This email arrived from a former student concerning the role writing prompts played in his two online class experiences:
"Going into your courses, I had a question about what type of writing I might be good at. The writing prompts helped to reveal some of the answer – humor, definitely short (nonfiction) pieces and then a fiction impulse arose that completely surprised me.
"I had fun with most of the prompts. Three pieces stand out, but by far the most significant is the character who emerged and is giving me the opportunity to try my hand at writing fiction. That was a surprise. A good one.
"I also discovered how to make myself look foolish and clumsy. That's okay. There’s a book, The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes, which warned me that to write is to reveal yourself on the page. How true. There were a couple of prompts that went off into strange directions, but I only needed to remind myself, 'Nothing ventured nothing gained'.
"Generally, I was delighted to catch a writing prompt in my teeth and run with it. The invitation to let the small universe of my imagination spill out onto the page was irresistible."
If you'd like to try some writing prompts, sign up for my Winter Prompts Project – 8 weeks of daily prompts in your inbox, from today through March 13 – by sending me an email with Prompts in the subject line.
You can read the rest of the Stuff My (Writing) Students Say series here.