Writing Prompts for Creative and Non-fiction Writers
When is the last time you challenged yourself to write outside of your comfort zone?
I love to write and have found an appreciation for the benefits that come from challenging myself to engage in different writing styles. Writing is cathartic in many ways, from personal journals, to just having a place to allow your mind to explore.The best writers are well-rounded and always open to exploring new ideas and writing techniques.
Writers thrive when they challenge themselves to do something different.For those of us who primarily write non-fiction or informational articles, we should challenge ourselves to also write fiction or poetry. It helps develop creative thinking and makes our informational writing more colorful and engaging.
Informational writing is better when it grabs readers by invoking feeling. When is the last time an encyclopedia really got your blood pumping? When readers value what we write; they come back for more. Creative writing gives that edge to standard, informational writing.
On the other hand, those who primarily do creative writing also benefit by writing that is more structured. For creatives, structure allows ideas to flow more cohesively and helps develop story lines that flow nicely and are easy to follow and understand.
I know I quickly get frustrated with stories that “jump around” or are carelessly worded and arranged. I appreciate the effort it takes for a writer to really make their prose flow well.
Both writing styles work to enhance each other and we should avoid being only “one type of writer”. Empower yourself to be the strongest writer possible by exploring many different styles.
Below are 101 random writing prompts or ideas. Some are creative and others are for non-fiction work. The idea is to pick one that seems challenging and just start writing.
Free writing is a great way to get your ideas out on paper. Go back to it later and develop the good parts into other works. Who knows? Maybe there will be some good hub ideas born here! You may also find that you learn some things about yourself in the process and that’s always wonderful too! I really believe that writing has the power to change our lives.
1) If I were a superhero my special power would be……
2) If I were an animal I would choose to be a ……., because………..
3) Describe a random inanimate object near to you right now – without saying what it is.Paint a word picture that makes people understand what you are writing about.
4) Pick an inanimate object and tell a story through its eyes as though it were a living being.
5) What 3 words best describe you and why
6) If you could interview one person, alive or dead, who would it be and what 3 questions would you ask them? What do you think their answers would be?
7) What have you always wanted to try that you have never done?
8) Name the top five best vacation spots according to your experience and “sell” people on the idea.
9) Who do you think you are?
10) How to win at ___________. (pick a game you are good at)
11) The best free activities to enjoy in your area
12) You are a talk show host – how do you run your show and what is it about?
13) The best way to deal with a difficult relative
14) Is honesty always the best policy? Why or why not?
15) A day in the life of your cat/dog through his/her eyes.
16) What is the best season of the year and why?
17) How do you save money on groceries?
18) What is your favorite color and how does it make you feel?
19) Coffee or Tea?
20) How do you handle a cold?
21) Describe yourself as your favorite mythical creature (unicorn, fairy, dragon etc.)
22) Today is your last day on Earth – what do you do with it?
23) What is your extended definition of maturity?
24) Create an extended definition for the first word that pops into your head.
25) What do you hate about writing?
26) This morning I sat up quickly and looked out the window and there it was, a ……….
27) Suddenly it moved, startling her and she………..
28) What does it mean to be a Man/Woman? (Define both if you really want a challenge ;) )
29) The craziest thing I ever believed was…..
30) Top 10 ways to spend a lazy day
31) Top 10 favorite (movies/songs/whatever) and why
32) The best thing that ever happened to me was….
33) The most wonderful thing about today so far is ……..
34) Persuade – Is texting a good thing? Why or why not
35) Persuade – any subject you are passionate about that is not religion or politics – think outside the box
36) Persuade – why do you deserve a raise?
37) The best way to prepare oatmeal
38) Tips for making awesome cookies or whatever dessert comes to mind
39) Is all soda bad for you – why or why not? (use sources to back your claim)
40) What is the best way to eat healthy?
41) Combine the follow 3 things into a work of writing: a coffee cup, fear of snakes, and a sunny day
42) Your character suspects his/her spouse is lying to them or worse, cheating. When they investigate they discover a big surprise and it’s …
43) You walk out of your front door and discover there are no people around – everything is quiet and eerily not right… what happened?
44) Your character thinks the boss is about to fire him so he ….
45) Pick one of your greatest strengths and develop a character of the opposite gender who also has that strength
46) Develop the scene of a great ghost story
47) Picture an ideal land/place in your mind and then describe it in vivid detail.
48) Hey, what’s that up there in the sky?
49) Holy cow! I can’t believe they did that! (What did they do?)
50) Pick your favorite meal and describe in detail how you prepare it
Do you struggle with keeping your thoughts, ideas, notes and plans organized? If so, you should consider investing in Scrivener. This software has a virtual cork board with note cards that allows you to visually move things around. It also has an outliner feature where you can organize ideas using as many levels as you want with drag and drop capability. It also has a targeting and statistics feature that shows a continuous live word/character count on the screen. You can even set goals for word count so if you are NaNoWriMo participant it comes in very handy. This is an amazing organization tool and worth every cent for all the features you get.
