Writing Prompts and Scheduling Posts

calendar cartoonIf you need to help overcome writer’s block, or just want to get motivated to write and publish more then writer’s prompts and scheduled posts maybe be the combination you need.  No matter where you live there are daily, monthly and holiday writing prompts available to inspire your blogging every day of the year. Different cultures have different celebrations, and one of the best ways to get around the problem of creating enough time to write posts during holidays, is to use writing prompts to create posts ahead of time and schedule them for future publication.

Seasonal holidays, special occasions each month can provide you with interesting subject matter for blog posts. For example, it’s October and Canadian Thanksgiving has come and gone but American Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber-Monday as well as Chanukah/Hanukkah and Christmas season are yet to come.

Here are some inspirational monthly writing prompts for the last 3 months of 2013.

October Writing Prompts
Breast Cancer Awareness Month (shameless blog promotion link to Thinking Pink? Think Twice. )
Canadian Thanksgiving
Computer Learning Month
Domestic Violence Awareness Month
Netiquette and Internet Safety
Crime Prevention Month
Halloween

November Writing Prompts
Aviation Month
Child Safety Month
American Thanksgiving
Remembrance Day – Poppy Day
Veteran’s Day
World Peace Day

December Writing Prompts
Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day
Perfume Month
Chanukah/Hanukkah
Christmas
Kwanzaa
Winter Solstice
World AIDS Day

Holiday and Special Occasion Writing Prompts

No matter which niche you write in and for, you have a year round supply of  writing prompts to inspire post ideas right where you live. Here are a dozen writing prompts I came up with that can be used no matter which holiday (special occasion) you are celebrating. I’m sure you readers can come up with many more.

  1. What is your earliest memory of preparing for and celebrating this holiday?
  2. Who will you spend your holiday with?
  3. What is your favorite food associated with this holiday?
  4. What is your favorite activity associated with this holiday?
  5. What’s the one unexpected thing that happened during this holiday in the past that you hope doesn’t happen again?
  6. What’s one thing that happened during this holiday that you hope does happen again this year?
  7. Write either a serious or a humorous account of  past holiday.  Or write an account that combines the two.
  8. Write a piece of prose or a poem about what this holiday means to you.
  9. Select a favorite seasonal photograph or create a collection of images that express what typifies this holiday for you.
  10. Select an audio recording or video or a collection that demonstrates what this holiday looks, sounds and feels like.
  11. Create a list post of things to do and/or not to do on this holiday.
  12. Write a fictional account of what will happen on this holiday.

Prompts

If you are looking for writing prompts beyond those appearing on your calendar here are dozen sources for inspiration.

  1. Do a WordPress.com Tags search for Writing Prompts.
  2. Subscribe to the Daily Prompt or the Weekly Challenges and put a seasonal, holiday or vacation spin on your creation.
  3. Use Plinky Prompts for daily writing prompts and add photos, maps, playlists, etc. to share on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Tumblr, and most major blogging services.
  4. Easy Street Prompts provides inspiring visual ideas for writing and the arts.
  5. Visit this site to read 180 prompts.
  6. Writing.Com presents “Writing Prompts”, the iPhone app, Android app and Kindle Fire app with an endless supply of creative inspiration.
  7. The Time Is Now offers a weekly writing prompt (a poetry prompt on Tuesdays, a fiction prompt on Wednesdays, and a creative nonfiction prompt on Thursdays) to help you stay committed to your writing practice throughout the year.
  8. The Creativity Portal has prompts and ideas for future blog posts.
  9. Try Writing Prompts that don’t Suck.
  10. Visit Writer’s Digest Creative Writing Prompts.
  11. Teacher’s Corner has Creative Daily Writing Prompts for every day of the year.
  12. If you want more ideas on hand all year round then buy a book like Bryan Cohen’s 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts for Holidays: Festive Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More.

Scheduling Posts

Scheduling posts not only frees up time for you to enjoy your holidays (special occasions), but it’s one of the best ways to get around the problem of the writer’s block that can entrap you when you’re feeling stressed out .

Take a look at your calendar, note the upcoming holidays (special occasions). Then get busy writing yourself out of  either the no time to blog corner or the writer’s block maze and schedule some posts for future publication.

WordPress.com scheduling posts tips:

The default timezone is UTC time. You can reset your timezone here > Settings > General by selecting the closest city to you in the same timezone in the drop-down menu and then clicking  “save changes”.

Note that scheduled post publication is triggered the first visitor clicking into your blog after your post was scheduled to be published. It’s only then that the post appears in the RSS Feed for entries and the email notifications are sent out to subscribers. Though the  Dashboard notation will still state that it was posted on the time and date that you specified, it will not actually go up on the blog and out on the RSS Feed until someone visits your site and triggers publication.

35 thoughts on “Writing Prompts and Scheduling Posts

  1. Very resourceful. I’d expect nothing less here.

    1. In your About, my brain tripped over this line. A bit confused. Did you want the “it”?
    “I accepted the invitation and immediately took to WordPress.com blogging it like a duck takes to water.

    I am nOt nitpicking. Am happy to be helpful, if you didn’t. I would rather you deleted this part of the comment.

    2. You have the translator link on that page. Remember I am a doof when it comes to anything technical on WP. If it isn’t too much trouble, can you tell me how I can put that up?

