Improve Your Writing Using The Best Prompts & Exercises
Ever find yourself in a writing rut? You try and try, but no matter how long you stare at the blank page or write, erase, and rewrite a sentence, the words just don’t seem to come. We’ve all been there, and it isn’t fun. Sometimes this uninspired moment turns into full-blown writers block; other times, all you need is a little boost. Don’t let these moments derail a project. Instead, try a writing prompt, a craft exercise, or some other writing practice to jumpstart your creativity. Writing prompts for adults are fun, quick ways to get your writing back on track, and you may be surprised: what starts as a silly writing prompt may turn into a serious new project.
What are Writing Prompts?
A writing prompt is an idea. It’s that initial spark that turns into the mighty blaze of a story. There are tons of free writing prompts online for you to choose from. The beautiful thing about a writing prompt is that no two authors are going to write the same story from it. One writing prompt can yield countless stories, because each writer has a specific and unique style, voice, and outlook.
It’s the beginning point. It could be as simple as one word. For example, a prompt could be the world “technology”: what do you think about when you think of technology? You could write a story in which the computer doesn’t exist, or you could write a story in which robots take over civilization. Or, you could write a comical story about the invention of the wheel. Or, a prompt could be a sentence or two. Imagine this is your prompt: you have just discovered time travel technology—where do you go? Or, more specific, when do you go? You can see how the possibilities are quite endless. Each writer will approach the same prompt differently.
Who Uses Writing Prompts?
The topic of this blog series is all about maintaining momentum and improving your craft. Writing, like any other skill, demands practice and growth. No writer wants to become stagnant. Writer’s block isn’t fun, and writing the same thing over and over again, completely uninspired as time goes on, is quite disheartening. You write because you love it; don’t grow bored or complacent with your work. You should be constantly striving to do more, achieve more.
Anyone and everyone can and should use writing prompts. There are tons of easily accessible writing prompts for kids (if you have a little writer in your life!) as well as writing prompts for adults. Search online for forums and websites that focus on writing. You’ll be met with a plethora of writing prompts for all topics and genres.
Boost your creativity using writing prompts, get out of a writing rut, discover new ideas, and improve your craft. Even if the story inspired by the prompt doesn’t turn into anything – or even if you don’t finish it—it’s a way to practice and refine your writing skills and have some fun doing it.
Finding Writing Prompts for Adults
Finding these writing prompts for adults is easy. Here are some great resources:
- Think Written (one writing prompt for each day of the year!)
- Writer’s Digest
- Writing Forums
What are Writing Exercises?
Writing exercises differ from writing prompts in that aim of writing prompts is to produce a story, or a part of a story. Exercises don’t necessarily have this same goal. These exercises are just quick little activities to jumpstart your creativity or produce new ideas. While you won’t be writing entire stories based on these exercises, you may find inspiration for your next project in them.
Here are some fun writing exercises to stretch your creativity:
- Write three different first paragraphs. See if any catch your eye.
- Describe your perfect day. What do you do? Who do you see?
- Write a letter to one of your characters. What do you want to say?
- Turn yourself into a character. Describe what you look like, sound like, and act like.
- Interview your characters. Get to know them so you can write them.
It’s okay if these exercises don’t lead to a new short story or poem or novel idea. Not everything can! Sometimes all the brain needs is a little silliness, a little fun, to kick back into gear and be ready to work again. If working on your novel or memoir or poetry collection gets to be a little too intense or draining, try one of these.
Other Writing Practices
- Free write. Write about anything! Anything and everything that comes to mind, put it on the page. Free writes are especially helpful when experiencing the dreaded writer’s block
- Stream of consciousness. Kind of like free writing, stream of consciousness writing is a bit loose, a bit free. Think of the way our minds work – constantly flitting from one thought to another, a bit messy, non-linear. Thoughts and feelings are presented without interruption.
- Second person. Try writing with a second person narrator, using the pronouns “you” and “your” instead of “I” and “me.”
- Dream journal. Now, this may seem silly, but good material can be collected this way. Set aside five minutes right after you wake up for uninterrupted writing time. Write about whatever comes to mind, be it how you’re feeling, what the day ahead holds, or a dream you just woke up from.
- Take notes on what you see throughout the day. The best writing draws inspiration from real life, even fantastical science fiction. Take notes on what you witness when you’re out and about. Maybe this is snippets of conversations overheard written down for future dialogue inspiration; maybe this is a gesture or mannerism of someone on the train that you find intriguing. The world is chock-full of inspiration.
Writing inspiration can come from anywhere. The times when we’re a bit blocked can feel like they’ll last forever, but they never do. Try one of these writing prompts for adults or another exercise to break yourself out of your rut. You’ll have some fun and improve your writing, and you may just discover your next big story idea.