5 Creative Writing Prompts That Cured My Writer’s Block


Meg Kennedy, Author

As a writer, you sometimes hit a point. Face flat against the desk, hair splayed, eyes screwed shut as you rack your brain for just one more idea. I know I’ve been in this prompt purgatory one too many times. In hopes to solve this mini-crisis, here are five prompts to alleviate writer’s block:

1. Write an ode to a random object. Think of a chair, a toothbrush, or maybe your bedroom. This type of random observation of a mundane object gives you much more appreciation for these tiny, yet vital parts of all of our lives. When we look into these parts of our lives in our work, it creates specificity that give the reader a clearer image. It opens our eyes to the meaning behind our actions, and connects us to those who share a similar, just as mundane existence.

2. Write a letter to someone about a memory you have. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a memory you have shared, but sometimes writing a letter can spark some understanding of your own thoughts, visions, and emotions. When I practiced this prompt over the summer, I wrote a letter to my younger brother about how I used to play with him as a baby. It pushed me to look back into small memories I forgot I even had. This prompt can bring out tiny memories that could be useful not only for the piece produced from this prompt, but for other pieces you may have. Reflecting on the details of your life can bring out important images for your work.

3. Start your piece about a concrete image (a lake, a house, a rock, a TV screen in your aunt’s guest bedroom,) and shift to an abstract concept like (love, hope, justice,) and observe how they connect. This is the very heart and soul of creative writing. Connecting our experiences or stories to a concept can give us a new perspective of that concept. I got one of my favorite poems out of this prompt. At its core, it’s a fairly simple prompt, but sitting down to reflect can give you a starting point for dealing with more complex topics. When you feel lost or hopeless, starting from the basics and building upon that can be an easier path than jumping head first into a piece about love.

4. Open a dictionary to a random page and point to a random word, switch pages and repeat this process for 5 to 10 words and use them in a piece. This is another example of a basic way to get the process going. It also gives you some structure to work off of when you’re feeling overwhelmed. In situations like these, structure provides creativity. Similar to when you’re working on a sonnet, restrictions push you to question how words work together. Using words you have to find randomly is a great exercise to see how you can create new metaphors or images.

5. Create a pattern in a short piece just to break it with your main point. Working with patterns allows you to focus on the format and syntax of your piece. If you feel like the rhythm or cadence of the piece feels off, work on the sound. Read it out loud, sing it if you have to! The point is, creating a steady pattern and breaking it allows the emphasis on that one line. It draws the reader’s attention and refocuses what you’re talking about to that point. Writing isn’t just about word choice, and relooking at these components allows you to see your work in a new light.

Speaking from experience, these prompts have definitely helped me organize my thoughts when it comes to any type of writing, whether it’s non-fiction, poetry, or fiction. I hope you find the same success after you give them a try, and if you feel inclined, send your finished pieces over to The Lance staff for consideration in our 2019-2020 edition. They can be submitted to Ms. Yanson or myself, Meg Kennedy, through email. Happy writing!