New! Writing prompts

Image by adriankirby from Pixabay

I’m slap bang in the middle of planning work for next year, both for the blog and for my workload. But I wanted to test-run a new feature on the blog.

One of my most popular blog topics has always been the one about ideas, so I’m going to introduce it again. But for 2021 it’s going to be slightly different.

If I’m busy doing other stuff, if I don’t have another kind of blog post planned or scheduled, and even as part of other blog posts if a suitable anniversary or date comes up, I’m going to post a writing prompt.

I’ll take *today’s date* (i.e. the date of the blog) and choose either an evergreen or a date-specific prompt. Or, if there are enough to choose from, I’ll include both or more than one.

An evergreen is a topic that comes up every year. Some evergreens are the same date each year, others slightly fluctuate but are around the same time and always happen every year.

This means that if you fancy one of the ideas, you have plenty of time to research, query, source pictures or interviewees, and write it in time for when magazines (for example) go to press for the same time next year.

Remember, monthly magazines have roughly a 3-month lead time but many of the glossies may be longer. Weekly magazines and newspapers will have much shorter lead times. And websites, webzines and blogs may have even less.

Articles, letters and poems are quicker to write than fiction for many, but longer fiction takes longer to think about and polish, etc. Plus, if it’s a serial or a pocket novel, you still have to send a query in advance.

The downside of an evergreen is that even after an editor has accepted a piece, if s/he runs out of room, then it’s the evergreen that’s more likely to be shelved until next year.

This is why I prefer date-specific topics, and that’s why I’ll be adding those in too, for the same reason. But the date-specifics will be for the following year. I’ll use current year date-specifics for blog topics.

So, here is the first evergreen writing prompt of the blog:

Grouse-shooting in England, Wales and Scotland ends on 10 December each year. (It starts in August if you want to have a go at writing something for then – and there’s still time.)

What could you write about this? Here are 20 ideas off the top of my head:

  • a spotlight on grouse for a bird-watching market*
  • a spotlight on Extinction Rebellion and/or other anti-blood sports organisations
  • an article on blood sports in general
  • alternatives to blood sports or grouse-shooting 
  • the habitat in which grouse live for a science or travel market
  • a travel feature on an area known for grouse-shooting
  • an article on how to take part in grouse-shooting
  • where to go grouse-shooting in 2021
  • the etiquette of grouse-shooting
  • the history of grouse-shooting
  • a spotlight on the grouse-shooting industry
  • hunting equipment for grouse-shooting for a gun or hunting market
  • an anti-hunting protest letter to any market that carries readers’ letters
  • a pro-hunting letter to any market that carries readers’ letters
  • something on burning moorland for an environmental market
  • something on the possible bans on burning moorland/peatland for a hunting market
  • shooting grouse with a camera for a photography market
  • a walk that takes in seeing grouse for a walking market
  • a poem about grouse or the shooting season
  • a short story, serial or novel set against the grouse-shooting industry (pro or anti)

*I say “market”, but this could mean publication, magazine, newspaper, website, webzine, blog, radio feature, TV feature, etc.

Disclaimer: In no way do I personally condone hunting of any kind, and fail to see how anyone would want to destroy such a beautiful creature in the name of sport. But that’s just my opinion.

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