[Writing Prompt] Set Aside An Hour

Today we’re going to try something new. I’m not assigning a word count, but rather a time limit.

The Prompt

Set aside a full hour to write a short story. Start and finish the story during that time.


  • Some people work really well with deadlines. Maybe this is yours.
  • Don’t panic if you can’t start writing at 00:01. Sketch out some ideas, try on a few characters. An hour is quite a long time if you focus on one moment, one instant (the perfect milieu for a short story). As long as you’re writing by 00:30, you’ll probably get a decent draft out of this exercise.
  • Pay attention to how you deal with the pressure of the hour finishing up. Is your story’s pacing clearly influenced by the deadline? (If it is, don’t worry, you can always clean things up in the rewrites).
  • Assess this exercise. Did you finish? Did you have to ‘cheat’ (i.e. write stuff like [put details in here], [move characters across town] etc.)?
  • Did the time limit work for you better than the word count as an exercise? Could this be something you use every day?


Don’t forget to comment about your writing day below or in The Victory Dance group.

4 thoughts on “[Writing Prompt] Set Aside An Hour”

  1. This was an interesting challenge…I feel like I’ve done rather well with the word count prompts, but devoting the time to it was intriguing, especially because it helped me strain out the distractions (read, INTERNET!!!) to keep that time completely devoted to the writing. I really like the story, too! Almost four years ago, I started enjoying the sweetest love story ever, and I wrote our story once for a competition–there wasn’t enough conflict!!! But maybe I looked at the wrong part of our story…sometimes the biggest challenge isn’t the goings-on, but getting going. Perhaps later this month I’ll tackle it from that view…

    In the meantime, Story the Sixth has been written! But now the baby is awake, so Mommy needs to get back on duty!

    Thank you, Julie, for such wonderful prompts and encouragement!

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