Getting organized can help you overcome the writer's block and procrastination that comes from being overwhelmed by too much "clutter" in your workspace, writing, and brain :).
51) Would a monkey make a good pet?
52) What would life be like if you were only one foot tall?
53) What would life be like if you were 10 feet tall?
54) What foreign country would you most like to visit and why?
55) If there was a planet of alien life forms what do you suppose they would be like?
56) How do you take a great picture?
57) If you could do anything you wanted to right now, with no limitations, what would it be?
58) You’re driving down the road when suddenly….
59) It was a lovely day to go for a walk so she took a different route and what she discovered was…
60) Describe what it’s like to sit by the ocean
61) What are the benefits of spending time alone? Do you do it often enough or too much?
62) Which of your relatives do you like the least and why?
63) What is your greatest accomplishment?
64) What do you want to be remembered for?
65) Write your own eulogy (tough one!)
66) What historic figure do you admire the most?
67) Which historic person do you feel you are most like and why?
68) The biggest lie I ever told was….
69) How do you write a great short story?
70) What steps do you take as a writer to really polish your writing
71) What are your best writing tips
72) Pick a hobby and describe how to do it in 10 simple steps
73) Who is the most interesting person you have met?
74) The most unusual thing happened to me today ….
75) She opened up the door and ……
76) When I was a child my favorite thing to do was …
77) How do you grow a _______ plant? (Pick one – whatever you like to grow an herb, veggie, flower etc.)
78) How to be a great (whatever your career or hobby is here)
79) 5 simple ways to make more money
80) 5 simple ways to add more joy to your life
81) Why credit is good/bad
82) Develop a plan to build something and share it
83) Complicate something simple ;) the opposite of what we normally do.Take something simple and really break it down in very basic parts. – getting out of bed, starting the day, eating breakfast or anything else you can think of
84) Describe a unique ritual or habit you have and how it came to be
85) Do you love yourself the same way you love others? Why or why not?
86) Choose a random photograph from your collection.Look at it for a few minutes and then write about how it made you feel and the thoughts that came up
87) “Silence is golden” – why?
88) What were you like 10 years ago? What will you be like 10 years from now?
89) What do you want to do right now?
90) What are you afraid of? Create a character with the same fear or phobia and describe them in detail.
91) Create a single character based on a composite of your mother and father.
92) Describe the perfect place for a pair of soul mates to meet.
93) Describe the scent of freshly brewed coffee or bread baking
94) Describe various colors to a person who has always been blind to help them conceptualize them.
95) You find yourself alone in a spooky old house so you ….
96) You look in the mirror and your face is missing – instead you see ….
97) Your top ten cooking tips
98) How do you ride a bike?
99) What is the best national park in your area and why?
100) Describe your favorite local restaurant and convince someone why they should go there.
101) What is the best piece you have ever written and what makes it so?
© 2011 Christin Sander
Suzie from Carson City on March 30, 2019:
Oh my, I knew none of this.. I won't comment on the HP thing because they make me very angry! I'm sorry you're not here anymore but very happy you're doing something so worthwhile that you love. I will send you my private email, although so many here know it, it's hardly private. I'd like to chat one day. Take care honey....Peace, Paula
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on March 30, 2019:
Nice to see you again. I don't do HubPages anymore at all because we had a "difference of opinion" shall we say and they decided the best response was to demote all of my content and I am waiting for enough to make payout and I'll be out permanently. We opened an art store and I teach art classes now and I am doing well :) Hope all is well with you too!
Suzie from Carson City on March 28, 2019:
Christin.....You know what? I actually just jumped onto your site to say "Hello!"...long time no see and it's really nice to know you're going strong as usual. I'm "Pop, the Weasel" lately.....not here like I used to be but I do poke my head in as often as my schedule allows......Like right now!
Good to see dear lady! Peace, Paula
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on March 28, 2019:
You're welcome Sam glad you found it helpful.
Sam on March 25, 2019:
Thank you Christen. It is really helpful
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 28, 2019:
You're welcome :)
Aidan on February 21, 2019:
thx this helped me
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on April 23, 2018:
There are non-fiction prompts in the article. Google is also a helpful resource to seek out other prompts.
Sabrina on April 23, 2018:
I did not get any nonfiction on my behalf of this article. please add more nonfiction prompts!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on March 07, 2018:
Thanks for the feedback Emily, I'll keep that in mind for future articles.
Emily Sanford on March 07, 2018:
can u please post ideas that are literal non fiction topics? for example- the galaxy, spirits, or some sort of sport? that was what i was looking for but i really think these ideas would be useful to me in a different situation. But great ideas and wonderful inspiration!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 13, 2018:
Wonderful Daniel! I'm so glad they sparked your creativity and you had fun. That's excellent news.
daniel Liu on February 13, 2018:
these ideas inspired me to write more and helped me understand how fun it is to do so.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on January 19, 2018:
You're welcome Travis - glad it helped you.
TravisGMoney5 on January 18, 2018:
This was very helpful for a school writing project...thx
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on December 08, 2017:
Thanks Dan, hope you get hours of creativity from them.
