vocal overlords want it added to your compilation list, lol: https://vocal.media/writers/mayvillanelle-a-mikeydred-may-dollar-prompt-for-all-vocal-creators

  • Paul Stewart4 days ago

    Oh well done Belle on a great piece and collection and the Top Story too! :) It's exciting to see your growth on Vocal! Mean that all genuine like...;)

  • Some excellent creators and challenges listed there , thank you for sharing

  • Nice! Congrats for top Story! I have recently started to post prompts in my Publication on Medium. Do you think I could do the same here? Like even repost some on Vocal? They focus on simple stories from our lives, memories from childhood or later years. I am curious if people would take such prompt challenges on.

  • hungmaidao5 days ago

    cảm ơn bạn chia sẽ rất hay

  • Alisha Wilkins5 days ago

    I love seeing the support through each other. I remember being that shy introverted kid who used writing as a means to escape my world and become someone stronger, smarter, more the hero...but more so writing now has been a way for me to help my heart bleed and heal. I love reading others works and seeing that writing is so unique and hasn't died out. Love this. Thank you for sharing.

  • Kodah5 days ago

    Yayayay!! Thanks so much, Belle! 🥰💝 Everyone has incredible prompts!! Also, congrats on top story!! 🥳🎉🥳🎉🥳

  • This comment has been deleted

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Prompts help me with getting the juices flowing lol and I write fanfics when I need emotional release great article 👌

  • Belle (Author)5 days ago

    Thank you all for getting this to Top Story! I appreciate all of you!!!

  • You know what, soooo many of us would find this helpful because we tend to forget what unofficially challenges are there. Thank you so much for putting this together 🥰🥰🥰

  • Brenda Fluharty6 days ago

    Writing prompts can be fun and helpful. They can also help writers be more interactive. Thanks for all the wonderful prompt writers, who do their best to help other writers. Great list.

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