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Have you ever looked at a blank page, cursor blinking furiously, and wondered how you could possibly fill the entire page with words? The pressure writers face to deliver exceptional results can feel a bit overwhelming, and even the most skilled writers find that their well of creativity runs dry from time to time.
Writer’s block isn’t necessarily a block on ideas—it could also be a resistance to begin. Either way, there are plenty of ways in which we can create routines and work through that resistance.
Writing prompts are a great way to get your pen or fingers moving, no matter what genre you’re working in. From fiction writing to blog writing, prompts can help spark ideas you can run with. Here are a variety of different writing prompts to try when you’re facing writer’s block, or when you’re just looking for new bouts of inspiration.
First thing’s first: What are writing prompts, exactly?
Writing prompts are any type of invitation to craft a piece of writing. In early school years, students are often given pictures as writing prompts—in other words, photos or other visuals that can be translated into stories. While writing prompts from pictures is one way of invoking inspiration, that’s not the only type of writing prompt out there.
Formal writing prompts often give a broad topic like “back to school,” or “summer vacation,” and follow with a list of questions to inspire writers, such as, “write about your most memorable beach vacation.”
These questions can elicit some powerful, unique responses. Remember, your story may not feel unique to you because you lived it, but it could be a world in which your reader never imagined. Always think about the reader when crafting your responses to creative writing prompts.
Most authors agree that the best way to become a better writer is to create a writing routine for yourself. Daily writing prompts can help you stick with that routine. And they don’t have to be complicated! Some simple examples of daily prompts are:
Writing in a Gratitude Journal
Your gratitude journal can inspire more than compassion and joy. It can also be a good source of creative inspiration. What are some people or things you’re grateful for? Why? What would you be like without them? What feelings come up?
Eavesdrop on Conversations
All great writers are natural observers. They listen to dialogue and conversations and look for character and conflict. So head to a coffee shop and listen in. What did you learn? What’s really happening in that situation?
Look Outside Your Window
Every day, take a look outside your window. How has it changed? How has it remained the same? Has it looked like this for years? Decades? Centuries? Think of all the stories that could unfold from that one square view.
If you’re looking for more daily writing prompts, try one of these every day:
- Write a letter to yourself when you were a kid, teenager, or young adult.
- Write about something sweet, whatever that means to you.
- Pick a number, and write about how it’s affected you. This could be related to money, stats, investments, or age!
- Jot down your thoughts on a closed door or missed opportunity.
- Write about something you fear.
- Take a break outside, and write about the sounds and sights you hear and see.
Want even more ideas? The internet is a wealth of great writing prompt generators. Here’s a short list of our favorite generators to visit any time you need to spark those creative juices:
- The Story Shack’s Writing Prompts Generator
- Writing Exercises Breakthrough Writing Blocks
- Masterpiece Generator’s Plot Generator
Ready to get started on your next project? Whether you’re more visual and need a picture prompt, or you tend to get inspired through everyday activities, finding the right writing prompt for you doesn’t have to be a challenge.
5 Picture Writing Prompts
- A busy group of scattered people seems to be in a rush. What’s happening?
- A group of red-headed arms stretches out to make a heart. What does this mean to you?
- A mom gives encouraging words to her child on a city street. What is she telling him, and why?
- A pair of puffins have a conversation in a colorful landscape. What are they discussing?
- A young woman looks back to a trailer with a young baby on a cloudy day. What is she contemplating?
10 Funny Writing Prompts
If you’re a humor writer, try one of these funny writing prompts for inspiration.
- List ten things that have made you laugh this week.
- Your most embarrassing memory. Why was it so bad?
- Write about switching bodies with your nemesis.
- The best joke you’ve ever heard. Why was it funny?
- What was the most entertaining movie you’ve watched recently? Write a funny criticism on it.
- Try to find humor in something mundane that happened to you today.
- Look for the silver lining when plans have gone wrong.
- Write about your kids or young children that have said things that made you laugh.
- Write what your pet would think over the course of a day.
- Make an inanimate object a character, and write a day in the life of that object.
10 Journal Writing Prompts
Journaling is another great tool to develop your skills as a writer. A regular journaling practice can help you get out your thoughts without worrying about how anyone else will interrupt them. After all, journals are just for you. As an added bonus, journaling can help you come up with ideas you’ve never thought of before and organize them before you start writing.
Here are 10 journal writing prompts:
- What is something you can let go of? Be it a relationship, object, or something else, why do you need to let go? How will letting go help you grow as a person?
- What is the happiest memory you have from childhood? What makes it such a positive experience?
- What would happen if you accomplished everything you wanted? Write about the life you would live if it were to happen.
- Write about a relationship that has helped you grow. Whether it was a positive one or a negative one, how did it help you?
- Make a list of all the positive changes you’ve made this year.
