Using Prompts to Jump-Start Your Writing With Daily Prompt Co-Creator Ryan Lindsey

Almost all writers need to jump-start their writing occasionally and using prompts on a daily basis can really help with that.  

Personally, I think that daily writing prompts are so useful I wrote a book full of them. 

If you’d like to try using prompts, and like the idea of them popping up on your phone, there is a fantastic prompt app available called Daily Prompt, and I recently had the chance to catch up with its co-creator Ryan Lindsey. 

I wanted to understand how he came up with idea for creating such an app in the first place and how writers are using prompts to drive their writing habits. 

In this interview, we discuss:

  • The idea behind The Daily Prompt
  • How they come up with ideas for prompts
  • The community of writers that’s developed within the app
  • Gamification within the app to encourage daily writing
  • The introduction of competitions in the app
  • Keeping all the writing that’s done in the app safe and secure

Resources:

The Daily Prompt
Deviant Art
Day One
The.Fitness.Hippie

Ryan: The biggest thing that we've seen is when people... You hear a lot of this on social media now, and there's like these algorithms that they're already good at knowing what you like. So they only give you the things that you want to hear because you're engaged with that. And I think the biggest downside of that is quite obvious is that you get trapped in a bubble of all the things that you like, and you never expand out of your comfort zone.

Ryan: Welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast with Bryan Collins. Here you'll find practical advice and interviews for all kinds of writers.

Bryan : Do you need to jump start your writing? If so, I recommend using a daily writing prompt. Hi there. My name is Bryan Collins, and welcome to the Become a Writer Today podcast. And writing prompts are actually one of my favorite things to use. Basically I use writing prompts for journal entries, for book chapters. I used to use them when I was writing fiction, and I still use them for a book that I'm working on at the moment about parenting.

Bryan : I have a collection of hundreds of prompts on my computer and I've even written a book of writing prompts. And I also use apps to kickstart my writing. Basically what I do is I use a prompt, and then I'll write for 10 or 15 minutes about whatever the prompt says, and then I'll move off into whatever I'm working on. It's kind of like a warmup exercise when you're at the gym. Sometimes the prompts can be a question. Sometimes it can be a photograph. Sometimes it can be a statement or it could even be a line of fiction or a line that you really enjoyed from a book.

Bryan : Now that said there is a fantastic app that I've come across recently, which is called Daily Prompt, and it's on the app store. And I recently had the chance to catch up with the co-creator of the Daily Prompt app. His name is Ryan Lindsey, and I wanted to understand how he came up with creating such an app in the first place and how writers are using this.

Bryan : Well, before we get into this week's interview, I do have an ask. If you're enjoying the Become a Writer Today show, please, could you leave a short review wherever you're listening to the podcast, because more reviews and more ratings will help more people find the show. And in the resources, I'll also put some additional information about where you could find writing prompts to jumpstart your writing.

Bryan : Now, with that said, let's dive into this week's interview.

Bryan : Ryan, it's very nice to talk to you today. I was excited to come across your app, which is close to my heart. It's called Daily Prompt, and it's on the app store. And the reason why it's close to my heart is I've actually written a book of writing prompts. And I use writing prompts almost every day because I find they're a great way to jumpstart my writing. So I was really interested to see how somebody could turn writing prompts into an app that people could use. So welcome to the show. Would you be able to introduce yourself and maybe tell the story of how you created such an interesting app?

Ryan: Sure. Yeah. Thanks for the intro. And yeah, I never realized how useful writing prompts were until actually going into this whole world, I guess. So, my name's Ryan, so the co-founder of Daily Prompt, and I've been working on it for about a year and a half with a friend of mine. So he is more the writer or the creative behind it, and I'm more the developer just trying to build this out.

Ryan: It came around... So interesting story, is Danny was writing a book that had I think around 60,000 words or so. He'd kind of got a bit burnt out of it and wanted to take a bit of a break for revisiting it. But as he commutes to work every day for about an hour, he just wanted something to fill his time so he could keep practicing his writing skills and writing prompts was essentially what he wanted. So he just wanted a little prompt every day to give him a hint. And then he could just write for that remainder of that train journey. After looking around, there was nothing really useful that he could find. He's looking for books. There's lots of like online articles, but he just wanted something easy to write on his phone. And so that was kind of like how the idea got started.

Ryan: And my background is more in product. And so I was like, this would be a great app to build. It sounds really fun. I like the idea for it. And then after looking online, I didn't realize how many people use writing prompts. And I know there's a subreddit out there that was very popular. So yeah, that was kind of how it got started. We put it in the app store. It was like let's see if anyone uses it, and it was very bad. It was a bright purple background. And it looked horrendous, but people still used it, and they quite enjoyed it.

Ryan: And it was quite interesting to see that although you give people one prompt. And so how it works is every single day, we give every user the same prompt, and everyone then writes for that. And then you can see what other people are writing. You look at something, maybe it's an image prompt, and you see romance, but someone else is seeing horror or thriller. And then you can see all the different creative directions people are pulling in. And it's just a great way, I think, to help expand your creativity and just get ideas flowing.

Bryan : So I downloaded the app a few days ago, and I'm actually looking at today's prompt, which was for writing a poem. And it says, write a poem where fire is the central theme, whether this