Introducing Pen Your Ten, A Writing Prompt

I am very excited to announce the inception of a writing prompt and new adventure I am undertaking beginning April 1. It is titled Pen Your Ten and if you’d allow me, I’d like to tell you a bit of its back story and of its purpose.

In 2013 I was on a journey of publishing my first novel and in the throes of having my manuscript edited. To say I learned a lot about my writing within that first edit is an understatement. I discovered quickly by way of what I called the handwriting of the devil (those red love notes on the sidebar my editor would leave me) that I had a love affair with many words. That is, the usage of the same words repeatedly. Words that served absolutely no purpose to move my storyline along. Words that couldn’t even be described as darlings. They were page fillers. Dead zones. Useless.

It is around this time that I discovered the writing community on Twitter. More specifically, the writing and poetry prompts of Twitter. For those of you that might not be familiar with Twitter, each post or “tweet” you create is limited to 140 characters. A lightbulb clicked on. I could totally use this to strengthen my writing. What a great tool to eliminate useless words and get to the point in order to create an interesting story or inspiring piece of poetry.

I instantly fell in love with the idea and connected with several different prompting hosts. One of those prompters was a woman who I formed quite a friendship with and later would dedicate my second poetry book, Delicate Doses to. Her name was Janie and her writing prompt was entitled, HangTenStories, a daily prompt to inspire a story or poem in using only ten words.

On a personal level she reminded me of my grandmother not only in her physical appearance but also in her demeanor. On a writing level, I admired her kindness and support within the writing community and her dedication to hosting a prompt and providing so many with inspiration for years.

Sadly she contracted COVID and it acted quickly, ultimately taking her life. So many of us within the writing community were devastated from her sudden death. I unfortunately found myself with no desire to write. Inspiration had left me. I mourned for a month, unable to participate in any kind of writing nor the desire to do so for in participating with her prompt I learned just how much I loved the concept of simplicity in words. Less became more and I woke every morning to her prompt and nearly every day made it part of my routine. Its absence, her absence became this void I couldn’t fill.

Then slowly slowly I felt a little spark, enough to get me to start reading again. Then slowly slowly that spark became a flame and I found myself writing again. It wasn’t long after this that I began to consider creating my own ten- word prompt to carry on the legacy of what she left behind. With the support and encouragement from friends and fellow writers within the community, I made the decision to begin this new journey.

For now, I plan to only make it available on Twitter but I may carry it over to Instagram in the future. At its inception, I plan to share words twice weekly, on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s where writers can create as they become inspired. No expectations. Simply, a free space to create with the challenge of only using ten words.

I’m walking into the unknown with this and as a Mom that works full time outside of my home, time has always been a challenge for me even to write. However, I felt I needed to do this, for myself and in my small way, a way to honor my friend. I don’t know what the future holds with this, but for now, I’m excited to start this new journey as reading other writers affords me such inspiration and helps strengthen my own writing. If you’d like to participate you can click on the logo below and it will take you to the Pen Your Ten Twitter page where prompts will be penned at the top of the page for that day.

I hope to see you there!

Friends of Pen Your Ten

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