- Write about what self care means to you.
- Describe your comfort zone—what are things that make you comfortable? List ways in which you’re afraid to leave it or ways you already have.
- Write about a daily healthy habit—one you have or one you’d like to adopt
- Write about a great quality in a beloved friend or family member. Why is it great? How has impacted your life?
- Write a letter forgiving yourself or someone else for something that happened in the past.
10 Opinion Writing Prompts
Opinion pieces, often called op-eds, are essays in which the writer eloquently maps out a case for their opinion on an issue. Commonly, op-eds are in response to current events, but you can write about truly anything you have strong feelings about.
- Look at the news and pick a headline that immediately stands out to you. Read the article and write a response, whether you agree or disagree with it.
- Think about the last documentary you saw. What about it made you change your behavior?
- Listen to a podcast episode and form your own opinions about the content. What about it inspires you? Or evokes other emotions?
- What is happening in sports today? Write about a certain player or team’s approach that you agree or disagree with.
- Write about a recent travel experience. What’s a potentially unpopular opinion you have about a certain destination, airline, or hotel?
- What’s an environmental issue that affects your community or neighborhood? Write about something that your fellow community members could do to help.
- Write about your opinion on social media. Is it good for the world? Or is it terrible?
- What’s a social or charitable cause you care about deeply? Why should others care about it, too?
- What’s a common piece of advice that you disagree with?
- How has a recent local or national policy affected you? Write about what others can learn from your experience.
10 Songwriting Prompts
Writing a song is one of the most creative forms of writing out there—but all that creative leeway can lead to big-time writer’s block. Write powerful lyrics with these 10 fun writing prompts:
- What do you see when you look at the night sky?
- What did you do after your first heartbreak? How did it impact your life?
- How did you feel when your child was born? Or when a younger sibling was born?
- What made you angry this week? What were the details that made you mad?
- How did you feel when someone you love passed? What did you love about them?
- Where was the most magical place you traveled to? What made it magical?
- What is one thing in your home or in the outdoors that comforts you? When has it brought you comfort?
- What’s your favorite children’s book? Write a song about it and how it made you feel like a kid.
- Write a lyrical letter to someone who’s hurt you.
- What is something you fear? Write about what life would be like if you could overcome that fear.
10 Nonfiction Writing Prompts
Nonfiction writing doesn’t always have to be the research paper we think of. Sometimes it can be a personal essay instead. Either way, here are some prompts to inspire you.
- Write about a childhood encounter that changed your life.
- Write about a trip that changed the way you look at life.
- Research your favorite animal. What are some traits you love? What makes them so unique?
- Write a review of one of your favorite tech products.
- Review one of your favorite restaurants in your neighborhood.
- Research local elections in your area, write about what is on the ballot.
- Play devil’s advocate. Write about something you disagree with from the other side’s perspective.
- Research building a home in your neighborhood, and write about the process.
- Write about an enemy you had as a kid.
- Write about your experience with your body. What do you love about it? What are some more challenging feelings you have about it?
10 Memoir Writing Prompts
Remember, your life is unique to you. The things you may consider quotidien may be fascinating to someone else. Memoir writing is all about the unique details that bring your story to life for others. Here are some memoir writing prompts to write an engaging story.
- Write about the relationship you have with your parents.
- Write about the relationship you had with your sibling(s) as a child.
- Write about a family trip you took.
- Write about the lessons you learned from your first job.
- Write about the work you do and why it’s meaningful to you (or not).
- Write about an experience that helped you grow.
- Write about the first time you ever traveled somewhere alone.
- Write about the first time you fell in love
- Write about the time you became a parent or aunt or uncle.
- Write about your hometown—what are the traits that make it different from anywhere else in the world?
10 Blog Writing Prompts
If you run a blog, you know that regular posting is a major factor in the blog’s success. But ideas can run dry. While what you choose to write about will depend significantly on what your blog focuses on, here’s a list of ideas that could work for pretty much any blogger.
- Make a list of the books that have most inspired your work or creative pursuits.
- Make a list of your go-to websites and resources that your readers might find useful, too.
- What’s something you do better than anyone else? Write a how-to guide about it.
- What’s a common belief or mindset in your industry that you disagree with? Write about your unique take.
- What’s a question you get asked all the time? Create a mock advice column, answering that question.
- Write a profile of a fellow blogger you admire.
- Write about a current trend you hope continues—and one you hope fades away quickly.
- What do most people not know about you? Write a “fun facts” post.
- Try something totally new or unexpected—then write about the experience.
- What’s one goal you want to accomplish in life? Write about what you’ll do in the next month to help you get there.
Whether you’re writing a song for someone you love, a short story, or a long-form researched-backed essay, these writing prompts can help jolt up inspiration. All that’s left for you to do is to get writing!
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