There are times I have scheduled my writing, yet my fingers sit on the keyboard waiting for the words to flow. Anticipating at least a trickle of words… Or please, “just give me the next five words… please!”
What do I do? Umm… Ahh… I’ll go refill my coffee and pray that inspiration will hit by the time I get back to my keyboard. Sometimes, I’ll switch projects hoping it will kick-start the ideas.
I also use writing prompts as warm-ups to get into the groove. Whether it’s journaling, writing my books and blogs (non-fiction), or practicing my craft (learning how to write fiction), prompts can get me started, provide new ideas and insights, or at least count as “writing time” on my tracking sheet. Here are some prompts I’ve tried and resources I’ve heard about. Some prompts are geared toward non-fiction, others for fiction, but all can get you started.
Prompts & Prompt Sources
Write a letter to your reader and tell them what they’ll learn.
Write a letter from your reader telling you the impact your book or blog had on their life.
What were your client’s challenges yesterday? Can you write a blog, a chapter, or a paragraph that would help?
What challenges are you facing? Can you take your insights and share with your readers?
What brilliant solution or option did you offer a client today?
What brilliant solution or option were you given today?
What questions do you get asked all the time?
Look around you. Write about one object you see.
I decided to move outside my writing comfort zone this year and improve my fiction writing skills. Just started the writing exercises in The 3 A.M. Epiphany by Brian Kiteley
Favorite exercise so far: UNRELIABLE THIRD. Write a fragment of a story from the POV (Point of View) of an unreliable narrator—third-person limited (or attached narration.
Hardest exercise: HISTORICAL OMNISCIENCE. Write about an event set well in the past, twenty or one hundred years ago. Write from above, as if by means of researched opinion (but I suggest you do little actual research).
Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is filled with exercises that can support and nurture your creativity. The book has exercises at the end of each chapter for you to recover your creativity. Many can be used as writing prompts as well.
My favorite childhood toy was…
Write and mail an encouraging letter to your inner artist.
Haven’t tried these (yet!) — the Writers’ HQ writing exercises
Another source of prompts I haven’t yet tried: 500 Journal Prompts: For Mental Health, Creativity, and Personal Exploration by Robert Duff. (But I have the book, so someday I’ll get to it 🤣). Here’s a few I randomly picked for a look.
What life lessons, advice, or habits have you picked up from fiction books?
Use an online tool like the Random Classic Art Gallery to find a classic piece of art. Write about the thoughts or feelings generated by that piece.
What is a fad that you totally fell into? How do you feel about it now?
So… do you have a favorite writing prompt? When do you use it?
further, farther Use further when the meaning is additional or continue, as in The manager needs further education if she is to be promoted. Use farther when referring to concrete distance, as in The farther he traveled from Beijing, the more he needed his translator.
~ The Business Style Handbook by Helen Cunningham, Brenda Greene