Poetry is the most under-appreciated form of writing in the world today. Yet poems are ever-present in our lives. As children, we learn rhythm and language from nursery rhymes, and poems are read aloud at most major life events–baptisms, graduations, weddings, presidential inaugurations, and funerals–to name a few.
Today’s writing prompts are inspired by poetry but that doesn’t mean they have to inspire a poem. Use them to write anything you want; a short story, a blog post, a journal entry, or a freewrite. You might even try writing a song, keeping in mind that song lyrics are a type of poetry in their own right.
Some of these writing prompts require that you use an existing poem. Your poem choice can be a nursery rhyme, a Dr. Suess story, or song lyrics. Be open and creative, and have fun!
- The hallmark of great poetry is its imagery. A truly compelling poem paints a picture and invites the reader into a vivid and realistic scene. Choose an image or scene from one of your favorite poems and start writing.
- One of the most famous poems in the English language is “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” a lengthy ode to a favorite holiday. What’s your favorite holiday and why?
- Not all poems rhyme, but many do. And song lyrics often rhyme too. Other types of writing may incorporate less obvious rhymes. Give rhyming a shot.
- Some poems are more than just poems. They tell stories. “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” is one example. Shakespeare’s plays are another. Try writing a poem that is also a story, play, or essay. Or try writing a story or essay that is also a poem.
- Read your favorite poem and take a few minutes to contemplate it. Then, write something about the poem. Why do you love it? How does it make you feel? What makes this poem so special to you?
Choose whichever writing prompts speak to you the most. Once you’re done, come back and tell us how it worked out. And keep on writing!
Do you ever use writing prompts to inspire a writing session? Have you found them helpful? Got any writing prompts of your own to share? Leave a comment!
Writing provides a way to express one’s thoughts, feelings, or ideas. It’s a communication tool.
But writing can also be a tool for self-discovery and critical thinking.
Many authors have stated that they write stories so they can find out what happens to the characters they’ve created. Essayists explain that writing helps them organize their thoughts and ideas, and as a result they gain understanding of themselves and the world around them.
Today’s writing prompts encourage you to dig deeper into yourself and discover what you think about the big, unanswered questions. Even if you’ve already contemplated questions like these, writing out your answers may help you uncover ideas and beliefs you never knew you had.
What is Philosophy?
There are three branches of philosophy: natural, moral, and metaphysical. The term philosophy can refer to the study, analysis, and exploration of any of these branches.
Philosophy largely involves asking questions to which there are no known, absolute answers. Investigating these questions rationally helps us develop principles of existence, knowledge, and ethics or acceptable behavior. Belief systems, including spiritual paths, political systems, and religious organizations, are built on philosophical ideas and conclusions.
These philosophy-inspired writing prompts are designed to promote the exploration of philosophical questions from a personal perspective.
Philosophical Writing Prompts
You can use these writing prompts in number of ways. You can simply sit down and start writing out your answers to these questions in essay format, which is the best way to truly explore your thoughts. If you write fiction, then try answering these questions from the perspectives of your characters. This will help you better understand your characters’ motivations. You can also use these writing prompts to inspire a poem, story, or freewriting session.
- Humankind has been searching for the meaning of life for millennia. Is there any meaning or purpose to life? Why are we here?
- They say two things are certain: death and taxes. I disagree. Plenty of people live and die without ever paying taxes (for a number of different reasons). But everybody dies. Why? Is eternal life possible? Is there life after death?
- Have you ever had déjà vu, the strange sense that you’ve experienced something before? Have you ever felt like you were meant for something, that some event or moment in your life was fated? Do you think there is always a choice? In other words: do you believe in destiny or free will?
- Do you believe in a higher power or deity? Can the existence of a higher power ever be proven or disproved?
- Where does it all come from — the earth, the stars, the universe, us?
- Do good and evil truly exist? What determines an action or person as good or evil? Who gets to decide what or who is good or evil?
Did you find these writing prompts interesting? Which did you choose? Did you learn anything from your writing session? Leave a comment, and keep writing!
Writers and artists have always been inspired by the seasons. Winter, spring, summer, and fall have functioned as metaphors, backdrops, and even characters in literature.
Like all artists, writers are constantly hunting for inspiration. But inspiration is fleeting. Sometimes, we need a little help.
When inspiration isn’t coming from within us, all we need to do is look out the window or step outside, where nature offers an abundance of ideas.