Dan on December 07, 2017:
I liked the ideas
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 22, 2017:
you're very welcome laura :) glad you enjoyed them.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on April 28, 2017:
"horriable" nsome thing? Maybe you need a new hobby hon - or maybe you're a spam bot either way.... lol.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on March 13, 2017:
Well lulu, I suggest you sit down and try. Writing requires effort and just doing it. Prompts are just that - prompts, you have to do the work.
lulu on March 13, 2017:
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 15, 2017:
You're welcome Lilly! :)
Lilly on February 14, 2017:
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on January 31, 2017:
You're welcome Lili
Lili on January 31, 2017:
I like this thanks
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on January 15, 2017:
Thanks Mike :)
Mike on January 15, 2017:
Cool page.Love it!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on January 14, 2017:
You're very welcome Isabella, so glad you found them helpful :)
Isabella on January 14, 2017:
This is a amazing page,
Ive started doing texts in a book and used this page for when I was stuck for topics
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on November 30, 2016:
Oh that's awesome szaretsky :) So glad it helped you win and congratulations!
szaretsky on November 29, 2016:
This helped me win an essay contest at school
jay crypto from USA on October 23, 2015:
thanks for sharing the info.
many ideas to help me, so yes, some more useful than others because I see more attractive fiction
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on September 22, 2015:
hi, you're welcome :)
hi on September 22, 2015:
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on February 19, 2015:
Thanks Kristen glad you enjoyed the hub. Hope it helps you get your muse going :)
Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on February 19, 2015:
Great writing prompts, Christin. I've been pulling a blank for the past couple of months, before I tackle my next novel this year.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on August 18, 2014:
Thanks Seasons. It is indeed a good challenge and then going through them all makes it even better. :)
Laura Brown from Ontario, Canada on August 18, 2014:
I wrote a 101 writing prompts post once. It was a good challenge in itself. :)
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on December 19, 2012:
Thanks everyone for the votes and sharing. Glad you enjoyed the prompts Paul :) hope some great hubs come from one or two of them.
Paul Richard Kuehn from Udorn City, Thailand on December 19, 2012:
You have listed a lot of very interesting and useful writing prompts. If I could think more out of the box like you, I think it would be easier for me to write. Voted up and sharing.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on December 18, 2012:
Coming in to share this again!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on November 03, 2012:
thanks so much for reading and sharing :) much appreciated.
Michelle Liew from Singapore on November 03, 2012:
Christin, I have put this in my reading list. Thanks for the writing prompts and I will use them. Sharing!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on August 01, 2012:
B Leekley - Thanks so much for the comment and the votes and shares! - much appreciated :D
Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on August 01, 2012:
Good advice and good prompts. Up, Useful, Interesting, shared, and bookmarked.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 29, 2011:
Hi ktrapp I love writing exercises. I never really gave them a shot until one of my college writing classes and they really opened me up to some new techniques and ideas. :) Glad you enjoyed the hub
Kristin Trapp from Illinois on July 28, 2011:
Very useful. Thanks for the writing-prompt ideas. We used to do this first thing in the beginning of my 8 a.m. freshman composition class in college. It was actually one of my favorite parts of the school day!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 10, 2011:
Thank you John I appreciate the compliment :) Glad you enjoyed the hub
John Yeoman from Story writing land in the centre of England on July 10, 2011:
Great tips! And I speak as a PhD in creative writing.
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 03, 2011:
Thank you for the comment - glad you found some useful prompts. I agree sometimes just getting started is the hard part. Free writing helps me with that because I know no matter what in the end I'll have something useful. Cheers :)
RandomThoughts... from Washington on July 03, 2011:
Thanks for the motivating direction tips....sometimes it is hard to just get started.
Danette Watt from Illinois on July 02, 2011:
Hi Christin, lots of great prompts here.
I agree with what you said regarding those who write primarily non-fiction, informational stuff (such as myself) need to practice at creative writing and vice versa.
Voted up and useful, thanks for sharing
attemptedhumour from Australia on July 02, 2011:
Hi Christine, i certainly agree with about being different. We can be who we want to be, go where we want and scoot off on tangents if we so desire. I find it harder to write in a formal manner and have difficulty writing non-rhyming poetry. Your list is a good idea and will no doubt help to avoid that dreaded writer's block. cheers
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 01, 2011:
You're welcome Adrianne, I'm glad you found them useful and encouraging. thanks for commenting
Adrianne on July 01, 2011:
Thank you Christin for sharing these wonderful writing prompts. I definitely feel more encourage to deep my creative writing!
Christin Sander (author) from Midwest on July 01, 2011:
Thanks Lenore - so glad you found some of them useful. I hope they lead you to a great piece of writing :)
Lenore Robinson from Delaware on July 01, 2011:
Thumbs up and useful! Many thought provoking ideas, thanks for sharing!
NicholasA from Midwest on June 30, 2011:
These are all awesome writing ideas. To only have a day that we could sit down and go through them all and write them out.