Writers write – it’s the foundation of what those who produce prose of any type build upon. But what happens when the muse simply won’t sing? How do you keep going when you feel like you’ve got nowhere to go?
There are a thousand different methods espoused on a thousand different blogs to remedy this situation. Seldom do they point their readers to a quick and easy method that can get those creative muscles working again:
But wait – you might ask – what exactly is a writing prompt? According to Michael Esser at the Author Learning Center, a writing prompt is “a topic that serves as a starting point for your brainstorming or mind mapping.” (Esser) Basically, it’s a word, phrase, or question that can spark the imagination and get those creative juices flowing.
A quick Google search turns up thousands of web pages that offer writing prompts. One prestigious site that offers at least a thousand writing prompts is The New York Times. They support a learning network that can help students and professionals alike get back in the swing of things and do what writers do best – write!
“Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students” (Gonchar) lists writing prompts on everything from arts and entertainment to science and technology and beyond, and each prompt links to a New York Times article that, as the article says, “can encourage deeper thinking.” While this list is “for both personal and argument writing,” the struggling fiction writer can find the spark of inspiration that lights a fiction fire.
Go visit Creative Writing Prompts where you’ll find nearly 350 prompts to spark the imagination. The prompts at Creative Writing Prompts are more focused on fiction writing. Simply hover your cursor on each prompt link and a box pops up with a prompt you can use. These are good for writing poetry, narratives, and even character sketches.
And if that isn’t enough for you, head on over to Writer’s Digest where you can find “100 Creative Writing Prompts for Writers.” (Lipp) This article gives you a list of 100 quirky, interesting prompts you can use to get going and get writing.
If you still don’t have enough fodder for the writing mill, use the search term “Fiction Writing Prompts” and you’ll uncover web page after web page filled with prompts for every style, voice, and genre of fiction writing.
Now that you’ve uncovered your prompt, you might be asking yourself, what do I do with this? Well, in my experience, a writing prompt is a good way to take a break from writing a piece which may have stalled. It’s also a good way to keep writing between projects. And you can use them to spark a new idea when you’re feeling particularly uninspired.
So, the next time you’re feeling like you just don’t have any more creativity to draw from, take a break and try a writing prompt. The adage of “use it or lose it” is very applicable to writers, so don’t let your writing muscles go unused for too long. Use a writing prompt and keep in practice – you never know, your next lightning bolt moment of inspiration may just come from a writing prompt!
Now that you’ve learned all about using writing prompts and just how many web pages there are out there that can help you find a prompt that suits your needs, show me what you’ve got! Use one of the websites I’ve listed above (or find one of your own), choose a writing prompt, then comment below with the first couple paragraphs of what you produce. I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
“Creative Writing Prompts.” Creative Writing Prompts, http://creativewritingprompts.com/. Accessed 4 May 2022.
Esser, Michael. “Writing Prompts 101.” Managing Your Life > Writing Exercises, Author Learning Center, https://www.authorlearningcenter.com/writing/managing-your-writing-life/w/writing-exercises/2907/writing-prompts-101—article. Accessed 4 May 2022.
Gonchar, Michael. “Over 1,000 Writing Prompts for Students.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 12 Apr. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/12/learning/over-1000-writing-prompts-for-students.html.
Lipp, Cassandra. “100 Creative Writing Prompts for Writers.” Writer’s Digest, Active Interest Media/The Arena Group, 24 Mar. 2021, https://www.writersdigest.com/be-inspired/creative-writing-prompts-for-writers.