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Why I Already Love Prompt-ly

The Prompt-ly listserv is about 24 hours old, and it already rocks.  Fine, the listserv is sort of like a newborn colt, shakily getting to her feet as people shyly get to know each other.  But I can tell that it has the potential to rock and fully expect that within the next two weeks, the prompts and post ideas will be flying like popcorn.

(That is, if you like popcorn.  If you are anti-popcorn, please come up with another analogy in your head.)

I imagine the list like an enormous Formica table at a Starbucks (sans the one wobbly leg that is making your coffee spill all over the surface), with an infinite amount of chairs, and people are just saying interesting things.  They’re talking about things they read and places they’ve been and stuff they’ve noticed.  And your mind just wanders during the discussion, snatching up writing ideas.

I’m finishing up Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, which is a massively fun read.  I’ll have more to say about it when I hit the final page (and yes, I have been taking notes because I intend to write a blog post!), but one of the ideas he throws out there is that part of the success equation is the work you put in.  A lot of the success equation is out of your control such as circumstances of your birth or what you were taught at a formative age, but that idea of work is entirely within your control.

The number he comes up with for success is 10,000 hours.  You need to put in 10,000 hours of work in order to be in a position where you become an expert.  The Beatles put in over 10,000 hours of play time before they hit it big; Bill Gates put in 10,000 hours of programming before he was in a position to form Microsoft.

Of course most (any?) successful bloggers haven’t put in 10,000 hours, but I think the idea still holds.  If you want to be a good writer, you need to write.  You need to take whatever writing time you can and write whatever you can.  To warm up for six hours of book writing, I start by writing blog posts (I write to warm up so I can… write).  I jot down words on post-it notes that appeal to me.  I have an idea notebook where I dump ideas.  I read a shitload — both books and blogs.

I may only get 15 minutes a day to write sometimes.  But I grab those 15 minutes and try to make them count rather than dismissing them.  15 minutes of writing still has worth.

And I don’t always post what I write.  I have 172 drafts that I’ve saved.  I have several hundred posts that I’ve written and dumped.  Sometimes, it just about the act of writing.

And that is the way you become a better writer — simply by doing it.  Writing begets writing: do it enough and you’ll have time to work on your book and work on a post because your mind will be in shape.  It’s sort of like running.  If you run once a week, you’ll find every run difficult.  If you run a bit every day, you’ll soon find that a mile feels like nothing.

So, I hope you join along if you’re looking for discussion and prompts.  Because I’d like to see this list become an infinite coffee table with a diverse group sitting around, chatting so you can pluck ideas out of the air.  And my commitment is to grow it into that over the course of this next year.

Think I’ve found my project for this upcoming year of blogging.  Just in time since my blogoversary is at the end of the month.


1 May { 06.13.11 at 2:24 pm }

Love this. That is all.

2 Keiko { 06.13.11 at 2:58 pm }

Sweet sassy molassy, brilliant post and brilliant idea with Prompt-ly.

“And that is the way you become a better writer — simply by doing it. Writing begets writing: do it enough and you’ll have time to work on your book and work on a post because your mind will be in shape. ”

This is probably one of the best pieces of advice (and motivation) I’ve ever received about writing. I’m going to post this everywhere and credit you appropriate. Holy hell, I need to print this out and keep it as a reminder under my monitor.

Looking forward to Prompt-ly!

3 HereWeGoAJen { 06.13.11 at 3:53 pm }

I totally agree about it already rocking. Even though I haven’t had time today to sit down and read things properly yet, I can tell in my scanning that it is full of awesome people.

4 BigP's Heather { 06.13.11 at 4:42 pm }

I thought this: sort of like a newborn colt
said “cult” and I wasn’t sure about that as a marketing strategy…

5 JustHeather { 06.13.11 at 5:53 pm }

I’ve been enjoying meeting everyone! I see so many interesting ‘faces’ and some even with similar backgrounds. (I met my hubby online too!) I’m excited for all the ideas to flow.

6 Justine { 06.13.11 at 6:07 pm }

Awesome idea… I’ve been stuck for a project/direction … thanks!!

7 Kristin { 06.13.11 at 6:46 pm }

This came along at the perfect time because, ummmmmm, I may be trying to write a book.

8 mic @ IF Crossroads { 06.13.11 at 8:45 pm }

I am so excited about Promptly! Thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of the group!

9 Kathy { 06.13.11 at 9:00 pm }

I like the idea of getting/keeping your mind in shape! I agree that “writing begets” writing and the more I seem to do it, the more inspired I feel… Thanks again for another awesome idea!

Sorry I sent my intro so many times. I actually facilitate a Google Group for my son’s class/families at his school and have never had the problem I am having w/ it today… But I also don’t know that I was ever intentionally trying to post/reply to a single thread and make it look a certain way prior to today. I am sure I am the only person that is bothered by this, other than it showing up multiple times in your inboxes. I know it isn’t a big deal for people to click on the “show quoted text” link. But it is driving the OCD/perfectionist in me CRAZY!!! I just want it to show up like a normal email in the thread like everyone else’s… Okay, time for me to get over this and move on w/ my evening.

10 a { 06.13.11 at 9:36 pm }

I really enjoyed Outliers, and I’ve been using that practice theory on my daughter every time she tells me she can’t do something (usually the first time she tries it).

11 marilyn { 06.13.11 at 11:11 pm }

yes..you are so right! Writing everyday..gets the writing juices flowing. I read the best Autobiogrpahy from Stephen king. He is not my favorite genre of writers, but his book is as inspiring as this post!

12 jjiraffe { 06.14.11 at 1:50 am }

This is such a fabulous idea and resource. You rock!

My dad always told me that the most talented and successful writers were the ones who worked the hardest.

Thanks for the shout-out to The Pomegranate Society!

13 twangy { 06.14.11 at 7:12 am }

Nothing short of brilliant!

14 Jendeis { 06.14.11 at 1:56 pm }

I heart Malcolm Gladwell!!

Am dying to get back to writing and I think this is a perfect way to do it. Thank you so much for the resource. 🙂

15 Bionic Baby Mama { 06.14.11 at 6:36 pm }

writing begets writing. yes.

also, mel, dearheart, i think you mean “foal.” colts are boys 😉

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