Personally speaking, I love using writing prompts in my work. I journal on a daily basis and write poetry quite frequently, so when my reserve of ideas and themes runs dry, I always turn to my writing prompt list. I say ‘list’ but it’s actually a hardcover journal for which I write down every creative writing prompt, idea, story starter, etcetera, that I come across when reading books, watching movies, and any other activity that fosters a new idea which I feel would be great as a writing topic. So, oftentimes when it’s time to write and I’m left staring at a blank screen, or an empty sheet of paper, I resort to my prompt notebook for inspiration.
Here I have compiled for you 100 writing prompts to use at your own discretion. So, the next time you’re stumped for ideas, just take a look at the list and use one you find most interesting or challenging. Don’t worry if at first you and the prompt of your choice don’t hit it off, just keep the pen (keyboard) moving and you’re sure to be struck by some fresh ideas!
1. Get out one of your favorite books, doesn’t matter if it’s a collection of poetry, a mystery novel, or a memoir…anything goes. Flip to fifteen random pages and pick out one word from each page. Make it a word that stands out, or is most descriptive. After you have collected the 15 words, proceed to complete a piece of writing using those 15 words throughout.
2. Grab the nearest magazine, flip through it until you find a picture of someone whom you deem looks ‘interesting.’ Then write a story about that person or their life. What are they doing in the picture? Before the picture? After the picture? What is their biggest heartbreak? Their biggest accomplishment? Extend on their profile.
3. Get out your thesaurus and randomly select 25 words. When I do this prompt, I simple open the book at random, close my eyes, slide my finger around the page and then stop. Whichever word my finger has landed on is the one I use.
4. What is your favorite poem? Find one that isn’t quite so long, maybe 20 lines. For each of those lines, write a line that refuses, denies, or varies from what is said in the original poem. When you are finished, you should have your own 20 lined poem, and a very interesting one at that.
5. Make a list of ten of the best meals you’ve ever had. Then elaborate. When did you eat them? Where were you? What event? If you dig deep enough, there is a wonderful story behind each of those ten meals…write one, or all!
6. Elaborate upon this line: The first time I ever metaphorically saw the light…
7. What is your favorite movie? And who is your favorite character of that movie? Take that character and write a small memoir from their point of view in reflection of something traumatic that happened to them during the movie. For example, say their spouse cheated on them, or they received bad news, write a memoir further expanding upon that event.
8. List ten things that have made you astoundingly happy within the last year. Of that list, pick your favorite and write about it.
9. Close your eyes and pretend you are on a cruise of the Greek islands. What do you see? What does the ocean look like? What’s for dinner on the buffet tonight? What wonderful activities do you have planned for the following day? What is your view from your cabin? Write about it!
10. Pretend for a moment you’ve just woken up from a deep sleep and realize you are in a limo with your new husband/wife. You’re both still in your wedding attire. Yet you don’t remember a thing from your life. You have amnesia! What do you do?