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How to Beat Writer's Block With 5 Super Easy Writing Prompts Especially for the Struggling Writer

Updated on June 2, 2018
Cyndi10 profile image

Cynthia - a freelance writer believing in the power of words. She writes about travel, family, business, gardening, and health & wellness.

Writer's tools to keep handy as they may be a part of your writing prompts, allowing you to put your thoughts on paper.
Writer's tools to keep handy as they may be a part of your writing prompts, allowing you to put your thoughts on paper. | Source

Are You a Writer Struggling to Find a Topic? Writing Prompts Are Everywhere

If you are open to them, writing prompts are everywhere and they will become clear to you to aid the excellent writer within you. Once you develop and call on your powers of observation, you will be amazed at how easily writing prompts manifest and the struggle ended.

Sometimes the evidence of these writing prompts are visible, overtly obvious. More often, they are subtle. Still, they are there, hovering within reach, and if you relax, let the writer within takeover, the writing prompts will become obvious.

How and when do you start to recognize the writing prompts surrounding us.? Why not begin with what you already have written. Gather every scrap you've ever written. If it's on paper, catalogue it. If it's in your computer, search it out, categorize your writing and drop in folders. The poems you wrote in meetings, the stories you wrote for your kids; how about the novels you started and laid aside? Where are they now? Pull them out and review every piece. You are a writer, the prompts may already be in the work you have at hand but left unpolished or unfinished.

African violets can be a creative writing prompt. Create a how to article; use them in a story or poem.
African violets can be a creative writing prompt. Create a how to article; use them in a story or poem. | Source

Where Are Your Writing Prompts?

There is so much to write about, so many prompts. Prompts are spawns of the wonders of the world emerging from the wonders of the mind; characters not yet created and characters as ancient and familiar as the sea, just waiting to be awakened, to take on new shape. And the most important prompt lies in a writer's powers of observation.

The unpublished, the masses of would be writers use the similar retorts: "I only need to find the time," "find the money," "find the best hideaway to start to write," or " find the best creative writing prompts." Quite frankly, they are experts at excuses. These writers are bursting with reasons to procrastinate. They research and read what the accomplished writer has to share and proclaim, "Aha! I knew all this." But still, sadly, they don't write.

Look around. The plant in the corner can lead to an article on caring for that species of plant or may lead to "fleshing out" the character you have been toying with who now has a penchant for growing, say African violets. The violets become a prop, a part of the clues to how your character functions in his or her reality.

The music you listen to may contain writing prompts. Hot, steamy Latin beats can lead to a hot, steamy romance novel set in a Latin dance studio or set in the jungles of Brazil.

Cool jazz can prompt an article or a book about the life of Billie Holiday and the impact she left on jazz enthusiasts. Or it may lead to exploring the genius of Miles Davis.

What about that article you read? Can you add some additional information to it? Can you present a different point of view? If you can, that article has become your writing prompt.

Trace the discovery of your writing prompts. Can you feel where the words originate? When do the neurons start firing, lighting up the pathway to a single word, connecting to other words? When do you form the phrases, the sentences for the ideas that are the essence of a story, a poem or an essay? From your mind to the reader's mind. Miraculous, if you consider what has happened before you opened that book and began to read.

The creative writing process starts somewhere and that somewhere is with the prompt. Everything leads back to the writing prompts, whether you are aware or not.

Find that calmness, that uncrowded space in your mind. Let it fill up without concsious effort. The prompts will start to work their magic and the thoughts will start to take shape. It can happen at an appointed time, but it can happen just as easily with no conscious effort from you.

Be vigilante. Writing prompts can materialize anywhere at anytime. Something unexpected ignites the spark. Have your recorder on your phone ever ready. Have a journal or notebook always within reach. Even though always present, the shape and form of a prompt can easily slip away, like mud oozing between your toes.

