Category Archives: Writing Prompt

Grateful and Guilty – Barnes & Noble: The Scene Before Me

Grateful and Guilty – Writing Prompt

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Note: The prompt asks the writer to discuss a guilty pleasure. If you haven’t guessed, my guilty pleasure is spending my free time in Barnes and Noble, preferably in the seated cafe area, and soaking up the environment. There’s so much more to learn beyond the books that line these aisles. Following this statement is my description of the scene before me on today’s trip to Barnes and Noble. I hope you enjoy it.

As I sat on the floor of my local Barnes and Noble accompanied by my purse and laptop, the building swamped with locals taking shelter from the rain, I took a good luck around at the faces present among me at the filled seats. Students, potentially from my university, families with small children giggling at the sight of a new picture book, middle-agers catching up on the latests magazine publications, hot coffee warming the palms of their hands. There’s a lot you can learn about the people you see around you just from observing their choices. What do I mean by that, you ask? What they’re eating, what they’re dressed in, how they present themselves among the crowd. Do they smile back when they catch your gaze? Are their faces buried into a novel, concealed? There are so many factors that come into play when you’re evaluating strangers. I often do this before I sit down, if there are choices to be made between seats. I like to scan the area and make mental notes. Who could I see myself talking to? Who seems to have the same interests? Are they reading that psychology book for study, or for pleasure? Do they look intrigued, bored, indifferent? Are they accompanied, did they bring their work from home?

This time, however, there are no seats. I begin fiddling with my fingernails, picking off the remnants of my icy blue nail polish. I can feel my leg falling asleep, and shake it out from under my other leg, stimulating the blood flow to my dead limb. I look up to see a woman packing her work in a rushed manner, the individual on the other side of her phone line consuming her thoughts. Purse and laptop in both hands, I wait for my approach. As I wait, I catch a glimpse into the conversation of the woman sitting behind her joking with the cafe cashier about prioritizing the production of the pumpkin spice latte. I feel like gagging at the mere thought of pumpkin. She evacuates, and I claim the table before anyone has the chance to grab it first, a little table in the center of the room. The room has grown silent, aside from the scattered orders at the cafe every couple of minutes. An increasingly apparent chatter has grown with the expansion of the cafe line, attracting the attention of the readers. They seem agitated by the sudden introduction of noise. And that is simply what it is at this point: noise. Words exchanged between the ten individuals are essentially indecipherable. Even with such a diverse audience, such a broad spectrum of types of people, Barnes and Noble still captures the essence of calmness, focus, productivity. It’s an environment that sparks and nurtures my creativity.

What would you say is your guilty pleasure?

Comment below.

The Common Question on Blogging: Profession or Pastime?

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Do you consider yourself a “professional” blogger? Why or why not? What does that mean to you?

Many define the act of being a professional as “one who receives payment for the work they produce”, but the definition, according to Google, our lovely and highly-reliable search engine, defines “blogging” as “having or showing the skill appropriate to a professional person; competent or skillful”. I don’t believe that you have to receive your primary source of income from something in order to be leaning more toward profession. Am I skillful? I would like to think so. I’ve been told I’m skillful, and I do consider myself a jack of many trades. I would also go as far as to say that I invest a tremendous chunk of my time and energy toward this particular journey in my life, so I personally do consider my writing and blogging as somewhat of a profession. I feel that, in an idealistic world, there’d be about 10 extra hours each day for me to put forth toward this long-term project and that I would bring in at least some pocket change when I’ve fully established myself, but I know and accept the fact that building that kind of literary empire and being able to create a community among my readers is easier said than done and will take plenty more years to establish. I am in no rush to develop my skills and expand my audience to a more diverse range, nor am I discouraged by the bumps I’ve run into along the way. Writing takes time and patience, just like many of the things we’ve learned to do. Learning a language takes time, riding a bike takes practice. Many of the abilities we possess today were not “second nature” from the start, and I believe that blogging is no different. It takes passion, determination, and the ability to accept failure. Yes, there will be failure at times. In the beginning of this journey, I couldn’t help feeling discouraged by the lack of an audience. I felt like I was writing in an empty room. No feedback. It was me, myself, and I. But I’ve become more skillful at exhibiting my work, about my marketing my abilities, and about growing what I believe to be a little sub-community within the blogging community. I probably spend about 5-6 hours a day working toward improving my writing and my blog, whether through editing, marketing, sharing, or interacting. Even though I consider myself a professional when it comes to my work, I consider this also to be a major pastime. I believe that my love for creating and exploring has brought me to writing and that desire has kept me going strong from the founding of my blog to its current state. I don’t see this as a struggle or a chore. It’s an effective exploration of myself, and regardless of whether I define it as a profession or a pastime, it’s a major chunk of who I am today and the milestones I hope to reach in my future.

