How to Respond to a Creative Prompt

There are no rules for how to respond to a creative prompt. The prompt is just the spark – if your creativity is ignited, then it’s done its job.  Where you go with it really doesn’t matter.

Write, draw, paint, sing, dance, sculpt, etc.

You might choose to write, churning out some flash fiction, a short poem, or the start of a personal essay. You might go visual, with a realistic sketch, abstract drawing, or even a quick painting. You might record a song, choreograph a dance, or develop a comedy bit. You might combine more than one medium, or create a new one altogether.

Folks, you can do whatever the hell you want.

Follow your imagination, rather than the prompt

Each prompt may feel like it lends itself to a specific type of response, but it’s actually entirely open to your interpretation – you can follow it as closely or as loosely as you want.  Here’s an example (which can be extrapolated to creative mediums beyond writing):

Prompt: One day the sun just didn’t come up.

On its face, this sounds like the start to a sci-fi story.  The most ‘obvious’ way to respond would be through a piece of flash fiction.  

Alternatively, you might interpret this prompt symbolically, writing about a morning when depression prevented you from getting out of bed.

Or, the line may have triggered an unconscious connection to an entirely unrelated topic.  Somehow you find yourself writing about your childhood friend’s stepfather’s giant drooling mastiff.  That’s completely fine as well — you will not be disciplined for veering far from the prompt. That’s the PFTV Promise.

The creativity is the point, not the output

In short, I’m not concerned with how you respond to each prompt, just that you do, and that you allow yourself total creative freedom while doing so.

The goal of PFTV is to get you creating, regularly, to help you build a creative habit — which, like all habits, can only be built through consistency. Think of it like working out the ‘creative muscle.’

There’s much more to be said about all that may spring from your creative practice, but that’s a discussion for another day. For now, your focus should just be on putting in the work, one prompt at a time.

For help getting started, check out these Tips for Lowering the Stakes.