Writing prompts are statements, questions, quotations, descriptions, assignments, topic suggestions and other aids to help you get started writing. Or get you restarted writing, when you are stuck.
I don’t know why more people don’t use them. Their effects are immediate. Few people have trouble writing something when they have writing prompts at hand. In fact, most people I’ve reminded about them have told me that they when they use them, they never lack for ideas and they get their writing done faster than ever before.
They can be for fiction or non-fiction. And whether they are written for fiction or non-fiction, they can be used in either. In fact, using fiction prompts for non-fiction helps you tell stories that illustrate your points in your articles and essays. They can help you jump-start articles with a fascinating story that attracts the reader’s attention in ways that mere facts cannot.
You have most likely been exposed to them since elementary school. Have you ever been asked to define a word and then use it in a sentence? That’s a writing prompt. Have you ever been assigned to write a two-page essay comparing and contrasting the presidencies of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? Or something similar? Writing prompt. Have you ever used a quotation to stimulate a blog post? Writing prompt. Could you write a love story about two chimpanzees, a banana and a giraffe? Writing prompt.
Writing prompts have been a mainstay for helping writers for centuries. They help you beat the “blank page” syndrome. They remind you of what you already know, so you can dig deeper into your memory and pull out great stories or great information to share. They can help you remember what to search for to learn more of what you need to know to finish a project. Or start one.
The great news is that there are many thousands of them available all over the internet for free. The list of prompts is so long that rather than suggest a large number of sources, I’ll just suggest that you enter “writing prompts,” “article writing prompts,” or “essay writing prompts” into your favorite search engine. You’ll have a lifetime of support at your fingertips.
Oh, and one more thing to recommend them: most of the good ones are a lot of fun to pursue.
Now, for my list of good places to find writing prompts. The list below contains writing prompts for both non-fiction and fiction. Even if you are writing articles, you end up writing stories, so fiction prompts are as good as non-fiction. And, if you write fiction, you need to write realistically and believably, so non-fiction prompts sometimes help with that. (For example, if you’re writing a story about a psychologist, you might want to throw in some therapeutic dialog about “emotional intelligence.” Or you might get inspired to write a story about a situation in psychotherapy if you get a prompt that has you define emotional intelligence and use it in a sentence.
Also, remember that writing prompts include topic suggestions, so some sources for those are on the list.
Just one more thing: I have made a pdf for you of 250 writing prompts from “Essays and Essay-Writing” by William M. Tanner. You can click the following link to get it at: http://superperformance.com/tools/250prompts.pdf (Yes, it’s free)
Get Some Writing Prompts From These 20 Websites/Articles:
1. Writers Digest — http://www.writersdigest.com/prompts
2. CreativeWritingPrompts.com — http://creativewritingprompts.com/
3. 501 Writing Prompts (free ebook) http://www.misd.net/languageart/grammarinaction/501writingprompts.pdf
4. Toasted Cheese — http://www.toasted-cheese.com/
5. FreelanceSwitch.com — http://freelanceswitch.com/freelance-writing/50-ways-for-writers-to-find-article-ideas/
6. Creative Writing Solutions — http://www.creative-writing-solutions.com/creative-writing-prompts.html
7. The One Minute Writer — http://oneminutewriter.blogspot.com/
8. Dragon Writing Prompts — http://dragonwritingprompts.blogspot.com/
9.101 Topics from GetInFrontCommunications — http://www.getinfrontcommunications.com/101-topics-to-write-about-in-your-articles-newsletters-and-blogs.php
10. Buzzle.com — http://www.buzzle.com/articles/interesting-topics-to-write-about.html
11. Write101 — http://www.write101.com/10topics.htm
12. Write Direction — http://www.writedirection.com/50-article-blog-title-ideas
13. 163 Questions to Write or Talk About (NYTimes) — http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/12/163-questions-to-write-or-talk-about/?_r=0
14. 100 Blog Topics I Hope YOU Write — http://www.chrisbrogan.com/100-blog-topics-i-hope-you-write/
15. 25 Writing Ideas and Article Topics to Reach Your Audience — http://blog.ezinearticles.com/2013/09/25-writing-ideas-and-article-topics-to-reach-your-audience.html
16. 60 Proven Ways to Generate Unlimited Article Writing Ideas — http://www.wakeupcloud.com/article-writing-ideas/
17. 100 sports features ideas — http://www.walsworthyearbooks.com/idea-file/16980/100-sports-features-ideas/
18. Writing Prompts/Journal Topics — http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/prompts.html — Note: This article is for prompts for kids. The questions are still great for adults.
19. Want to Be a Freelance Writer? 5 Topics to Write About — http://www.wahm.com/articles/want-to-be-a-freelance-writer-5-topics-to-write-about.html — Note: This covers the 5 topic categories that get the most views and make the most $. As long as you’re writing, you might as well think about profitable writing.
20. 7 Secrets to Writing Top-Notch Blog Posts About Boring Topics — http://heidicohen.com/7-secrets-to-writing-magnetic-blog-posts-about-boring-topics/ — Note: this article doesn’t give writing prompts per se, but it’s what you need to know about after you’ve chosen the topic and started writing.