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Blogging 101: Make a Prompt Personal

Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a Daily Prompt.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

Remember, comments are closed on Blogging U. assignments. If you have a question, or want to share or chat, head to The Commons.

Let’s get back to publishing, shall we?

Writing prompts can be a blogger’s best friend: when inspiration is low and fresh ideas few, responding to someone else’s question can do get you out of a slump. There’s no need to treat them as requirement, though; prompts work best when you personalize them to fit your interests and perspective.

Today’s assignment: publish a post based on your own, personalized take on a Daily Prompt.

Why do this?

  • Learning to interpret prompts is an invaluable skill for when writers’ block hits.
  • The best way to become a better blogger is to blog — and prompts force you to do that.

Prompts are not homework, and they’re not mandatory. They’re also flexible: prompts are here to help you, and the best way to make the most out of them is to personalize them. To find the prompt, head to front page of The Daily Post — you’ll find the prompt in an orange box on the middle-right side of the screen.

Maybe you’ll know what you want to publish as soon as you read the prompt — great! If not, don’t abandon it. Just like you customize your theme to match your tastes and preferences, you can tweak prompts to fit your interests and blog.

Take this (terrible) prompt:

Two plus two equals four: yes or no?

Sure, you could just answer the question. You also could write about why you love math, rant about the technology behind solar calculators, post a few photos of pairs of things, or tell a story about how you met your best friend in 9th-grade algebra. None of those posts answer the question; all of those posts respond to the prompt.

Don’t forget to add a pingback to your post to be listed with all the other responses to the prompt — click the “Respond in a new post” button on the prompt post to open a new draft on your blog with the pingback link already inserted. And of course, be sure to use the blogging101 tag.

Today, practice turning a writing prompt into a post that fits seamlessly into your blog. Read today’s prompt, and interpret it. Focus on a particular word. Take a broad-brush view. Use it metaphorically. Find an alternate interpretation. We don’t want you to write about something that doesn’t fit on your blog. We do want you to think come up with your own take on the prompt, one that fits right in with everything you normally blog about.

You can also take a look at more than one prompt — just above the prompt, you’ll see “Try Another.” Click that to load a new prompt.

If the prompt still isn’t moving you, write about whatever thought popped into your mind when you first read it. Write about why you think the prompt is silly. Or check out the comments: some bloggers might’ve already posted their responses, and you can post a reaction to one that strikes a chord. For more, check out our tips on making prompts your own.

(When you decide on a prompt to use, click on it and copy the direct link to the prompt and/or bookmark it — the link will come in handy on Wednesday.)

We’ll be building on this assignment later in the week, so no skipping! Head to The Commons for feedback and support.

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