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@jack No, I generally see a prompt as something for when you’re already sitting down with your guitar or pen or camera or paint, and you’re asking yourself, “What will I work on today?” A prompt may be: running major scales in DADGAD tuning, or using only shades of yellow, or avoiding all words with the letter E, or limiting yourself to a 50mm lens set at ƒ/2.8. Or, of course, “staircase.”

Prompts are just suggestions to challenge ourselves, and to keep us working even when we’re not feeling “inspired” to work. Inspiration, in my experience, may get our ass in the chair, but it won’t carry us very far after that, especially if we’re expecting it to do all the work.

If you go months or years without picking up your guitar, then maybe you’re just a guy with a guitar in his apartment. And that’s okay! But if you want to be a guitar player, you gotta sit down with it even when you don’t feel like it. Same with writing: you have to do it as often and regularly as you can. Having a writing prompt gives you a place to start.

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