Ever since I started writing, I have loved using writing prompts. In fact, my first written stories came from writing prompts – I did many free creative writing courses, and each lesson normally had a prompt to use to create a story. I find that writing prompts stretches my imagination even further, enabling me to come up with stories I would have never previously considered. This is probably why many of my published stories came from writing prompts. With my writing group prompts, I have always been amazed by the many different stories and poems that come from a single prompt; no story is the same or even similar.
So, today I’ve decided to explain to the writing-prompt novices the benefits of using writing prompts, how to use them and where to find them because I believe that they have helped to make me the writer I am today.
The Benefits of Using Writing Prompts
The benefits are as follows:
- Helps to kick-start your imagination when you’re struggling for ideas.
- Allows you to experiment and try something new; for example, genre, a different point of view, style, type of literature, etc.
- Can unlock hidden ideas.
- Are easy and free to use.
- A good way to practice your writing – to improve your craft.
- Can use the prompt as a mini break from another project, especially if dealing with writer’s block.
- Makes you question the world and will eventually help you to develop the skill to see ideas in everything.
- Can help focus and warm up the mind.
How to Use Writing Prompts
When you have found a writing prompt, you should take the time to explore the prompt. This helps you to avoid the obvious ideas and clichés. With an idea in mind, you should then give the idea time to grow. Sometimes the prompt could become a larger piece, such as a novel or a long short story. Remember, your story should be as long as it needs to be. Also, you shouldn’t be afraid of a tricky prompt. A prompt that makes you work for the idea is normally a better prompt – you’re less likely to choose a boring, already done idea.
When you’ve written your story or poem, then you should share your work and ask for feedback – you need to make sure you choose someone who will give you constructive criticism. Once the piece is edited, then don’t hang onto it, submit it to a magazine, competition or webzine. You never know, you could get an acceptance.
Where to Find Writing Prompts
Here are some ways to find writing prompts:
- Writing groups – in my writing group (Oldbury Writing Group), our leader Angela sets us a weekly writing prompt. If you are not a member of a writing group, then you can find our writing prompts on the Oldbury Writing Group website.
- Writing prompt websites, such as Penguin Random House the Writers’ Academy website.
- Writing magazines like Writing Magazine.
- Creative writing courses – there are also free courses available like the courses on OpenLearn.
- Creative writing books.
So, there you have it, the benefits of writing prompts, how to use writing prompts and where to find them. I hope this inspires you to try writing prompts, and if you do, then let me know in the comment box below.
Keep writing, folks!