Shamelessly eavesdrop on conversations around you. They don't have to know.
Shamelessly eavesdrop on conversations around you. They don't have to know. | Source

Five Writing Prompts When the Words Are Elusive

Five Writing Prompts When the Words Are Elusive

To help you become fully aware of the limitless writing prompts, consider the following for inspiration:

  1. Contemplate the sky, daytime or nighttime, but especially nighttime. You will find ideas sprinkled around the heavens like the stars. Skywatching can lead to an article on weather, clouds, astrology, or comets - and that's just the beginning of what waits for you among the heavens.
  2. Observe your dog. Dog watching can lead to fiction and/or nonfiction. Dog owners want to know about the best food, the best vet practices, the best flea/tick treatments, etc. Stories are written around the antics of the dogs in our lives and the way they interact with us. Consider using the dog as a catalyst for a new romance story. If not a dog, then use a cat to stir your imagination.
  3. Get out. Take a trip to the grocery store or the market. Articles about food abound, good and bad. So are articles about health and wellness. You can people watch while there and get your inspiration. How about etiquette while in line? Or what about a story about the mom with four young children all clamoring for attention? Then there is the mom with the teenager who is trying her best to disappear into the floor. Fiction or nonfiction can emerge from each scenario.
  4. Eavesdrop on conversations, surreptitiously, of course. A favorite of many writers prompt, particularly fiction writers, is to simply sit at their favorite coffee spot or the park and watch people. Listen to the cadence of their voices. People around have many stories to tell and if you listen closely enough you may find something to write about.
  5. Review old photos or old movies - your family's or others. Recall the family history. Pull your story, article or even a poem or two from them.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, then open your eyes and observe the writing prompts that surround you. Revel in them. They are a part of your everyday world.

You have the power to create a new world at any time, with the proverbial stroke of the pen or a tap of the keys. So relax, let the words form, these easy writing prompts will inspire the rest.

Ray Bradbury speaks on writing.

© 2012 Cynthia B Turner


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    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hey Lady, Did you need prompts today? Thanks for looking at what I wrote.

    • profile image

      Lucia Byrd 5 years ago

      Great! Thanks for the effort and for writing it! So finding prompts was your prompt!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Colin, out on lake erie. Thanks so much for steering the traffic my way and bookmarking my writing prompts. I try to imagine you stuck without an idea, but maybe it happens to you, too. So if I've been of any help, hurray!

      Take good care and be creative.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 5 years ago

      This is a most excellent article Cynthia and one that I will bookmark for future reference and also link and post to my FACEBOOK page. Thank you so much for 'prompting' me and inspiring me here - the whole writing process can be a mystique at times and I imagine that everyone has a different way of approaching it - but we can certainly all take away some very useful information, help and tips from your writing here.

      Sending you my warmest wishes from Colin, Tiffy and Gabriel at lake erie time ontario canada 5:30pm

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, I didn't think of the old standby, "staring at the walls" :-) Thanks for the vote. I'm glad the article was useful. Take care.

    • Londonlady profile image

      Laura Writes 5 years ago

      I really wish I had thought of the "old family photos" prompt when I was taking a creative writing class. After the Nth prompt you have to come up with even staring at walls becomes more inspirational! Thanks for this article. Voted up

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Great suggestion. Thanks, Lucia. Take care.

    • profile image

      Lucia Byrd 5 years ago

      Hi, Here's a link that is actually an excerpt from a great book ( have it on my shelf)

      It's a great tool for getting the creative writing juices flowing...

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi alahiker28, Thanks for reading and I hope you find the tips helpful in your writing journey.

    • alahiker28 profile image

      Vicki Parker 5 years ago from the Deep South

      GREAT hub. Voted up!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      I'm so glad if you think any of the suggestions will help you uncover your fiction writing skills.

      An excellent idea to try taking on small goals to spark the fiction. Make up story lines about just about anything. Ease drop (without getting caught, of course) on a conversation at the coffee shop and make up a very short paragraph or two about that.

      Poems can be sparked about just about anything thing. The sunset in your avatar, for instance, can set off your poetry. I like writing haiku ( I have some examples in my other writings) as a way to spark my thoughts. Here is an example of haiku I came up with for your avatar.

      My sun sets slowly

      Ball of energy well spent

      Firestorm in the trees.

      Anyway, you get the idea. Thanks for the votes and sharing. I really appreciate that. Take care!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      I have little trouble with finding/using writing prompts for my non-fiction writing, but have a huge mind block when it comes to writing fiction. Truth be told, I haven't written fiction or poetry in years, feeling certain I have "no stories in me."

