The drudgery of doing a writing prompt

As I had written previously, I purchased “The Author’s Accountability Planner: A Day-by-Day Guide for Writers 2021” because, as the title implies, I want to take more accountability in my writing and independent publishing.

Every week, the planner asks authors to assess how well or not-so-well their week had gone. As part of this, the authors are encouraged to pen something for five minutes using two words as prompts. Then writers are asked to post their exercise on the 4HP (4 Horsemen Publications, the publisher of the planner) Accountable Authors Group on Facebook.

So I took up the most recent weekly overview writing prompt, which presents the two words “carry” and “watermelon.” All of the planner’s overview prompts consist of two random words.

I’m not going to present here what I had written for the exercise. I will say that I was only maybe about 30 seconds into this exercise before I stopped because I didn’t like the direction it was going. From there, I went off on a tangent about my struggle in coming up with a good response to the prompt, which is as follows in italics. I must warn you that it may ramble and seem self-contradictory at times. I was a mental mess:

So what am I supposed to write with these two words, “carry” and watermelon”? This is so infuriating; I’m doing what I can to think of what to write — anything — and this is the result. This is what I’m talking about: Someone named Sally eating a watermelon.

And to carry on like this, complaining, all the while doing my best to figure out what to write in this space only for it to occupy it with this mess of words is, I have to say, nothing short of brilliant. Because in order for me to express myself in words, first I have to make sure that I get it on paper or on the monitor first. Is there anything more exhilarating than seeing my sheer ‘brilliance’ at work … yet only to create something as meaningless as drivel on paper, especially for a five-minute writing prompt.

I’m not expecting a Pulitzer by a long shot, but why does my brain function like this, in it that I try hard to write stories that don’t seem to have enough depth, in it that I do my best to really get to my core and my heart and soul, and I come out with less than my expectations? I’m not putting any stress on myself; I’m just trying to be better.

Okay, I get that not everything an author writes will be gold, at least not the first time around and definitely not while doing a writing exercise. Like I said in my rant I just expect, well, better from myself.

The good news is that I got something out of that writing prompt, even if it doesn’t actually use the words “carry” and “watermelon.” Well, the words are mentioned, just not in a way that is typically expected in a writing prompt.

I feel much better having typed all this out and publishing this on my blog. And no I didn’t post my response on the 4HP Facebook page.

How about yourself? How’s your writing coming along?😁😁😁

Teresa Edmond-Sargeant is an award-winning journalist and author. She released her first collection of short stories “Inner Demons” in October 2020. She is the author of the short story ebooks “Eve the First,”“For My Sister,” and “Sammy’s Butterflies.” She will release her poetry ebook “A Symphony of Silence” in early 2021 and her debut novel “Warding Off Reality” in August 2021.