Plinky: A Web App To Jumpstart Your Creativity

Plinky is a web application that gives you that spark of inspiration when you need it the most, by prompting you with a question each day. It also makes it easy to share your answers to other social networks or post it directly to your blog.

Every writer has certain exercises for writer’s block. I often find myself powering up the computer, checking my task list in OmniFocus, reading my email and then skimming the headlines for important news in Google Reader.  Twitterrific almost always has something important popping up, so I dedicate about 10 minutes every day looking at today’s tweets. Coffee cup in hand, some free time available and the morning routine completed, it’s time to cross something off the task list.

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I think that everyone who writes, be it for a blog, a newspaper or for school, has had in one way or another a form of ‘writer’s block’. In my case, I fire up TextMate and stare at the blinking cursor – with no ideas for an introduction or constantly ‘backspacing’ entire paragraphs. When that happens, here’s what Sacha Segan of PCMag does as a cure for writer’s block: “Take a break, take a long walk, go outside. Play with my daughter. But definitely outside.”

But what if you could use that downtime to still write something?

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Plinky, a project of San Francisco start-up Things Labs, prompts you every day with ‘inspiration’. Funny, challenging, thought provoking or just clichés, Plinky’s prompts can serve to temporarily take your mind off the task at hand and have some fun writing. Questions like “What three songs remind you of a specific time in your life?“, “If you could get any tattoo for just a week, what would it be?” and “What was the first plane ride you took?“, can exercise your brain and bring that spark to your creative side, or serve as a pleasant distraction.

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Jotting down our own answers is nothing like reading answers that your friends – or total strangers – gave. Prompts such as “Name three songs by the same artist that you’d recommend to someone who’s never heard them.” or “What’s the nicest place you’ve stayed?” can be useful and interesting at the same time. You can even suggest prompts to the Plinky community!

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The social networking aspect of Plinky is exactly what was needed to make it a complete experience; a simple follow-followers model most people feel comfortable with after using Twitter, subscribe via RSS to answers, favorites and the possibility to comment on answers. Although you need to visit the Plinky website to read and answer the prompt – you can then share it to other social networks, namely Twitter and Facebook.

If you’d like to feed the answers directly to your blog, be it WordPress, TypePad, or Tumblr, you can do that as well. Thanks to the OpenID integration, you can have an Plinky account in just a couple of seconds. Plinky is a simple web application, with a simple purpose. It’s a must-have on your list of exercises and techniques to cure writer’s block or just a place to ‘riff’ your writing skills.

Visit Plinky, create an account and don’t forget to come back around and share your experience in the comments.

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