Looking for a starting point, or some inspiration for your work? Have an itch to write, but aren’t sure where to scratch? We’ve assembled a list of prompts to help you put creative rubber to the road.
The following prompts should be broad enough to apply to all writing genres. Non-writing mediums can make use of them, too: just swap out the word “write” for “draw” or “choreograph” or whatever is your creative verb of choice. We recommend not overthinking it, just take a deep breath, and get ready to create. Set your phone to airplane mode, silence your inner editor, and go!
- Write about a time when you lost something (e.g., an object, a belief, a relationship). Maybe it was your religious faith, maybe it was a stuffed animal, who knows?
- Find a book or article, the more technical and less creative the better. Flip through and randomly select, then copy down, 12 words. Freewrite and be sure to use all words at least once.
- Select a full phrase from the same book (or any book) and write it at the top of your page. Use it it some way: broken apart, modified again and again into nonsense, as a bizarre piece of speech.
- Write a scene in which two people are having a conversation, one of whom is withholding a potentially dangerous secret.
- Make a list of every job you’ve ever had (include unpaid jobs, volunteer work, gigs, internships, etc.). Now, choose one and write a detailed scene from that time, or use the list as a poem.
- Write a scene or story that begins with the arrival of an unexpected package.
- Think of a time when you witnessed animals moving en masse, whether on the ground, in the sky, or in water. Write about it.
- Write about the oldest, or youngest, person you know.
- Cover your computer screen with a piece of paper or dim it completely. You could also write by hand with your eyes focused straight ahead. Don’t check for grammar and don’t stop writing.
- Write while watching a movie or TV or a video. Use overheard speech if you want but also keep writing through musical interludes and pauses.
Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit, and revise, revise, revise. When it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.
[Art: ‘Tree at Bend in the Highway’, by Submittable team member Ben Bloch]