Sometimes writers get stuck, and that’s okay! As long as you know how to pull yourself out of a slump, feeling stuck can be considered just part of the creative writing process. Luckily, creative writing prompts can help.
Creative writing prompts are also nice to have on hand as a warmup, just like you’d perform before a workout in everyday life. Prompts get your ideas flowing, challenge you to work your brain in new ways, and can provide sparks of inspiration to set you off on a successful writing session.
Below, learn more about the best creative writing prompts, what to look for in a good prompt, and how to use prompts in your writing process to get your creative juices flowing.
What is a prompt in creative writing?
A writing prompt is an idea that helps prompt your imagination. Think of it as a miniature assignment that encourages originality and creativity rather than a call for critical thinking.
Writing prompts give you an idea of what to write about immediately, so you don’t have to dream up an idea independently.
Creative writing prompts also help you build your writing skills and flex your writing muscles, making the creative process more accessible in the future.
Lastly, writing prompts stretch your imagination to help you see particular situations in a new light so you can write more engaging and relatable stories.
What are some cool writing prompts?
You can find creative writing prompts readily available online, but they’re often the same, tired ideas.
We’ve listed some cool writing prompts below that make for more exciting writing sessions.
Use these to start a new story, work out a dead end in a current project, or simply as writing practice to help get your motor running.
Walk through your neighborhood and jot down the first sentence that you hear coming out of someone else’s mouth. Write a scene about it.
Choose a character from your current project, or make up a new one. Write one scene of dialogue between different parts of your character’s brain.
Write a scene that would occur at the end of a movie or television show.
Write a character description that includes at least three massive problems that the character has.
Write a scene in which your main character has to say goodbye but has a realization after doing so.
A random item falls out of the sky. Explain how it happened.
Write down a topic for which you’ve got a strong opinion. Now write about that topic from the opposite point of view.
Write a scene in which your main character speaks directly to the person reading the writing prompt assignment.
Write a three-paragraph story where each paragraph contradicts the prior one.
Make up three random characters and write a single-sentence character description for each. Now, write a conversation that takes place between those characters.
What is the best writing prompt?
The best writing prompt is one that provokes you in a good way. It will make you feel something, spur an idea, and spawn a response that feels exciting and new.
The best writing prompts also fall into one of these five categories:
- Descriptive Writing Prompts
Descriptive writing prompts will ask you to describe a situation, image, item, or experience.
- Expository Writing Prompts
Expository writing prompts should ask you to explain something, like an essay.
- Narrative Writing Prompts
Narrative writing prompts invite you to tell a story about something happening as you see it.
- Persuasive Writing Prompts
Persuasive writing prompts allow you to flex your ability to take a stand on an issue, defend your opinion, and sway the reader.
- Situational Writing Prompts
Situational writing prompts present you, the writer, with a situation that you must write about from your point of view based on your own experiences.
How to use creative writing prompts
A list of creative writing prompts won’t do you much good if you don’t know how to employ them in your writing practice.
Consider adding these exercises to your current writing schedule as a warmup rather than saving writing prompts as a magic wand for days when writer’s block has set in.
Start a journal and complete a new writing prompt within it each day. You’ll have a book full of story ideas and inspiration by the end of the year!
Using creative writing prompts in your regular writing process will expand your brainpower before you get into your regularly scheduled projects. You’ll also get all of the bad stuff out of the way first because there’s no need to over-analyze a creative writing prompt response.
To use creative writing prompts in your writing process:
Make time to respond to a prompt before you begin your project. Ensure you build this time into your regular writing schedule.
Set word count goals for each writing prompt, but remain realistic.
Share your writing prompt response with a creative writing partner, friend, or family member. You don’t have to share the exact details, but you can share the prompt and a general idea of how you responded because it may just spark new ideas when you say it out loud!
Don’t wait for writer’s block to strike. Start writing the first thing that comes to mind when you read a prompt. Remember, this is an exercise, not something you’re going to publish.
Creative writing prompts force you to use your brain differently and stretch your imagination, making an excellent warmup for your regular writing.
Pick creative writing questions that make you feel something immediately, and start writing immediately afterward. Part of the purpose of writing prompts is to get you moving, not stall you out with another assignment.
Rotate creative writing prompts to focus on a variety of exercises, from dialogue and character description to reflective writing that helps you write from different points of view.
Remember, your brain is a muscle, so get it warmed up before going all out!
Use it or lose it,