That’s where these writing prompts come in. These prompts are designed to generate imagery that will inspire a writing session. Use these writing prompts to create a poem, a short story, or just spend about twenty minutes freewriting.
You can use these writing prompts to write anything you want. Change them or mix them up. Choose the prompts that seem most vivid to you. Use these as idea-starters to create prompts of your own. Just have fun with them.
- The sky is laden with dark clouds and the land is buried under a blanket of pale, gray snow. The ground, the streams, and the lakes are frozen and the whole world is eerily quiet and still. It’s the perfect day for . . .
- You have decided that this year, you’re going to take up a winter sport. Now that winter is here, you . . .
- There’s an old man out on the lake. He’s sitting in a rickety wooden chair and fishing through a hole in the ice. A loud cracking suddenly reverberates and he feels the ice shift beneath him. He scurries, but the hole expands too quickly and he goes into the icy water before he can get away. What happens next?
- It’s the season of snowmen and sleigh rides. Children are out galavanting on snowy slopes and making snow angels in their backyards. One little boy longs to join them, but he cannot, so he watches from his lonely upstairs window. Why can’t he go play outside?
- It’s the end of the fall semester and two college students are tackling an unusual project. They’re building an igloo. First, they choose an isolated spot on the crest of a small hill that borders the university town in which they live. Then, they start digging. It’s freezing cold and the work is tough. They’re exhausted. But they are awakened and warmed with excitement when they dig up something unexpected . . .
Do you ever use writing prompts to initiate your writing sessions? Have you found them useful? Do you have any writing prompts of your own to share? Leave a comment!
What I love best about the holiday season is that there are so many holidays to choose from.
Here in the U.S., most people consider the holidays officially underway at Thanksgiving. From Thanksgiving weekend through the first day of the new year, people are busy celebrating every holiday from Winter Solstice and Hanukkah to Christmas and New Year’s Eve, just to name a few.
I know that the holidays are a difficult time for many people. Those of us who have lost someone special in recent months or years tend to miss them most during this time. All the good cheer and festivities can be a sharp reminder of what’s missing from our lives.
That’s why it’s a good time of year for reflection. Instead of aching for those who are not here, let’s be filled with gratitude for the memories they left behind. Instead of obsessing over the goals we didn’t reach, mourning the jobs we lost, or sitting around wishing we had more, we can choose to embrace all of the positive things that the holiday season has to offer: good food, the company of friends and family, the spirit of giving, and the lights (I love the holiday lights!).
It’s not hard to find inspiration with all that’s happening. Today’s writing prompts honor the holidays and all that they represent.
Use these writing prompts to kick-start a writing session. There are no rules, so you can write anything you want, from a piece of fiction to a poem, an entry in your journal, or a post on your blog. Just pick a prompt that inspires you, then sit down and start writing.
- If you are one of the many people who celebrate or honor a holiday at this time of year, think about what it means to you. Do you enjoy it? Why do you celebrate it? How does it shape or affect your life for the rest of the year?
- The setting is a festive party honoring the holiday of your choosing. But something unexpected happens, and the guests are all drawn into a drama, adventure, or mystery.
- Some of us don’t think much about the holidays other than the obligations they impose – presents, parties, appearances, contributions. But holidays exist to remind us of the meaning of something — usually something significant. What does your favorite holiday represent? How did it become a holiday and why do so many people recognize it?
- If you are one of the many who are mourning the loss of someone dear, think about that person and the memories you have with them, especially your holiday memories. It’s hard to do, but there is joy in those memories and if you can embrace it (by writing about it), you may be able to honor your loved one’s life with joy rather than sorrow.
- Although holidays have deeper meanings, we like to truss them up with a lot of decadence and nostalgia. All that food! All those presents! The folklore, the ornaments, and the lights! Oh what fun it is…
Which of these writing prompts did you choose? What did you write? Do you have any writing prompts to share? Leave a comment, and keep on writing!
Nonfiction writers are obviously inspired by the real world, but fiction writers and poets also take inspiration from real people and events.
Wars, scandals, scientific advances, and famous figures in history have all been represented in every form of writing.
Works of fiction that resonate best with readers contain a kind of truth, a reflection of our own real experiences. That’s why looking to the events of history for story ideas is a great way to inspire a writing session. And of course, poetry takes inspiration from everything in the universe. While personal experiences may be more popular sources of inspiration, some incredible poems and stories have been triggered by real events throughout history.
