Writing Prompts ~ Procrastination or Valuable Tool?

August 31, 2009 at 7:29 PM | Posted in Writing, Writing Advice | 3 Comments

I would like to start this short post off with a suggestion. Try typing “creative writing” into the Google search box. Even those of you who have been writing your whole lives might not know there is a whole about.com page about writing.

 Now, I’m not going to digress into why I feel there shouldn’t have to be an about.com page on creative writing (I mean, geez… who Googles to figure out if they have all the symptoms of that dreadful disease?) so I’ll talk about the first thing that comes up on the page… the value of writing prompts.

 There are other pages. “Getting started,” “Summer Reading for Writers,” and “Getting Published,” to name a few, but for this post I want to talk about writing prompts. Why are prompts on the very “homepage” of about.com’s creative writing article? Maybe there is more to writing prompts then first meets the eye. Maybe they have more value than I’d always felt.

 The truth is, writing prompts really are a valuable exercise for the creative writer. They are not a tool for procrastination while you close the document with your actual work in progress. If anything, they can help you write that work better by sparking your creativity. Writing prompts can expand your writerly horizons, force you to write about actions, thoughts, emotions, images that you would never think to write yourself or feel even remotely comfortable writing. They train your mind in a way that it won’t forget anytime soon, and those lessons will only help you while you write the great American novel.

 So try it. Sit down and see if writing prompts work for you. See if they expand your mind and spark your creativity. See if it crushes the writer’s block. Try the photo prompts… take a look at a photo, study it, then write write write for 5 minutes straight.

 Try it!

 Some sites with writing prompts:




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  1. Thanks for the links Race! They are very useful.

  2. My mom used to have pictures in her (grade 5) class that she got them to use as writing prompts. They were really neat. They were by some children’s author who took them to an editor for consideration (way back when unsolicited things weren’t evilevilevil) and then went POOF and vanished into thin air. (Not like, right there in front of the editor, but, you know, when the editor tried to get in touch to tell him they wanted to publish his stuff, they couldn’t find him.) Anyway, great post! :D

  3. I use writing prompts ALL THE TIME. I love them.

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