Getting Started with Writing Prompts

Ready. Set. Write.
I’ve been leading writing workshops and taking part in writing groups for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve amassed a large, messy pile of writing prompts. My writing pals have urged me to turn the prompts into a book, but, this being the 21st century, I’ve decided to create a blog for them instead. (The book can come later.)

What is a Writing Prompt and Who Can Benefit From One?
A strong writing prompt offers a hand-up when you are feeling unfocused, unmotivated, or unsure. These prompts can be used individually or in a group. Try them as a warm-up unrelated to writing you’re working on or integrate them into a story, essay, or novel that’s underway.  These prompts focus mostly on prose, but poets and experimental writers should feel free to jump in. Above all, remember to

travel big

Most prompts will fall under one of these categories:

  1. Structure, Lists, and Fill In the Blanks
  2. Time, Place, and Memory: Prompts that Engage with the Passage of Time
  3. Sensory Prompts: Prompts that Work with Photos, Objects, Sound, Taste, and Even Smell
  4. On Their Shoulders: Work by Great Writers Serves As A Jumping Off Point
  5. Our Own Words: Tearing Up, Turning Over and Reworking Our Writing
  6. Reference Desk: Using Dictionaries, Manuals, Encyclopedias As Inspiration
  7. Wild, Random, and Utterly Free: Using Chance and Play to Loosen Up and Go Deeper

That’s the scoop.  Tune in tomorrow for your first prompt.

Write back at you…

Ellen

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