Jumpstarting Your Writing — Terri Gillespie

Today I’m happy to welcome author Terri Gillespie to the blog as she shares some tips for fellow writers.

We all need a jumpstart to our writing from time to time, don’t we?

Whether we’re:

  • Writing our first book
  • In between projects
  • Or need a boost with our current project.

Like a vehicle with a dead battery, sometimes we need a little charge to get us going again.

Over the years I’ve learned that writing prompts reignite the creative spark. There are over 10,000 writing prompts books and journals out there. How do you choose?

My favorite: The Playful Way to Serious Writing, by Roberta Allen. My copy is worn and torn, and greatly loved and appreciated. Unfortunately, it is out of print. Fortunately, you can purchase copies used.

The Playful Way to Serious Writing has a unique approach. Yes, there are photos—some quite odd—but there are scribbles and words, and exercises. When I teach “Jumpstart” classes, I’ll combine prompts to aid in developing key characters or plots.

Each prompt may only take ten minutes. Which is beneficial to those self-editors who can’t get past writing the first paragraph—over and over again. It’s getting as many words and thoughts on a page as possible in a few minutes, never mind spelling or grammar.

A popular type is the journal prompts. Most have a statement or question prompt, then room to write.

As a visual processor, these aren’t as effective for me. However, it’s nice to have your writing all in one spot. I can’t tell you how many scraps of “brilliant” writing I’ve lost.

When the imagination is sparked, new seeds to a story appear. Others discover new ways to visualize a scene or plot. Most participants were excited to get back to their project.

Writing prompts do something powerful, too. They pull emotions and insights from us. Baggage can pop up unexpectedly.

Ever have someone make a benign statement that stimulates a big emotion? Most likely there’s a root from a past hurt or trauma inside us. Which is beneficial in two ways:

  1. we can address the issue with God
  2. we tapped into an authentic character development that may be tied to a fascinating plot.

Win-win, I say.

Therefore, if everyone chose the same prompt, each story would be different. Our life experiences—the joyful and painful—shape our unique voice and point of view. That’s a jumpstart we all need.


It began as an ordinary morning for Sarah Sweeting—watching her favorite baking show, Cupcake Rivalry while getting ready for work at her Granny’s small-town bakery. All that changed when Sarah spots a contestant who looks like her, sounds like her, moves like her.

Was this her twin sister? The twin her mother ran away with twenty years ago? Were hers and Granny’s prayers finally being answered?

When Granny confirms Sarah’s shocking discovery, Granny suffers a heart attack.

Raven Souwers’ morning began at a frenzied pace—incessant ringing phones and a Beverly Hills’ bakery full of customers. All because everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the Cupcake Rivalry contestants—Raven and her best friend, Will Durning.

But a phone call from an excited woman who claims to be Raven’s long-lost twin—a sister Raven has no memory of—informs Raven that a grandmother she never knew was in the hospital.

The call changes the course of Raven’s life and brings up the pain she thought she’d overcome.

Will Sarah and Raven finally be united, or will other rivalries separate them again?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1649494025/


Award-winning author, speaker, blogger, and vlogger Terri Gillespie loves nurturing women through stories of hope. She and her husband reside in the beautiful hills of NW Georgia where she frequents the local bakery. Occasionally they make their way to Chicago to visit their daughter, son-in-love, and grandson.

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