Monday Motivation: A final word from the oracle of things to come

 In Monday Motivation, Richard Beynon's blog, Tips for Writers

I’ve been experimenting with my friendly AI assistant– ChatGPT who I introduced last week. It/he/she has very obvious limitations, but it also takes the initiative in sometimes surprising ways. I thought I’d invite ChatGPT to write the final blog of the year, with a prompt that I hoped would trigger a little motivational inspiration.

Here’s the prompt:

Write a story, I suggested, about a woman who has been struggling to complete the novel she’s been working on. Prompted by a conversation with her best friend on Christmas Eve, she decides to set aside the novel and instead write something very simple – a story for children, perhaps – based on an incident from her childhood. She remembers getting lost in a wood and, by following the sound of a blackbird, found her way out. She starts writing the new story.

And here’s ChatGPT’s story:

“Sophie had always loved to write, but lately, she had been struggling to complete the novel she had been working on for the past year. She had hit a creative block and no matter how hard she tried, the words just wouldn’t come

Feeling frustrated and defeated, Sophie poured herself a glass of wine and settled down on the couch, scrolling through her social media feeds in search of some inspiration. That’s when she saw a message from her best friend, Paula, who she had grown up with.

“Hey Soph, just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas,” Paula wrote. “I know you’ve been struggling with your writing lately. Any updates on the novel?”

Sophie sighed and replied, “Not really. I’ve been stuck in a rut and can’t seem to make any progress. It’s been driving me crazy.”

Paula replied right away. “Well, maybe it’s time to take a break from the novel and try something else. Like a short story for kids, maybe? Something simple and fun to get your creative juices flowing again.”

Sophie thought about it for a moment and then a memory from her childhood came to mind. She remembered getting lost in a wood one summer and feeling terrified until she heard the sound of a blackbird singing. She followed the sound and eventually found her way out of the woods.

Inspired by this memory, Sophie decided to set aside her novel and write a story for children about the incident. She sat down at her desk and started typing, letting the words flow freely as she described the wood, the blackbird, and the girl who found her way home.

As she wrote, Sophie felt a sense of joy and accomplishment that she hadn’t experienced in a long time. She finished the story that night and sent it off to a children’s publisher the next day.

A few weeks later, she received a letter in the mail with the news that her story had been accepted and would be published. It was a small victory, but it was enough to give Sophie the motivation she needed to keep writing. She returned to her novel with renewed energy and determination, and before long, the words began to flow once again.

Thanks to Paula’s encouragement and the memories of her childhood, Sophie had found her way back to her passion for writing and was able to complete her novel. It was a lesson that she would never forget: sometimes, the best ideas come from unexpected sources.”

It’s not great literature, of course – but I still find it astonishing. For those of you who quiver at the thought of a future of machine-driven composition, fear not: at least there’ll always be room for writers to invent the prompts!

Happy writing,


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