I used to wonder what Writer's Block was; I couldn't imagine not having something to write about. Then someone asked me to pen a particular piece and I finally knew. Writer's Block is when you don't have the right something to write about.
My usual problem's more like Writer's Glut - so many ideas I can't decide which to use. And that's where Writing Prompts came in. I joined Gather and other online writing communities. I found "Use this sentence," "Start with these words," "Include these word-pairs," "Build on this paragraph," and "Man called X meets woman called Y then something explodes," etc... And I wrote.
I wrote an awful lot of stories based on prompts. They piled up in an overflowing folder on my computer. Then I sorted them into mysteries, drama, scifi, childrens, tragedies... I edited, re-edited, fixed and changed them, and lost all sight of where they'd came from. Then slowly, oh so slowly, I plucked up courage to even try submitting to magazines.
This week I read an article which accused someone of plagiarism. Initially the claim was he'd used the same six-word sentence as someone else. Not hard to do I thought. But the accuser searched the internet and found more - longer sentences, matching phrases, even a whole paragraph...
And then I wondered what writing prompts might have inspired this writer. "Use this sentence?" "Start with these words?" "Incorporate this paragraph...?"
Perhaps I ought to try blocking those writing prompts and find another way out of Writer's Glut.