Plinky is Shutting Down — Export Your Responses

On September 1st, 2014, Plinky.com will go into archive mode: that means that users will no longer be able to log in to respond to Plinky prompts.

Export your responses

Be sure to export your responses before September 1st, 2014. After September 1st, 2014, you will no longer be able to log in to Plinky.com.

Here’s how to export your responses in either HTML or plain text formats.

Log in to Plinky.com.

Under your avatar, on the right-hand side of the screen, click on the link that says export your data:

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On the following screen, you can choose whether to download a file containing your responses, in plain text or HTML format. (You can download both formats, if you like.) When you click on either plain text or HTML, you will be prompted to save the export file to your computer.

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If you have any trouble, contact us in Support.

Join us at The Daily Post

Looking for writing tips and inspiration? Join us over at The Daily Post, where we share a writing prompt each day as well as writing and photo challenges to gently nudge your creative muse.

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The glimmers of beginnings: on keeping a notebook

Writers are the great close observers of everything that happens in our world. The quality of the light filtering through the window in winter; the glint of the moon on snow; the sound the wind makes in empty branches; the adhesive sound of tires on wet pavement. All these observations are small images that can become pieces of a story.

Canadian author Lisa Moore calls these tiny observations “glimmers of a beginning.”

“The strongest fiction, for me as a reader, is that which allows me to create it in my head and, as a writer, I like to give the reader as much control as possible — I think that’s where the real pleasure lies.” Moore’s trust of the abstract is often where she finds the seeds of story ideas. “The glimmer of a beginning: the facial expression of someone in a café or the way light hits a landscape, it can be enough to get me started.”

These “glimmers of a beginning” surround us in our daily life, but how can we keep track of them? It’s time to get out your trusty digital or good old-fashioned notebook.

Keep an analog or digital notebook

These days, most people don’t go very far without a smartphone. If you’ve got a smartphone, we highly recommend Simperium’s Simplenote, an awesome little clutter-free app for Mac, iOS, Android, and Kindle designed to take notes wherever you are.

If you’ve been successful resisting the smartphone crowd up until this point, carry a small notebook and pen around with you.

Take time out of your day to try and observe your surroundings and make a point of documenting three “glimmers of a beginning,” from different points in your day. By making a habit of close observation, you’ll soon have a collection of story starters at your disposal that you can mine when inspiration has run off to Saskatchewan with your muse, allowing you to keep writer’s block at bay.

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The best-self editing tool you’ve already got

Stories and characters populate your mind — you’ve been writing and making up stories since you can remember. You’ve already got a daily writing practice in place to jumpstart your creativity and ease in to your writing projects each day. You’ve got a lot of material, but the question is, what can you do to make your writing better?

“I have rewritten — often several times — every word I have ever published. My pencils outlast their erasers.”
–Vladimir Nabokov, Speak, Memory, 1966

Speak your piece!

Writers know that words don’t often magically tumble out of their brain on to the page or the screen in Pulitzer Prize-winning order. Revision and re-writing are important to polishing what you write.

One tip that you can integrate into your editing workflow right away is to simply read your work aloud. Or, if you think you might not be able to trust your own ear, have a close friend read your work aloud to you. This tried and true strategy was a lifelong ritual for Canadian author Timothy Findley:

Eventually, Tiff would appear, his handwritten pages clutched in his hands, released only in exchange for his glass of wine. We then quickly settled down and I would do what I had been doing for decades: read aloud to the author from those pages…There was serious intent here, however: Tiff firmly believed that if my tongue tripped over any of his writing, then it was quite likely, as he would put it, that his reader’s brains might also trip over the words. This was a hedge against those stumbles.

Next time you’re ready to revise, take a few moments to read your work aloud. You’ll hear the passages that need smoothing loud and clear and your ear will give you some guidance on what needs to happen to fix your work.

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Share your Plinky prompt responses to your WordPress.com blog

Did you know that you can share your Plinky prompt responses to your WordPress.com blog? It’s a snap to set up and today, I’ll show you how.

First, log in to Plinky.com. Then, select You > Services:

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Next, click on the big, red Add Service button:

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From the dropdown list, select WordPress.com. Enter your username and password to allow Plinky to connect to your WordPress.com site, then click on the Add Service button:

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Once Plinky is authorized, you’ll see your blog’s name on your list of services:

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Let the sharing begin!

Now, respond to any Plinky prompt you like. When you’re finished writing your response, click on the red Answer button:

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On the following screen, you’ll be asked if you’d like to share to your blog. Click on the Share button:

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Now, you can head on over to your blog and see your Plinky prompt response on your WordPress.com site! Pretty nifty, eh?

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Use Plinky Prompts as a Writing Warm-up

Are you a poet, a novelist, a short-story writer, or even all three? Writing is like exercise for the mind. When you’re about to do a workout, be it running, weights, or any other physical activity, you need to stretch a bit, ease in, and prepare your body for the work to come. Writing is no different and Plinky is here to help.

