Whether your dream is to become a novelist or you’re just looking to hone in on your creativity, writing prompts are a great way to start. A prompt gives you the chance to journal freely and take the guesswork out of exactly what you’re going to write about. The result can be becoming more comfortable in your prose, or even thinking of an brand new idea of your own. Practice makes perfect, and writing is no exception to that rule. Like anything, writing skills are a muscle that needs to be exercised.
Here are a few writing prompts to help start you off:
Dear 17-year-old self. I forgive you for…
Chances are, when you were 17, you did something that made you cringe – whether it was as simple as a strange outfit choice, or something more complex, like the significant other that you couldn’t let go of, even though they were terrible for you. Whatever it was, it can not only be therapeutic for you to write it down and forgive yourself for it, but it can help you get in touch with your feelings as a writer. For an even more cathartic experience, you can rip up the paper or throw it away when you’re done.
If only I’d remember to bring that stupid beach ball, none of this would’ve happened, I thought, as I angrily washed the ice cream out of my hair.
Okay, you’re probably looking at this prompt in confusion, but this is a fun one! It can help to work backwards: what is a situation that could end with ice cream in your hair and start off with you forgetting a beach ball? This can be as silly as you want, and it can help you get comfortable with the idea that first drafts are hardly perfect.
Walk outside and describe the noises you hear.
This is a simple one, but it can help with showing, not telling in your descriptive writing. Pay attention to the noises that you’ve probably become immune to, such as birds chirping or cars honking, and take your time to describe them and how they make you feel.
Describe the process of burning a CD to someone younger than you.
Ah, the days of Limewire and Napster and all of those other websites that you may or may not have used, that may or may not have put viruses on your desktop computer. Do you remember the process of making mix CDs for your friends? If so, write it down as if you were talking to someone in elementary or middle school.
Beyoncé’s behind you in the checkout line at Target. What do you say to her?
You can swipe out Beyoncé’s name for any person that inspires you, but I chose Beyoncé for obvious reasons. Think of what you would say to her as she checks out all of her vegan groceries, and write it down. Not only is this a great writing exercise, but in the chance that you do meet her, you’ll already know what to say, which is a double win.
Think of your all-time favorite song. Now, argue the reasons of why it sucks.
Many of us have our own opinions and stand by them fiercely, whether it’s a song or a political view. This prompt can help with seeing both sides of a situation, whether you’re wanting to write an article objectively or write characters with opposing views in fiction. It can be hard to get out of own heads, but this prompt can definitely help!