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Creative Prompts for Writing July 13, 2011

When you’re running short of ideas for your writing, there are a few methods via which you can try to get over the proverbial block that sits between you and your goal of writing. You can ask your friends, you can draw from something you’re already reading, you can sit outside and wait until you eavesdrop on an interesting conversation, so on and so forth. But one of the time-tested and age-old methods is, of course, to seek inspiration from a writing prompt.

I had every intention of writing a blogpost with a list of good resources for writing prompts online. I wanted to say “if you’re running dry of ideas, go here or here or here and here, and they should give you ample fuel for your writing drive.”

And this search was spurned by need. As some of you may know, I intend to participate in Camp NanoWriMo this summer, but I have not yet been able to start. Why? Lack of inspiration. So what better a topic for a blogpost than offering sources that I myself am in desperate need of. Right? Right? Ehhh.

But what I’ve encountered is, instead, a slieu of websites that are either teacher-exclusive resources, touting books that have good prompts in them, and/or offer free prompts online but really, really suck.

Granted, it’s true that listing three nouns and telling someone to go with it can inspire some and create a story, (“a stolen ring, a fear of spiders, and a sinister stranger” from this site) but when all of the prompts are like that, not only do they cease to be inspiring, but the writing that they prompt ceases to feel unique or organic. This site does offer a slight deviation from this format if you scroll down, but they all seem to be completely based on scenario. This unilateral approach to writing prompts is a problem.

Keeping this in mind, I did find one website that seemed to have good prompts.


I know, the title is obvious. And it is the first site I ran across. And when I hovered in order over the first few prompts, I was feeling less than enthusiastic. But when I got through them a little bit further, I began to realize what it is about this website that makes these prompts successful (at least, in my opinion):
They offer different kinds of inspiration.

They aren’t all “think of these random things then write a story.” They aren’t all “Think of a time when you felt [insert emotion here].” And they aren’t all “What would happen if X type of people were thrown into Y scenario?”
This website instead offers a mix of these.

I’m certain that there are other sites out there that are similar to this one in this respect, but during my quick search which I thought would offer many, I found only this one. So if you are bored with your current prompt website or haven’t used one before but are totally blank of inspiration, I highly recommend giving creativewritingprompts.com a look.

To wrap this up, I would like to think about something that occurred to me through the course of looking for a good site full of many and varied prompts. Writing creative Creative Writing Prompts must be a daunting or difficult task. Maybe they’re born of the ideas you have that you think would make a good story, but it’s one that you yourself aren’t up to writing. Or maybe it’s just that you yourself don’t have the confidence to write it. Or maybe (and these I think would be the lackluster ones) it’s your job to come up with these prompts and instead of actually thinking of prompts that would inspire you to write, you just list random things that you think could make a story for someone out there and you throw them on a website and call them useful.

But, maybe, the best creative writing prompt is to try to brainstorm creative writing prompts. I haven’t tried it yet myself, but who knows? Thinking of ideas to inspire stories might make you pause and realize that you’ve just inspired yourself.
Maybe not. Could happen.


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