Writing prompts are a great way to warm up to your writing project. Logging in to Plinky each day brings a new writing challenge with no real rules, and a safe place to write freely on the subject we present or to capture your stream of consciousness — to free your mind — so that your ideas and writing can flow.

The prompt you choose to respond to is up to you — scroll backward through the prompts and select one that catches your muse’s attention, and the rest is simple. Just write!

Here’s a few of our most recent prompts to get you started — just a sampler to turn on your imagination and get you writing:

  • Write about something that happened over the weekend as though it’s the top story on your local paper.
  • Defend your vice. How did you start? Why would you quit?
  • Plan the ultimate celebration for the person you’re closest to, and tell us about it. Where is it? Who’s there? What’s served? What happens?
  • What’s your dream tourist destination — either a place you’ve been and loved, or a place you’d love to visit? What about it speaks to you?
  • Tell us about your favorite way to get lost in a simple activity — running, chopping vegetables, folding laundry, whatever. What’s it like when you’re in “the zone”?

Like what you see? Sign up for a Plinky account and making writing prompts a part of your daily writing time.

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Plinky helps author overcome writer’s block

Meet Faith Cook. She recently completed a novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) that grew out of a Plinky Writing Prompt.

Tell us the story of how you became a writer.

I think I’ve always been a writer. I’ve loved making up stories ever since I was old enough to dictate them for my mom to write down! As a child, I didn’t write as much as I do now, but I was always making up stories to act out with my friends. It wasn’t really until middle school that I realized, “Hey, why don’t I start writing these ideas down?” I started out writing short stories and drabbles mostly, but then I wrote what I thought was my greatest work at the time. I’d called it The Silver Heart, and it was about a journey a girl took to find a magical necklace. I thought it was so great, but I’ve since hidden it away in a drawer in shame, too embarrassed to do anything with it. I like to think I’ve gotten better at writing since then, though.

How did you use Plinky in your writing?

Well, first off, I’ve always liked the prompts on Plinky. I stumbled upon the site over a year ago, in the midst of a horrible case of writer’s block. The prompts helped me start thinking creatively again, and I’ve gotten several ideas from the site over time, including the one for my current novel. I had decided to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year, but I didn’t have a single idea. I was freaking out, so I got on Plinky and started answering prompts at random. It was the one for October 29th, 2012 that got me thinking. The prompt said to google a word, and write about the 11th picture you found. I randomly googled the word “rain” and started looking at images. I wrote a bit about a girl running in the rain, and my idea was born.

Tell us a bit about the novel you’ve just completed.

I’ve only just finished the first draft, but it’s about a teenage girl that develops powers after her father’s murder. She has the ability to control rain, among other things, and her reflection can talk back. She tries to keep the gift a secret, but dark forces find out about it — and will stop at nothing to find her. There’s a shooting at her school, and her friends are kidnapped the same day, the only evidence an open window and a voicemail. She sets off to find them and finds out more about herself and her powers along the way. I wrote that during NaNoWriMo, and I’m starting the editing process. I have no clue what I want to do with it yet, if anything, but hopefully it will make more sense after a few rewrites :)

Get over your writer’s block and get writing. Sign up for Plinky.com today and get inspiration delivered daily.

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Make writing a daily habit

Sometimes the thought of starting a writing project can feel overwhelming: excuses can flood your creative brain: It’s too big a project — I’ll never get it done. I don’t have it in me! Soon enough, your mind drifts away to shinier things, such as what’s for supper, what’s on t.v. right now, or, I wonder what the score was in last night’s big game? By this time, you’ve wandered away from the computer, or your pen and paper, distracted from your writing project.

Regular Plinky.com users know that Plinky is an awesome source of daily creative writing prompts to help you develop your daily writing habit.

Cory Doctorow is a prolific Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the weblog Boing Boing. In an article on Locus Magazine entitled Writing in the Age of Distraction, Doctorow says slow, steady progress is the key to achieving your writing goals:

When I’m working on a story or novel, I set a modest daily goal — usually a page or two — and then I meet it every day, doing nothing else while I’m working on it. It’s not plausible or desirable to try to get the world to go away for hours at a time, but it’s entirely possible to make it all shut up for 20 minutes. Writing a page every day gets me more than a novel per year — do the math — and there’s always 20 minutes to be found in a day, no matter what else is going on. Twenty minutes is a short enough interval that it can be claimed from a sleep or meal-break (though this shouldn’t become a habit). The secret is to do it every day, weekends included, to keep the momentum going, and to allow your thoughts to wander to your next day’s page between sessions. Try to find one or two vivid sensory details to work into the next page, or a bon mot, so that you’ve already got some material when you sit down at the keyboard. — Cory Doctorow

Need a way to kick off your next writing project so that you can apply Cory’s advice to your yet-to-be-written best-selling novel? Sign up with Plinky.com and get inspiration delivered to your email inbox, every day.

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