Is Prompting Necessary?

I’m reading the news about Automattic acquiring Plinky, and it has me wondering if it’s something that I would need.  From the blog:

Each weekday, Plinky provides a prompt — like a question or a challenge — and you type in an answer. To keep it interesting, prompts are a mixed bag of fun commands (“Write a haiku about the last meal you ate”) to more thoughtful questions (“What is your favorite summer memory?”)

It’s an interesting concept, helping people in conquering writer’s block by getting them to write about something, ANYTHING, every weekday.  Seeing as how I’m trying to get back into a more consistent blogging rhythm myself, on the surface, Plinky sounds like something I’d find useful.

PlinkyNever mind that there is a distinct gap in the Plinky prompts, from April 6th until today.  I assume that can be chalked up to Things Labs focusing on other things, like Brizzly, and letting Plinky go stale until Automattic came into the picture.

My issue with Plinky is not the concept, but the prompts themselves.  I would need something a little meatier to write about, especially if I was stuck for content.  I really can’t see myself writing anything more than a couple of lines on any of these topics.  I know that a service like Plinky is looking to appeal to a mass audience, and with over 11 million blogs on alone, that certainly qualifies as a mass audience.  There’ll be SOME pickup of these Plinky prompts, but not enough to make me think the prompts will become compelling to me.  I can’t imagine writing 500 words on “What’s a good place to get fresh produce?”, unless I gave you turn-by-turn navigation from my house to a farmer’s market several towns away.  And, really, who wants to read that?  I know I sure as hell don’t want to write it.

Similarly, Formspring prompts you for questions that I really don’t find particularly interesting — not that anyone bothers to ask me questions on Formspring, mind you.  Hint, hint.

Although, for today, it’s kind of fun to throw a bunch of them into one blog post…

Don't you just love Cape Cod? It's sooooooo relaxing.

What’s your favorite summer memory?

Driving over the Bourne Bridge with my father, for Cape Cod summers, with Dad waxing, “Don’t you just love Cape Cod? It’s sooooooooo relaxing.”

Share a time when the end of one thing meant the beginning of another.

Changing over to this blog.

You’re in charge today. You make the rules.

Chocolate pudding for everyone!

What landmark did you find disappointing when you saw it in person?

Plymouth Rock.  It’s just a rock.  No, really, it’s a frigging rock.

Could you live without a car for a year?

I’m pretty sure I’d survive. I require oxygen, food, and water. Everything else is bonus.

It’s the last day of middle school… will you sign my yearbook?

No, but I’ll write on your Facebook wall.

Which animal makes the best pet?

Turtles. I can outrun them if they escape. Usually.

You only get three crayons to make your picture. Which do you choose?

Red, Yellow, Blue.

Write a haiku about the last meal you ate.

Lunch today was yum,

I had a slice of pizza,

Just cheese, no toppings.


  1. I joined plinky thinking it could be interesting, particularly because when I do remember to write in my blog, it’s usually for some sort of business-related purpose. I really wanted to bring my blog back to where I started it- a personal account of my life.
    Plinky is, in some ways, pretty helpful. I mean, some of the prompts are great. The summer memories one reminded me of a specific year, and from there, I went and flipped through some photos of that summer on facebook, and that reminded me how much I really miss my sister, who is living in Germany, and got me to pick up the phone.

    Most of the prompts? I’ll probably skip them. After all, with me just starting, if I don’t like a prompt one day, I’ll probably just go back and do a different one. OR, a revolutionary idea… blog about my life the way I did BEFORE plinky 😉

    1. Whereas I’m looking to write less of a personal account of my life, trying to steer myself a bit more towards business-related posts.

      I do like the concept of feeding suggestions of writing topics. Maybe in the future there’ll be more choices of what one wants to receive prompts about? Then I’d be much more on board!

  2. During Holidailies, I relied on the prompts for more than a weeks’ worth of posts. It helped when I was running dry of things to talk about on the blog, and the challenge over there is to blog once a day for 31 days straight. It’s kind of like NaNoWriMo for blogging, except instead of word count, it’s just consistency.

    Prompts rule. 🙂

    1. I think I’m done with challenges like that, where I feel obligated to do something because of a self-imposed streak. That’s where my Project Gummi Bear downfall came in, when it started to feel like WORK instead of being dorky and creative and having some fun with it.

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