Writing prompts: Write your own!

I found myself today, searching yet again for writing prompts, because I was stuck installing 119 updates on my new laptop, and having to reboot the damned thing every ten or fifteen minutes means there hasn’t been a great deal of writing going on.

I don’t tend to use predefined prompts myself, as I write my own, which I’ll come to later, but since I was going to write this post about writing prompts, I figured I should check out what’s available at the moment.

The problem with googling writing prompts is that you invariably end up on  Creative Writing Prompts. Which is OK – they’re great prompts. And if you want to write something every day, then they’ll get you from January 1st to December 12th (or December 11th if it’s a leap year). So you decide to have the last three weeks of the year and start again on January 1st and you go back to the website, only to find that the website hasn’t been updated since 2011.

What other writing prompts sites are there?

I like  Writing Fix. They have prompts for left-brained and right-brained writers, and since a lot of them are based on random selection algorithms, it’s rare (although not totally unheard of) to get the same prompt twice.

If you don’t want to use that sort of randomness to spark your imagination, then you might want to check out Writing Prompts That Don’t Suck. And they really don’t suck! You get such madness as this:

Writing Prompt #4


I’m not sure where the narrative would go in the middle of there, but I’m pretty certain it would be a crazy, awesome story.

Nothing’s doing anything for me. What now?

If you really can’t find anything that fires up your creative engine, there are several things you can try, right from your computer, with minimal effort.

Photo Prompts

A random image can sometimes awaken something in your brain that you might not otherwise think about. Check out the Editor’s Choice page on Pixabay, for a fantastic choice of high quality images, like the one below, that are all public domain, so you can use them for pretty much anything other than porn and without attribution, although they do like it if you give a link back to the site.

Pixabay images as writing prompts

The ‘Dictionary Diving’ Method

You have a dictionary, right? What self-respecting writer doesn’t have a dictionary? Well now it’s time to put it to good use. Grab your dictionary and open it at a random page, then pick a random word from that page. Do this again another three or four times (or as many as you like, it’s your story) and then use all of your words in a short story. Or alternatively, use a site like Word Generator to choose some words for you.

An example of completely random words picked by the ‘dictionary diving’ method may be:

Relevant, Motorisation, Ungot, Brimstone, Slasher

Headline News

Look on any news website, of the Google News page, find a headline that stands out to you, and then without reading the real news story, write a story to fit the headline. Obviously this works best if it’s a headline for a story you’re not familiar with, otherwise you’ll be influenced by the real story.

Do I need anything else?

Quite possibly, as these are just a few of the possible methods to create your own writing prompts, but they’re the most reliable in my opinion. Random words are a good way to hone your writing skills, as it can be hard to find somewhere to put in a more unusual word like ‘ungot’. Photos can evoke an atmosphere, or give an interesting idea about a particular situation or environment. Headlines are great for setting a scene for you to write in. If you have any of these methods available to you, and since you’re almost certainly reading this in a web browser you already have, then you’re always only a few minutes away from a great writing prompt.

Hopefully this helps you get your creative kindling alight.

x Rebecca

4 Replies to “Writing prompts: Write your own!”

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