How do you define yourself as a blogger?

Leave a comment below!

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HRChallenge: “Awakening by Sirens”

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The sound of sirens echoes through the empty corridors of my abode, booming threateningly in my ear drums. “Are you awake? Do you hear the sirens wailing? Get up, my fair commoner. Your day has begun,” the winds hiss faintlyMy work apparel is strewn across the floor on my bed side, and I begin to creep to the edge of my bunk with the hopes of not causing a stir, positive that I am the only worker not yet active at her station. One of my greatest felonies yet so far. The guards could hear even the slightest movement, the faintest sound. They are waiting for the next victim they can “justly” torture. Bloodthirsty. Every pin drop, every inhale taken hungrily from the outside world. Only our supreme Master allows their animalistic behaviors to arise, believing that only those who disturb the well-oiled machine deserve the greatest of punishments. However, anything that cuts the silence that fills this everyday existence is eligible for what is believed to be eternal pain and suffering. No one can verify this, of course, because those who experience such things are obliterated. The world is their highly-regulated, obedient oyster, that has had it’s only pearl reaped for the sake of what they believe to be “the greater good”. “Greater good”. Ha. How I long for the days when I could exercise my rights as a human, to express what lies boiling underneath the surface. How I long for the days when I was real, when I wasn’t just a plastic “product” of their flawless mold, nothing but submissive blood and bones.

Calling All (Not so) Regulars and New Explorers!

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Do you have a prompt that you’d like me to respond to?
Leave a comment below with the prompt and I’ll create a new post answering it for you!
It can seriously be anything. Be creative. 😉

Mandy

Daily Writing Prompt: “Her coffee cup slipped right out of her hand and smashed into a thousand pieces on the kitchen floor…”

Her coffee cup slipped right out of her hand and smashed into a thousand pieces on the kitchen floor, her bare feet covered in droplets of her own blood, scalding coffee, and the aftermath of scattered shards. She bit into her lip to suppress the reaction building up within her mouth, closing her eyes tightly. It’s alright. You’re okay. Grabbing hold of the counter, she stretched her leg across the glass debris, bringing herself to safety within the near hallway. A sigh escaped as she glared down at the mess. So much for getting a head start. She glanced at the clock. It exhibited “1:24 AM” in bold, flashing characters. Her day had felt an awful lot like this: making messes, mending messes, repeat. She was on the verge of tears, sweeping the remains of her business trip souvenir and reviewing her mental list of all the work she had to accomplish before the beginning of the next morning, the ungodly hours of the early-riser shift. I have about 4.5 hours…I can do this. If I plan my time accordingly, I can have my pitch in the works and get some studying done for my exam on….is it…Monday, I believe? Is the exam on Monday, or Tuesday? She attempted to scramble to the calendar mounted upon her wall, luckily escaping potential impalement. A pain grew in the pit of her stomach, and she could feel the rise of a headache in her temples. Tomorrow? How…How can that be? I….thought it was next week? She confirmed the dreadful conclusion. Tomorrow. Closing her eyes, she envisioned the next day, taking into account all that it could potentially hold. Slowly, she released her breath, counting to ten. You can do this. It doesn’t matter what this job, what your classes throw at you. You’re strong, you’re going to be prepared, you’re focused. With that, she had whirred out to her living room, settled with her laptop upon her desk, and challenged the night looming dauntingly ahead. 

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Daily Writing Prompt: Sometimes we need others to help us find our glory, our very best qualities. Who are those people that have or will help you find what is best about you?

Other than my parents, who have always been a significant guiding force in my successes and urged me to see the best qualities within myself, I would have to say that there is one person that has given me a lot of strength. I have never been the type to feel comfortable doing the whole interview spiel, saying that I’m the greatest character in all mankind, because I know that I have flaws just like everyone else. He, however, always brought to surface the best qualities I possessed. He gave me the majority of the confidence I have today, in all aspects of my life. Part of his influence has given me the determination to pursue my artistic talents fearlessly. Through many of my younger years, I was under the assumption that the creations I had made and the creative pursuits I had set my eyes upon were far too competitive and out of my reach. He did all that he could to diffuse that thought. To this day, the influences he left upon me stuck. My personality is significantly less timid, less insecure, and less pessimistic because of his existence in my life at the time. I’m eternally grateful.