Every writer has days when the ideas come slowly or the words just won’t flow. One of the best techniques to get out of this rut is to use a writing prompt. Writing prompts are used by many writers as a mental exercise to banish writer’s block and start writing more freely.
What Are Writing Prompts?
Writing prompts take many forms, but they’re usually one or two-sentence phrases that provide writers with a starting point for a short story, poem, or other form of writing. They kick-start the writing process in order to help writers practice their writing without judgement. Their purpose is to help writers use their imagination, explore different writing styles, and sharpen their writing skills.
Daily Writing Prompts: Six Benefits
There are various benefits of using a writing prompt, but these are the main advantages:
- It gives you a starting point. With a prompt, you’re no longer staring at a blank page or screen. There’s something there to work with. All you have to do is let your imagination run wild.
- It gets you out of your comfort zone. Prompts make you think about things you don’t normally think about, encouraging you to try out different writing styles and genres.
- Writing exercises can help you rediscover the joy of writing.
- The work you produce from writing prompts can be kept for future reference, used for future inspiration, and you can even use excerpts in the writing that you sell.
- Writing daily builds your writing confidence and improves your ability to communicate ideas.
- You can use the work you produce from writing prompts to practice your editing skills. Revisit past exercises and try to improve the grammar, structure, conciseness, and flow of the writing.
Four Writing Prompts to Get You Started
Many websites provide daily writing prompts. Look for one that offers a range of different types and regularly provides new ones. To start the ball rolling, try the following writing prompts to flex your writing muscles.
1. You and another person (or several other people) are trapped in an elevator on New Year’s Eve…
Things to consider: What building are you in? Who are the other people in the elevator? Does the situation improve or get worse?
2. A Christmas card arrives in the mail thirty years after it was delivered…
Things to consider: Who finds the card? Is it clear who the card is from? How does the card’s arrival affect the lives of the lead characters?
Use these first sentences as a starting point:
3. Pretending to be her girlfriend for the night was harder than I thought it would be…
Things to consider: Change the gender of the people if you like. Where is the scene taking place? What is the reason for the pretence? Use first-person or third-person point of view.
4. This evening I found out that my daughter had magical powers, just 20 minutes before everyone was due to arrive for her seventh birthday party…
Things to consider: What are the girl’s magical powers? You could approach it from the perspective of the girl’s mother or father, or even from the perspective of the little girl. Write in the first or third-person perspective.
There are various ways to approach these writing prompts. You could set a timer for 15 minutes and write freely without pausing until the timer goes off. Alternatively, you could use the prompts as inspiration and go with your own ideas. For example, in the last example, you might decide that you have the magical powers. You could also decide to give yourself two hours to complete a whole short story.
Writing prompts are a simple way to build your skills as writer. Just one prompt can support days of writing, as there are many ways to interpret them. The more you practice, the better you’ll get at writing freely. They’ll also help you to develop more regular writing habits.
For more writing tips, check out our post “Five Freelance Writing Tips to Boost Success During the Holiday Season,” where you’ll find out ways to boost your productivity and increase your income potential.
The Constant Content blog is also full of advice on improving your skills as a freelance writer. For more inspiration, see what kinds of content clients are currently buying in the Writing Ideas section on your Constant Content account homepage.