I recently had a new idea for writing prompts that I’ve been enjoying. I’ve been using this to warm up on mornings when I’m not quite awake but need to get actual work done.
1. Collect your shit, gather your materials, put your headphones on, whatever.
2. Take the first sentence of one of Choire’s pieces on the Awl and cut & paste it into your text file/Word doc/whatever.
3. Start from there and write for 5 minutes without stopping.
There’s no particular reason I use Choire, other than he writes extremely well, and his ledes tend to be all kinds of evocative, sending your brain off in different directions.
4. Bonus/extra credit: when the 5 minutes are up, you go back to that same piece that you stole the first line from, and then tack the last line on to the end of what you wrote.
Here I’ll show an example of one I did. This is rough and unedited and not super great, (JUST BECAUSE IT’S SHORT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S FLASH FICTION) but that’s kind of the point—to not actually care what you’re writing, just to BE WRITING so you can get your fingers moving and your brain grinding. You trick yourself into believing you are a writer and it’s no big deal, and maybe you also remind yourself that sometimes it’s a little fun, this writing thing.
Last night, Gawker Media held its first real company-wide meeting at the Crosby Hotel screening room, down in the hotel’s swank basement. It was kind of a big deal? I guess? It’s hard to tell. No one really knows anyone else from the internet anymore, unfortunately. There were a lot of people who claimed to have really popular tumblrs, but you mainly had to take their word on it. You’d be like, Oh, you have a tumblr, cool, which one? And they’d just look at you for a second and be like The one that reblogs all the pictures from other places? Duh? And even worse: that was enough for some people. The children running around. I’m trying to figure out how so many tweens got into a Gawker party. Maybe the staff just brought their kids or something? But no, they were the guest list, the A-list. A bunch of them were closet-bloggers. One described herself as the one who always pairs shorts with tights. Another claimed to be the one who originated the fucked-up sailor girl look. I don’t know. It was kind of tense. The Gawker staffers looking at their watches. They knew, you know? There was absolutely no content they could provide that would be compelling to the new demographic. Some rando from Jalopnik quit halfway through the meeting, annoucing his new venture, a Twitter account that posts links to Instagram pictures of fancy cocktails. He just closed 5MM in funding. No one could find Nick Denton. He was definitely there. Maybe. No one I talked to had even heard of him. I was all “Old guy? About yay high? Obsessed with pageviews?” and they just stared at me. Pretty sure I saw up Taylor Momsen’s skirt at one point though. 85% sure it was her. Stuff your pockets with raw fish on your way home.