Writing prompts are easy to come by on Instagram and Pinterest, but is there a benefit to using them? Keep reading to find out why writing prompts are important for all writers, whether they’re beginners or more advanced.
What are writing prompts?
In short, writing prompts are a starting point for what you’re writing.
There are many different kinds of prompts, like character prompts, dialogue prompts, story starters or word prompts. Even a picture can work as a writing prompt! You could even point at a random sentence in a book and use that as a writing prompt.
Writing prompts are different from writing exercises because prompts more abstract and they’re not necessarily telling you exactly what to write and they’re not focused on teaching you specific writing skills.
Examples of writing prompts
- Sheila had never seen her neighbour do anything like that until Tuesday morning.
- “Maybe you hate everyone who succeeds at anything, but you will not stand between me and moving into that castle.”
- Write about a potter who can talk to clay (and the clay talks back)
- Use these words in your story: TICKLE, MANNEQUIN, RAVEN, PIZZA.
What can you do with writing prompts?
In my opinion, anything that helps you find more inspiration is good for you. If you don’t find writing prompts inspiring, it might just be that you’re looking at the wrong ones.
If you want to become a better writer, it’s a good idea to practice writing even when it doesn’t lead to a full novel or anything that you’re going to share with others. Writing prompts can be a fantastic starting point for a writing exercise.
When you’re writing something based on a prompt, you aren’t just practising your writing skills, you’re also practising your creative thinking skills. The more difficult or “out there” your prompt is, the more you need to think differently. It’s useful for beginner writers, but a crucial skill for professional writers as well.
Beat writer’s block with writing prompts
Despite the name, a writer’s block is not actually a “writing block”, it’s a “thinking block”. Using tricky writing prompts teaches you to think creatively, which helps you think your way out of whatever is blocking your writing. In addition, you can use a writing prompt to get yourself writing when you’re stuck with your story. You don’t even need to keep what you wrote if it doesn’t fit with the rest of your story – the act of writing is important enough.
Explore new genres with writing prompts
Using a writing prompt can also be an avenue to explore new kinds of writing and different genres. Maybe you’ve always been curious about writing romance, but you’re not sure if you’re up for the task. You could try writing something with romantic themes and use writing prompts to help you get ideas.
Or maybe you want to write something darker than what you’ve ever written, but you need to practise first. Writing with dark, horror-themed writing prompts can help you hone your skills before you start writing a full novel, plus you’ll get more inspiration and you can learn to think of the creepier things of life.
Where can you find more writing inspiration and story ideas?
I mean, anywhere, I guess. But here are some of my blog posts where you can find story ideas:
Where can you find writing prompts for beginner writers?
I don’t necessarily think there are writing prompts that are more suited for beginner writers – it all depends on what you need. A fanfic writing prompt might be difficult for a professional writer who’s never written fan fiction, and at the same time, a really complex writing prompt might be easier for a beginner writer than something less specific.
If, on the other hand, you’d like help with becoming a better writer, you should check out my post with the best beginner writer exercises.
Where can you find writing prompts? What are the best websites for writing prompts?
Like I said earlier, the world is full of writing prompts. Unfortunately, not all of them are so fresh, and you might feel even less inspired after reading them. That’s why I want to keep creating writing prompts that are different from ones that you’ve already seen a million times.
You can browse through my collection of writing prompt books and find exactly what you need, and I also have a free collection of 40 writing exercises that you can use to practise your writing skills. Check them out!