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50 Writing Prompts to Get You Started

Updated on April 10, 2019
ORIveraSantos profile image

Ms. Rivera-Santos studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at Smith College;her writing has appeared in print & online journals


Simple Writing Exercises to Get You into Creative Flow

For a Writer, the blank page is great unless your mind is blank as well — the stand-off between Writer and page can exhaust you before you’ve written a word.

Here are some prompts to get you into the flow

1. Sit at a coffee shop, listen to music with headphones on and write scenes you see through the window.

2. Write your last breakup as a scene in a Shakespeare play.

3. Write a speech for a presidential candidate in a dystopian novel.

4. Read a page from your favorite book and write about why the text is meaningful to you.

5. Write a list of topics you’d like to cover in a collection of short stories.

6. Write about your favorite hobbies when you were ten years old.

7. Write 10 poems about childhood.

8. Write a 50-line description of your hometown.

9. Write about your dream job and your dream coworkers.

10. Write a list of novel titles with short descriptions

of storyline.

11. Write an apology letter to someone.

12. Write about your favorite three books.

13. Write 20 poems about human nature.

14. Write a short story for ten-year-olds with drawings.

15. Write an episode of your favorite show as a short story.

16. Write a conversation between two coworkers in which one confesses to a crime.

17. Write a description of your last marriage or serious relationship from your neighbor’s perspective.

18. Create a list of all the elements in your ideal work and personal life.

19. Write about yourself in the third person and focus on your successes.

20. Write a page of notes about your favorite silent film.

21. Write a work autobiography.

22. Write a list of things that make you happy.

23. Write about your childhood Idiosyncrasies.

24. Write a monologue in which you describe how you ended up where you are today.

25. Write in the style of your least favorite Writer.

26. Write in the style of your favorite Writer.

27. Go for a 20-minute walk and sit down and write everything you saw and experienced in the present and present continuous tenses.

28. Read your journal from two weeks ago and sprinkle in some characters, a crime and dialogue.

29. Write a list of all your burning desires as a Writer.

30. Watch your favorite three actors and write a play for them.

31. Choose one of the assignments from 1 to 30 in this list, polish it, workshop it and submit to a magazine.

32. Write a monologue about what it’s like to be a Writer.

33. Write a letter to each person who encouraged you to keep writing.

34. Write a story about a shocking thing that happened in your high school years.

35. Write about what you’ve learned from going to therapy.

36. Write about what you‘ve learned from watching YouTube ideas this week.

37. Write a mission statement for your writing career.

38. Watch one episode of your favorite TV show and rewrite characters’ lines.

39. Write about the most toxic person you know and what makes him or her interesting.

40. Write about your last work-related meeting and how people showed up in both dress and attitude.

41. Write an outline for a novel that begins and ends in the same place.

42. Write stories about your family that you will never share publicly.

43. What every detail about the first time you kissed someone.

44. Write a scene in which you speak to a deceased relative about something you wish you had said while the person was alive.

45. Write a resignation letter in the voice of Kafka.

46. Write a tourist guide for your favorite city.

47. Write about how you knew you were stepping from childhood into adulthood.

48. Write a query lette and send it to a friend for feedback.

49. Send your query letter to an agent.

50. Write letters between two people, living in the 19th century, who are madly in love.

After you finish using all these prompts, you will have a strong foundation for people, places and things that have made an impact. And once you’ve written these assignments, you can always return to them to shop for ideas and find ways to coalesce imagery, inflections of voices and acts of cowardice, bravery and the non-acts of inertia. This low-pressure writing produces a more resilient and lively creativity muscle.


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