Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thrusday Prompt: Time Limit

This week we're going to set our muse on fire, we're going to put a time limit on her inspiration. I know, you're wondering how putting on that kind of pressure is going to be a good thing.

Think about it for a moment. When you get an idea you sit and think about it, write a little think about it. Then delete a few lines, think a bit more. Progress is made but really how much? We tend to think too much and that can impede our muse sometimes.

Now, let's try an experiment. Set a timer for five to ten minutes then start to write. I'm sure you'll be surprised to see just how many words you've added to the page. Being on a time limit keeps you from over thinking characters and plot points. You only have time to put words into the story.

You can use timed writing as a stretching exercise before starting in on your main project. Or use it to force through a block. Get some friends together and write as a group. Make it a race, sprint to see how many words you can get in a set time, or who can get the most words.

There are a couple of tools you can use for timed writing. The first is, on One Word you are given a single word prompt and have 60 seconds to write what that word inspires. It's fun and a great way to wake up your muse before working on your main project.

The second is one many might be familiar with. Write or Die, you can use the online version or download the desktop version for more features. Write or Die is more than just timed writing. It challenges you and dares you not to stop writing. You can set a time limit with a word count you would like to write within that limit. Once you click write, it's on. The moment you stop writing, the screen begins to darken in color. After it turns red a horrible annoying sound will start playing. The only way to stop the horror is to start typing again.

There is even a setting for those brave enough, once the screen darkens the annoying sound doesn't play. Instead, your prose begins to be deleted backward one letter at a time. Talk about pressure!

Experiment with different times and ways to challenge yourself and muse using these limits. Have fun and set your muse free.

JLB Creatives

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JLB Creatives Editor Dar Bagby (L) and JLB Creatives CEO Janet Beasley (R)