Creative writing prompts: get inspired to write your best story

Creative Writing Prompts
How to look for writing prompts around you

The right creative writing prompts can inspire you and get you excited to write again. In this article, we’ll introduce 8 different creative writing prompts that writers of any age and experience will find helpful. Anyone who has ever picked up a pen or opened a word processor knows that writing is hard. It’s not just sitting down and coming up with the perfect sentence; it’s finding inspiration, getting in the right mood, and then keeping it going until you’ve finished your story. Creative writing prompts are a great way to spark imagination, get lost in the world of your characters, or find hidden meaning in familiar everyday things — like a road trip, going grocery shopping, or even eating ice cream on a hot day.

These are not going to be a long list of exercises (only the first writing prompt has exercises). This article is going to be 8 ways for you to find your own writing prompts and inspiration for your writing.

Writing prompts to build your writing skills

Every time you write you are improving your skill at writing. So, it is ok if you only write a paragraph or two and then move on. Not every piece of writing has to result in a recognisable finished story. A musician needs to practice a lot before they are ready to perform in front of people. It is the same for writers. 

Here are 3 ideas but that are many more available online.

So, for this writing prompt think of something you have not tried before. Have you written in the second person? (I love this exercise. Check out my published short story to see how I played with writing in the second person.) 

Write a descriptive paragraph only describing the items on your right-hand side. Now write it again without using the names of the items, or the colours. Find a word that you use a lot and write a descriptive paragraph without using that word.

Choose a sentence from a news article or somewhere that is not fiction. Either start your paragraph with the sentence or end the paragraph using the sentence.

Write something that makes you squirm

Feeling uncomfortable is often a good sign that we are getting to the juicy stuff. If it makes us squirm then it is something that not many people talk about but it’s important to expand on and talk more about. If you journal, you might find inspiration for an uncomfortable writing prompt from something that happened to you. You can choose if you want the same experience for a character or if there is something about the experience that you want to change.

Look for writing inspiration online

Usually, the advice for writers is to avoid the internet and social media. But google can be your friend when it comes to inspiration. Just make sure that you keep your end goal in mind. Use image search to see what photographs or paintings appear. Have a scroll and see do any of them look interesting and draw you in. Is there a backstory forming for any of the photographs or paintings?

Get lost in a book

This writing prompt might sound counterintuitive. Instead of telling you to sit down to write I’m telling you to read instead. But most writers want to write because of the books they read. So, if you are struggling to write, reading a book that inspires you can remind you why you want to write. A variation on this idea could be to write down what it is about your favorite book that inspires you. That will give you a direction to get started or a goal to aim for. You could also apply this advice to films, tv series, plays, or any storytelling that you find inspirational.

Find writing prompts by exploring your environment

If you are struggling to write when you sit down then try moving instead. Walk around the room, the house, or outside. Walking in nature always works for me but there is plenty of inspiration available in urban environments as well. Changing your surroundings can change your headspace and help you to find inspiration.

Talk to strangers

This writing prompt can be combined with exploring your environment. People are unpredictable, especially when you don’t know them. It can be very hard to predict how a stranger is going to respond when you ask a question. It doesn’t have to be a random person in the street. It could be the person serving you in a shop or cafe. Or even just listen to the conversations of strangers. Maeve Binchy learned to lip read so that she could find inspiration in busy cafes.

Doing housework can help you find writing prompts

If you find that you end up cleaning the house before sitting down to write it is not only procrastination. When our hands are doing repetitive tasks that we have done a thousand times before our brains actually get to relax and take a break. That is why you find yourself thinking of ideas clearing the kitchen table. When you are putting the same things in the same places several times a day you use less brain power to think about where things need to be put. So your brain has space to be creative.

For me, I also find that finishing a task around the house gives me a feeling of productivity and accomplishment and I can carry that into my writing time. Of course, this works best if I still have energy after cleaning the house. So, I pick a task or decide on a length of time and make sure that I stop while I still have the energy left to write.

Take a break

This writing prompt could be combined with exploring your environment, talking to strangers, or doing housework. When we put pressure on ourselves to write and produce it can often shut down the creative process. So, even though it does not always feel productive sometimes taking a break can give your brain the space it needs to be creative.

So, these are some different ways to find inspiration and look for writing prompts. As writers, our brains can find inspiration anywhere. It is just about getting used to looking for writing prompts, even when we are not writing.

But most importantly remember to have fun. Writing is optional. Many people live full, happy lives without ever feeling the urge to write. So, make sure that you are enjoying the process. Writing should not feel like doing homework for a subject that you hate.

Activity for writing prompts

Pick one of the ideas for finding a writing prompt that sounds the easiest for you.

Ideally, first try it when you are not struggling to write. This removes the pressure of needing it to work when you are stressed about not being able to write anything.

The success of the writing prompt can be measured in how many words you write but also in how inspired you feel. You might not write many words for the prompt but you could be inspired to go back to something else that you had been writing.

Then you have another tool for your writer’s toolbox that you can use when you are struggling to write.