Today’s writing prompts come from major events of the 21st century. These prompts are for writing inspiration only and are not meant to be a comprehensive list of big events from the 1900s. They were chosen at random for their potential for igniting creative writing ideas.
You can use these writing prompts to write anything you want — a poem, a short story, a blog post, or a journal entry. The idea is to find the prompt that speaks to you and then just start writing.
Prohibition and the Great Depression
In a country that rants and raves about freedom, the government decides that its people should not be allowed to drink liquor. The Great Depression filled the space between Prohibition (which was still in effect during the Depression) and World War II. Well-to-do people lost everything and found themselves standing in food lines. Ordinary people went to extraordinary measures to get a few bucks. Meanwhile, someone, somewhere profited.
World War II
WWII gave rise to the Great Generation. It was a vicious war and most believe it was a righteous war (for the Allies). It gave us models for villains in Hitler and Mussoloni. It gave us patriotism and the atomic bomb.
Entertainment: From Radio and Television to the Internet
The entertainment industry boomed in the 20th century. Technology moved entertainment from something you paid to go see in a theatre or other public setting to something you could enjoy from the comfort of your home. Black and white silent films evolved into technicolor talkies. Now we have the Internet. What in the world will we think of next?
Spaceships, Planes, and Men on the Moon
We started out traveling around on foot. Then some clever neanderthal invented the wheel. Now, we soar through the skies and tear through space. We’ve even landed men on the moon! Invention doesn’t stop here. Next stop: Mars.
1960s: Civil Rights, Woodstock, Protests
What happens when a nation’s people are divided? What happens when a minority of people are oppressed? What happens when ordinary kids suddenly decide they don’t want to grow up and live just like their parents? Mix in the fact that there’s a war nobody understands and most people don’t believe in. Add a few drugs, flowers, and peace signs and you’ve got the sixties, complete with hippies. What cultural movement will sprout up next?
Assassinations: Ghandi, Martin Luther King, JFK, John Lennon
Sometimes it seems like the bad guys never get what’s coming to them, especially when heroes like these are taken down by madmen, political or religious zealots, revenge seekers, and whomever else you think was behind it all.
The 21st century is still young but it’s given us plenty of history already. Writing about recent history is easier for most of us because we lived through it and our firsthand experience gives us a closer perspective. Think about a major event that occurred after the turn of the millennium (from 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy) and write about it.
Good luck with these writing prompts! Have fun and don’t forget to come back and tell us how they worked for you.
Got any writing prompts of your own to share or add to this list? Leave a comment.
There are many sources of inspiration in the universe, but perhaps none as potent or pervasive as the people who inhabit it.
Naturally, we’re all greatly impacted by other people, so it stands to reason that they would inspire, inform, and ultimately, appear in our writing.
The people with whom we have relationships affect us emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Whether it’s a lover, child, friend, stranger, or enemy, people can provide compelling and meaningful inspiration for our writing.
Today’s writing prompts are designed to help you think about the people who have impacted your life. You can use these prompts in any way that feels comfortable for you. Write a poem, a story, an essay, or a private journal entry. Let the words flow, and try to connect emotionally with whatever you’re writing.
- They say it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. Who have you loved and lost?
- Too often, writers are more motivated by heartache than by joy (all those broken-hearted poems and love songs!). Write about a love that is not stained by pain, betrayal, or heartbreak — one that is happy and healthy.
- Then again, heartbreak is part of life and often full of many lessons. It is worth writing about.
- Some relationships aren’t simple enough to be classified as painful or joyous. Writing about a complex relationship is… well, complex. Give it a shot.
- It’s possible to have a relationship with someone you’ve never met — a historical figure or hero. Many people these days also have relationships (of sorts) with celebrities they admire (leaders and entertainers, for examples).
- Most of us have had an enemy of some kind, whether it was a bully on the playground, a nasty co-worker, or someone who caused us or our loved ones great pain and suffering. These people make great models for villains in our stories.
- Have you ever encountered a stranger who roused your curiosity? Not someone you found attractive, just a person who drew your attention. If you never had the chance to get to know that stranger, you’ll have to use your imagination.
Did you find these writing prompts helpful? Which did you choose? What did you write? Have you used writing prompts to inspire writing sessions before? Leave a comment, and keep on writing!