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Creative Writing Prompts


Interested in incorporating a freewriting habit into your day, but afraid of the blank page? Or maybe you just want to take your creative writing session in a new direction. Either way, these creative writing prompts, helpful for poetry and fiction, will get you writing.

1. "Your Mother..." Creative Writing Prompt

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One of my writing teachers used this prompt with good results in class one day. As the name suggests, you use an everyday phrase, "Your mother" to spark a new story.

2. The Blues: A Creative Writing Prompt

Here, an energetic exercise for kids by Maya Angelou (published by the Poetry Foundation), is adapted for people of all ages.

3. Things Lost and Found Creative Writing Prompts

These creative writing prompts encourage you to delve into two of the most fertile topics for writing. Begin by focusing on things that you've lost and then switch gears entirely.

4. Hands: A Five-Part Creative Writing Exercise

This creative writing exercise begins with a description of someone's hands, and then prompts you to build on that description in unexpected ways.

5. What If You Were Invisible?

I found this prompt in Beth Baruch Joselow's Writing Without the Muse, but it just as easily could have come from Woody Allen's Alice. In it you're asked to imagine a scene you might observe only if you were invisible.

6. Dictionary as Writing Prompt-Generator

Sometimes simply using new words can inspire your writing to take a new direction. In this exercise, a few words chosen at random will provide a new focus for today's writing.

7. The Storyteller

This exercise is based on one in Julia Cameron's book on writing, The Right to Write, reviewed for this site several years ago. When I recently reviewed her classic book The Artist's Way, I remembered this writing exercise and thought it worthwhile to share it here, as an exercise in its own right and as an example of the kinds of suggestions she gives in her book.

8. Ten-Minute Writing Exercise

If you think you don't have time to write, think again. See what you can produce with a simple set of writing prompts and ten minutes of your time with this creative writing exercise inspired by Rita Dove's exercise "Ten-Minute Spill."


9. Prompts & Exercises from the Monthly Challenges Archive

The fiction writing site at About.com supplied a monthly writing challenge and posted reader responses. It's archive is a good source of new writing prompts and exercises, and the responses provide examples of how the exercise might be approached.

Work on specific writing skills with writing craft exercises.

10. Music to Lift Your Pen

Songs can evoke specific moments, remind you of people, and stir up an emotion. They are powerful tools that make you move back and forward in time. And the lyrics of a specific song can set your story in motion. Try thinking of a soundtrack for your story, or a song that a particular character might like. Quote songs from your own youth - was anything playing the first time you kissed someone? Is there a song that reminds you of a trip or adventure? Sometimes all you need to get started is to engage your writing through another sense.  


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