Writing Prompts: What They Are and How to Find Them

You’ve been trying to figure out what to write for at least three hours. It sucks. I’ve been there plenty of times. You’re wracking your brain trying to figure out what you want to talk about for just one post, all you need is content for one post, but nothing’s coming.

That’s the kind of thing writing prompts were made for.

A writing prompt is a word, sentence, phrase, and/or idea — or series of them — that you can turn to for inspiration for writing. You start with that word, that sentence, that phrase, that idea, that question, and you write something based upon it. It can be as short as a drabble or as extensive as a long-form blog post, or it can turn into a full-blown novel. The idea is to just get you writing.

Who needs writing prompts?

Any writer that needs a push.

You can draft a blog posting schedule on writing prompts alone, as some sites offer monthly word lists that can be used for this purpose. They aren’t just meant for fiction writers, either, non-fiction prompts abound all over the web.

Types of writing prompts

Prompts come in multiple flavours: single word, phrase, question, scenario, sentence, and more. When you write from a single word prompt, you’re taking that word — ‘apple’, for example — and writing something including or about that word. The same goes for a phrase or sentence prompt — you use or write about that phrase or sentence. In question prompts, you’re answering a question, and with a scenario prompt, you write whatever scene you’re being asked to write.

It’s also possible to write prompts based on pictures, though they aren’t quite as common. A photograph or piece of art gets presented and you have to write something, anything, that comes to mind.

How to respond to writing prompts

There’s no set way to respond to a writing prompt beyond just getting something down on paper or computer screen.

How you answer a prompt depends entirely on your preferences — do you write narratives? Are you a blogger? Do you write poetry? However you decide to write, it’s up to you! The point of answering writing prompts is to get creative and flex your writing muscles. Just write.

I know that’s usually easier said than done, but just trust me on this: when you find the right prompts, the words will come. If they aren’t? Then that’s not the right exercise — pick another!

Where to find writing prompts

Not only do I share prompts on my Pinterest page, you’ll find them on these other sites and by searching Google:

  • /r/WritingPrompts – Reddit’s home for all sorts of prompts. Browse at your leisure! Just be careful, since it is Reddit.
  • Writer’s Digest Prompts – A highly recognizable name for writers, Writer’s Digest usually publishes writing prompts once per week.
  • Writing Prompts on Tumblr – A specialty Tumblr blog for all sorts of zany writing prompts. Their archive goes all the way back to 2010!
  • Writers Write on Pinterest – Writers Write is a fantastic source of writing prompts, and they post every day. Check out their website and sign up for prompts in your e-mail!

Where do you like to go to find writing prompts? Have you used them to help give your writing a boost? Tell us in the comments, and share your results!

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