by Shellie Neuemeier
Married for over 20 years, Shellie and her husband have four wonderful kiddos and two goofy greyhounds. Shellie writes because it keeps her away from her husband’s power tools and because every now and then, she doesn’t have the choice, it just takes over. Her best inspiration comes from God and the occasional walk along a country road with her greyhounds. Shellie is the founder of NextGen Writers, a free on-line writers conference for teens, and the author of several books, including Driven. Her latest release is Grudges Not Included, which you can learn more about here.
Hey Go Teen Writers! **Waves**
I’m really excited to talk to you all about writing prompts for a couple reasons. First because sometimes we just need to know why we do the things we do. Are you responding to Stephanie’s writing prompt contests because you love writing? You’re competitive and are dying to get that top spot? Because you’ve made great friends and connections through the challenges and can’t give that up? Or is there another reason? And second, we’re going to take a moment and give back to Stephanie for all the hard work she’s done for us.
First, why do we bother with writing prompts? Or rather, why should we? Let’s take a step back from writing and look at biology for a second. While the brain is considered an organ and not a muscle, mental exercises have been shown to enhance the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that improves with learning and controls logical thinking, anticipates events, considers decisions, and regulates social control) similar to the way physical exercise benefits a muscle. With that in mind, let’s look at ways those mental chin-ups can improve your writing…
Pulls you out of your box
Smashes writer’s block
Because prompts provide new landscapes for our writing brains to play with, they rip through writer’s block like a runner through the finish line. They provide new focus and new questions which we can bring to our other writings. If we save them, prompt writing can become our go-to scrap file. You know. That place where we keep our favorite descriptions, our pet phrases. Why those prompts may even inspire an entire storyline. It worked for me. Grudges Not Included, my recent Christmas release, started with a prompt from a new friend. The prompt: every year in Boerne, TX, a nostalgic Christmas event takes place—The Dickens Event. What happens when The Dickens Event gives life to classic Dicken’s tales? The results: old world Christmas meets modern-day Texas. Cake Boss meets David Copperfield.
Creates new focus
Frees your writing
Perfects your craft
But it takes so much work from the judges to the organizing to creating the prompts themselves. Let’s give back to Stephanie. Call it our Christmas gift to her. Let’s make up next year’s writing prompts for her. In the form or comments section below, submit your most creative writer’s prompt (keep it to 25 words or less). Who knows, maybe you’ll see your prompt in the next Go Teen Writer’s challenge.
Stephanie here - While I feel like you all give me a gift just by being return visitors to Go Teen Writers, I love the idea of hearing your suggestions for future Go Teen Writers challenges. If you're like me and you're a bit shy, you can utilize the form below and it'll be just between you and me. If you're blessed with boldness (how I envy you!) you can leave your suggestion in the comments section.
Thanks, Shellie, for such a wonderful post!