Learning to use writing prompts can be a great way to get story ideas for writers block. You’ll see a video at the end of this article about how to prevent writer’s block to begin with. But for now, let’s talk about what writing prompts are, how to use them, and where to find them.
What Are Writing Prompts?
A writing prompt is an idea or topic you can use to start jotting down ideas for a story. The prompt can be a short phrase, a complete sentence or paragraph, or even one word. It’s just an idea – a notion – a trigger – to get your ideas flowing. Writing prompts help you focus on something so you can get started writing. You may not stick to the original writing prompt – you may end up wandering off that topic completely. But the idea is to use the prompt to get started.
You might end up with some rough notes, or something more complete like a full story outline. You may end up with an opening scene. Heck, you may even wind up with a complete story! Regardless, the point is to start writing to get past doubts or inhibitions.
Why Use Writing Prompts?
Using writing prompts regularly helps you to stay in the habit of writing. It’s sort of an exercise plan, helping you to create the habit of sitting down and actually writing. Just like exercise, it may be slow and painful at first. But the more you do it, the easier it will become.
Writing prompts can be a welcome distraction from that dreaded blank page. Focusing on an unrelated topic for even ten minutes helps get your creative juices flowing again. You’ll likely find that if you stop thinking so hard on the piece you’re writing and turn your attention to a simple, unrelated prompt for a few minutes, it’ll be easier to get back to your original piece with fresh ideas.
The writing prompt may give you the ideas from which a complete story grows. Sometimes using writing prompts results in full blown story ideas, and other times just the act of writing and opening up the flood gates ends up leading you down paths you never even knew were there. It’s often surprising to see what you end up with when you start the practice of using writing prompts.
Try These Writing Prompts
Try using this list of writing prompts to spark your imagination. Don’t worry about it being “good.” Just pick one and start scribbling. If you give yourself permission to write freely, regardless of the quality the work ends up being, you’ll find it easier to start jotting down ideas. Just go with it! You can come back and polish it later if you wish. Or do nothing with it at all if you choose. The point here is to just pick something and get writing.
1. The city burned, fire lighting up the night sky.
2. The smell of freshly-cut grass.
3. This time her boss had gone too far.
4. It was the first snowfall of the year.
6. He’d always hated speaking in public.
7. Stars sparkled in the night sky.
8. She woke, shivering, in the dark.
9. Red eyes.
10. She studied her face in the mirror.
11. He hadn’t seen her since the day they graduated from High School.
12. The garden was overgrown now.
13. “I told him not to come back!”
14. He woke to birds singing.
15. She’d have to hitch a ride home.
16. The streets were deserted. Where is everyone? Where have they gone?
17. “Shh! Hear that?”
18. They’ll come back every year to lay flowers at this spot.
19. He’d never noticed a door there before.
20. He should’ve listened. His feet were already numb.
Please Share Your Experience!
Please comment below and let others know which prompt you picked, and what the result was. You may also share your work with us by emailing it to firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows – we may even end up publishing your work on this website!
Where to Find Writing Prompts
The internet is a wonderful source of writing prompts. You can find books full of writing prompts on Amazon by clicking HERE. Also, you can find writing prompts on the internet at websites like, CreativeWritingPrompts.com.
Other sites on the internet can provide endless ideas for writing prompts. News sites, for example, with their attention-grabbing headlines, or picture sites such as Pinterest, that provides millions of images to spark great ideas.
If you’re on Twitter, try following these users who provide writing prompts:
Create Your Own Writing Prompts
I’ve heard many writers say that some of their best ideas come from just everyday life. Sitting in a coffee shop or airport observing people, overhearing a conversation. Headlines in a newspaper, a page you randomly open to in a book or magazine. Start practicing keeping your eyes open for things that spark your imagination. Keep a notebook and pen with you and jot ideas down throughout your day to use as writing prompts the next time you sit down to write. You never know where the ideas will take you!
How to Prevent Writer’s Block to Begin With
As promised, here’s a video with really fantastic ideas on how to prevent writer’s block. It’s effective…so get your keyboard ready! 🙂