      I like your suggestions about writing prompts and resolve to dabble in fiction, even if it's only a paragraph or two daily. Thanks for the inspiration.

      Voted up and shared.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      What a good idea to use the flashlight feature on the phone for writing in the dark. You seem to be very organized in capturing your ides and thoughts. It helps, I'm sure, if you come against a rough spot for ideas. I appreciate you taking the time to comment! Take care.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I try to jot down my ideas no matter what the time or place. I even use my phone's flashlight at night to write ideas in a bedside notebook...otherwise there's that ideas folder on my computer desktop. Still, I don't publish on HP as often as I would like since I have more than two other blogs to maintain, a job and other obligations, but I feel at least I have a plan! Thanks for the tips!

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Edna, Thank you for sharing your insights on the writing process, as well. Prompts are all around, we just have to harness the discipline to put them into a format that people will read. Please do come back to me often.

    • intriguewriter profile image

      intriguewriter 5 years ago from worldwide

      I find that I can find prompts all over the place. I am constantly looking and searching. They come naturally but sometimes if you just relax and empty your mind they will appear when you least expect them to appear you know. Thanks for your article, I will keep coming back to check more of your work when I get the time. Thanks again, Edina Jackson

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hello, I always thought everyone else happened to be way more productive that me, not procrastinating or letting anything interfere with their writing. Now I see that nearly everyone has these little distractions that can creep in and take us away from our writing. If we haven't taken care of our writing for the day, all those things you listed pull us off task. I think we need to guard our creativity and continually act on it. Thank you so much for leaving a comment as you press on with your writing.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 5 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, an Awesome overview look at internal writing prompts, and shared. As you tell it is just how my experience has been and is.

      I struggle each day with the demon Procrastination. I have long lists of writing ideas and stacks of writing projects started, and I find excuses not to be working on getting any of them finished and out into the world. Hubtivity can be procrastination. Good works for good causes and community and church involvement can be procrastination. Housework can be procrastination. Employment or looking for employment or self-employment can be procrastination. How to keep everything in proportion and balance and to keep sacrosanct daily or weekly time for one's creativity avocation, whether original writing, a visual art, a craft, a performing art, backyard landscaping, or whatever? There is no easy answer to how to perfect time management.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Glad you found it useful. Thanks so much for leaving a comment and passing this on. Have an awesome Sunday.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 5 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Sounds great. I usually do just that look around and take notes. Quite a few writing prompts can be found most anywhere. Thanks for the tips. Passing this on.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Jackie, It's great that the ideas are there for you. It seems getting them to paper is the obstacle. Pull out that notebook when you can so you don't lose as many. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Like Billy I only need more time, the ideas fly and I know many escape before I can get to jot them down. Great interesting article, written very well.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi there, Thanks so much for the votes! Have a creative day!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Great hub and tips Cyndi. All my votes.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Joyce, Thank you for relating to the hub so well. I get upset with myself if I'm too lazy to pick up the pin and paper at night, because in the morning I never remember that great idea or that line that would be so perfect. If I could figure out how to capture what I think of in the shower. If you have any ideas for that, let me know.;-) Take care and have a creative weekend!

    • writer20 profile image

      Joyce Haragsim 5 years ago from Southern Nevada

      Thank you and thank you I had a prompt today and wrote it all down in my notebook. I can these prompts just before going to sleep then I have to write it down on a note pad beside my bed. Saying sorry sweetie I have to turn the light on, If I don't write the words down the they'll keep going around and around until I drop off the sleep then I can only remember snippets in the the morning.

      Vote up, useful and very interesting, Joyce

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi Rasta, Anything that helps get the words out! View the world as one big writing prompt. Glad I could be of some assistance.

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 5 years ago from Georgia

      Hi there Billy, I feel ya!. Finding the time to get the ideas on paper can be overwhelming to me as well. If I don't have the paper handy, I lose the thought, then I'm frustrated and back to finding something to write about. Thanks for leaving a comment.

    • rasta1 profile image

      Marvin Parke 5 years ago from Jamaica

      I found it motivational. I will be looking for my writing prompts.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have ten stories on my list to start; my problem is not ideas but rather where to find the time to write about those ideas. Great hub and suggestions.


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