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Some Idiot Wrote This

My favorite creative prompt.

CJ Chilvers
CJ Chilvers
1 min read

One of my favorite writing prompts comes from a podcast I love by three veteran journalists. They have a segment called, “Some idiot wrote this.”

The point of the segment is not (usually) to pick on the writer of a bad take, unless the take is egregiously error-prone. It’s just a jumping-off point for the three to discuss the correct way to approach, research, and write an article on whatever the topic may be.

This has always been my most productive creative prompt. It works for any creator:

  • For writers and podcasters, see the above.
  • For photographers, it may be about an overall photographic idea you love, but the composition was so bad, you feel forced to create your own version.
  • For musicians, this is a daily thing already. You hear a great drum track with horrible bass, or cringy lyrics. It’s motivation to prove there’s a better song out there.

Whatever it is, it’s usually best to express the better take in your own way, rather than just criticizing someone else’s work. See it from the all angles. Then, fire away.

With this prompt, you’ll have an endless supply subject matter, especially from social media, and no excuse not to consistently post about something — with passion.


P.S. I’ve been on vacation this week. The many places I’ve found to sit and work are a reminder of why remote work isn’t going away — or even waning in popularity — at least for the rest of my lifetime.