    3. After linking to you months ago, I learned you probably didn’t get the pingback bc it was your homepage I had referenced:

    http://holisticwayfarer.com/2014/01/13/how-to-succeed-as-a-blogger-lighting-dynamite-part-2/

    A string of readers from my group followed you, including Susan Lattwein and thispaiseylife.

    =)

    HW

    1. Thanks so much for pointing out that errant word in that sentence on my About page. I have removed it.

      To create a Translation page you simply have to copy and past from mine and replace every occurrence of my blog’s URL with your own blog’s URL. The easiest way to do that is to use a word processor to find and replace them. Then copy and paste into your page. See here for the code http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/multi-languages-of-the-same-theme?replies=8#post-551125

      You are right about the pingback. It completely escaped my notice and it was so lovely to read what you shared about my blog in it. Thank you so much for the recommendation and do know that I appreciate the new followers you sent to my blog.

      Best wishes for many years of happy blogging.

  2. Seriously, I had no idea that lst reader triggers the pre-scheduled blog post for publishing and into RSS, email notices to subscribers.

    So I guess it helps that one has a handful of subscribers.. or???

    As for writing prompts, I feel like an alien on a planet. I’ve never thought of wanting/needing a writing prompt. If an idea doesn’t pop up for several wks., I’m fine with that. As for topics…sometimes I like taking 1 topic and do a bicultural or multicultural spin on where it’s contrasting 2 cultures or fusion of 2 cultures in food, life paths, art, etc. ‘Cause that’s the type of life some of us experience.

    Currently I’m trying to figure out my Christmas post…it’s become a tradition for me…which means trying to dream up of an interesting theme/approach each year. Got a lot of Christmases ahead of me.. ;) ….. For 2014, I already plan to start with a sparkle and bang of a blog post. (Sorry no fireworks here.)

    1. I carry small notebooks everywhere I go that I scribble ideas into. I also doodle in them and write bad haiku that I copy later into my private journal blog. :)

    1. Your photographs are fabulous, David. Why not combine 8. and 9.?
      8. Write a piece of prose or a poem about what this holiday means to you.
      9. Select a favorite seasonal photograph or create a collection of images that express what typifies this holiday for you.

  3. hi there! i do sometimes schedule my posts, if im away or busy.note that before publish you can decide on which date you want the post to be published, and it normally works

    1. I didn’t change themes so I think you mean my new headers and the background change. I am visual and bore very easily. The last background and header I used were there for the longest time I have every used the same background and header. that was because I lacked the time to change them. My normal is to change them frequently. Thanks for the compliment.

  4. I don’t schedule a time to launch a post, but I do write a draft ahead of time so that I can hit ‘publish’ at a later, less hectic time. Thanks for the excellent links for story prompts. (Also thanks for the info on the translation page. This does fascinate me but I’m chicken to try because anything that’s more than one step throws me off track.) :-)

    1. Hi Judy,
      I do the same. I create drafts but I don’t schedule them. Then I pick and choose which ones to flesh out an publish.

      Creating a Translation page isn’t really that hard. You can make it private and if you have trouble no one will be able to see that until your have it in tip top shape.

  5. Well, that’s very discouraging. My pre-scheduled posts don’t actually appear until someone visits my blog? What if no one visits that day? I realize if no one visits, it doesn’t matter if the post is visible or not. But what about the people who might visit if they were notified that a new post had appeared? If I’m understanding this correctly, I’d say WP needs to fix this. A scheduled post should appear at the date and time specified. Period.

    1. This has always been how the feature has operated. Fortunately cyberspace is a global environment and the first visitor triggering scheduled post or page publication isn’t a critical issue for most bloggers.

      1. I’m just disappointed. I don’t know how I could have been on WP for so many years without somewhere reading about how this feature actually works.

  6. This is pack full with great sites to visit – I bookmarked just about the entire prompt list! Thanks again. I’m not quite ready to tackle the scheduled post thing but know where to come for help. ☺

  7. No more ideas. no more ideas – they are fighting for positions on stage already. No really – that’s a great list of suggestions – everyone hit dry spells – or your thoughts just aren’t gelling quite right and maybe if you step back from it a bit and focus on something else.

    The scheduling thing I do need to learn more about. I’ve seen some people prepare posts and have them automatically go out at a specified time?

    Always good hints here – thanks

    1. Hi there,
      You’re welcome but do be sure to read that last section titled WordPress.com scheduling posts tips in my post because most bloggers are not clear on how scheduling posts actually operates.

  8. Thanks for that last paragraph. That little bit threw me. So, if I understand correctly, the email notices don’t go out until someone visits either? Or… presumably that’s what’s more likely to trigger the first visit?

    1. Hi Gunta,
      Thanks so much for asking your question. It prompted me to update the last paragraph to provide greater clarity. No posts can be sent to subscribers until they are published and appear in the RSS feed for entries.

      Also note this 3 week old sticky post re: notification failures at the head of the support forums titled Weekly and Daily Digest Email Subscriptions.

  9. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month… Just thought I’d pop that out there! It’s nice of you to give others some ideas for posting if they are having a tough time coming up with topics. I, however, “talk” too much! :)

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