Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been writing for years, whether you are 9 or 89, everyone has days when they need help to get the creativity cranking. I often have to ‘trick’ myself into writing by telling myself I only have to write for 10 minutes. Usually, that’s enough for the words to start flowing, although some days are a harder slog than others. And of course that also depends on whether I’ve removed all social media and household chores from view, but that’s a whole other blog post.
At various points in my writing journey, I’ve found writing prompts to be a useful tool in helping put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). So I thought I’d share five prompts I return to again and again. I hope they will also be useful to you – perhaps in time to write a story for National Bookshop Day …
1. 5 Random Words
Ask those around you to give you the first word that comes in to their head, until you have collected five random words. Write a story that uses all five words.
2. First Line
Choose any book. Select the fifth sentence of chapter 5. Write the sentence into your journal and close the book. Now, use this sentence as the first sentence in your new story.
3. 10 Questions
Select a picture of your choice from a magazine, newspaper or photo collection – or use one I’ve included here as a starting point.
Write 10 open ended questions about your chosen picture. It doesn’t matter whether you can find out the answer. Just ask away.
Now answer those questions. There are no right or wrong answers – just use your imagination to invent a response.
4. What if?
What if? This is one of the key questions of all creativity, imagination and invention. What if there’s a monster under the bed? What if he jumps out at me when I get up to go to the toilet? What if he likes eating peanut butter sandwiches and playing monopoly?
Even science contains an element of the what if question. What if man could travel into outer space? What if I double the amount of magnesium in the chemical experiment? What if a pig’s heart valve could be used to replace a person’s faulty one?
For this writing prompt, you can choose from:
- the picture from your 10 questions writing prompt
- a completely different picture, such as the ones below
- any object in the room
Instead of 10 questions, ask 10 what ifs? See where it leads you …
5. Character Creation
Think of 3 people you know.
For each person, note down:
- a physical characteristic
- a strength or talent
- something they enjoy doing
- a weakness or something they dislike
Combine your notes from all three people to form a single character. Write a description of your created character.
Over to You
I’d love to know, which writing prompt/s did you attempt, and what did you come up with?