Last Friday, Marian Lanouette talked about a great writing prompt group on Facebook called “Scribblers Ink.” I thought it would be a great follow-up to have the founder, Robert Lerman, here today to tell us how Scribblers came about. Please help me give her a warm welcome.
Thanks for having me at Nights, Gerri!
When did you first get the idea to start Scribblers Ink?
A couple of years ago, a friend who was part of my weekly writing prompt group was moving out of state and suggested I could maybe somehow post the prompts on line so she could still participate and stay in touch with the group. I thought it was an interesting idea that would also work for the members who couldn’t make a weekly session, but wanted the prompts.
From there, Scribbler’s morphed into this amazing, supportive community of writers of all levels, from all walks of lives and cultures coming together in a positive writing environment. I think the group has grown mostly through word of mouth and the face that Scribbler’s focus’s on the actual act of daily writing, writers sharing ideas, offering encouragement and not just a place where people self-promote.
How do you come up with the daily prompts?
My prompts come from a variety of sources. Most I create myself. I typically set aside a couple of hours at the end of each month where I find a quiet spot, disconnect the phone, make sure there is chocolate within easy reach (a bowl of good chocolate never fails to help the creative juices flow) and make up the prompts for the following month or two. Sometimes I invite a friend or friends to brainstorm new prompts with me. (This requires more chocolate and often a bottle of wine…or two) Once in while a fellow Scribbler will email me a prompt and I’ll post it, giving the author credit of course.
Do you ever get writers block, and if so do you write from the prompts?
Yes, I’ve suffered through bouts of this dreaded demon and have survived. I wish I could say I was a person who sits down and words immediately flow from brain to fingertips to page. I’m not. For me periods where I struggle to put words on the page is simply part of the writing process. Getting through those times is part of what makes me a better writer
What’s my cure for writer’s block you ask? It’s simple. I keep an abundance of good chocolate close at hand. I walk. I read stories by authors whose work I admire. I write to prompts even if I believe no words will form. I write to prompts allowing whatever ideas and words form in my brain loose without censor until words and ideas for my story comes flooding back to me.
Why does this formula work you ask? Also simple! Chocolate is good for the mind and spirit. Reading good writing inspires, motivates and goes a long way in making a better writer. Writing prompts not only help break through those nasty blocks, but writing to prompts strengthens writing style and story voice. Prompt writing is practice and with practice perfection is not required or necessarily wanted. Inner critics are banned. I treat my inner critic like a vampire. As we all know, vampires need to be invited in to gain entry and I never extend the invite. By the way always feel free to add more chocolate to this cure at any stage.
After you post a prompt do you go back and read any of the posting?
Always! After I put up the days prompt each morning, I read any prompt writings posted even if I don’t have time to comment. They never fail to inspire me to get to my own writing.
I know you run writing contests. Tell the readers a little bit about that?
Scribbler’s contests are bi-monthly. (I’m taking a break this summer due to the imminent arrival of my first grand daughter) The contests focus on various aspects of the writing craft. One month it may be about the most intriguing opening hook, the next month it could be about ending a scene with a cliffhanger most likely to keep the reader wanting to turn the page. What level a writer you are doesn’t matter. Did I mention there are prizes?
Being an author yourself and working full time as well, how do you find the time to keep up with the group and your writing? What’s your typical day like?
That’s a toughie! I keep hoping I win the lottery and then I can quit my day job, but I’ve been told my chances of getting struck by lightening twice in a row is better than my chances of wining the lottery. Ah well! Keeping up with Scribblers is an act of love for me. I plan as much as much as I can ahead of time like creating the daily prompt, lining up author interviews or guest bloggers which makes running the group less work and more fun.
As far as writing time, I’m a morning person. I get up at around 5-5:30 in the morning. I write my morning pages (check out Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way) while the water for my first cup of tea heats up. Then I go for a walk, post the daily prompt on Scribbler’s, comment on various postings, write to the days prompt to warm up for whatever writing project I’m working on and then by eight, I’m getting ready for work to be out the door by 8:45. (my office is literally five minutes from my house) There are days I can only manage to carve out fifteen minutes of writing time and there are others I can find an hour, maybe two. There are also those days I intend to write but life gets in the way. I try and not beat myself up over it.
Tell us a little bit about what you like to write
I write historical romance, travel essay, and personal essay (memoir) My current travel essay is called Coffee in St. Andrews, and can be found at; http://www.viewfromthepier.com/2014/04/01/coffee-in-st-andrews/
I’m currently working on a revision for my medieval historical set in 1309 Scotland and a first draft of an erotic romance.
How can we find Scribblers on Facebook?
If you’d like to check us Scribbler’s out, you can find us at:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/scribblersink2013/ or check out the Scribbler companion blog at: http://scribblersinkblog.wordpress.com