Journal prompts are a great way to kick off a writing session when you’re feeling uninspired.
We all have days when writing ideas are nowhere to be found, but that doesn’t mean you have to go a day without writing.
In fact, on those days when my muse is being elusive, I like to either work through some writing exercises to stretch and strengthen my writing muscles – or I evaluate my writing goals.
Often, this means I spend time making notes about my writing goals to see how far I’ve come as well as where I’m going and how much work I have to do before I get there.
By looking over some of the writing I’ve done about my goals, I was able to come up with ten journal prompts, which are perfect for assessing your goals and aspirations. Do you know what kind of writer you want to be? Have you set any writing goals yet? How close are you to reaching them? What projects are you working on?
These and other questions form the basis for the following journal prompts.
10 Journal Prompts for Aspiring Writers
- As a writer, my dream come true would be…
- The difference between my dreams and my true goals as a writer is…
- The number one goal I want to achieve as a writer is…
- To reach my main writing goal, I need to…
- In order to reach my writing goals, I have done the following things in the past week…
- During the past month, I have worked toward my writing goals by…
- Things that have been interfering with my goals include…
- I can eliminate these interferences by…
- In one year, I will be closer to fulfilling my writing ambitions. I will have…
- Finally, write three journal prompts for next time building on what you’ve already written.
How to Use Journal Prompts to Reach Your Goals
By revisiting these journal prompts on a regular basis, you can consistently assess your goals to see how much you are accomplishing in terms of reaching your writing goals.
Some of these journal prompts will be useful to revisit every year. Others would be worth revisiting on a monthly or weekly basis.
Next time you’re not sure what to write about or whenever you’re feeling like it’s time to take a hard look at your goals and accomplishments, set aside twenty or thirty minutes and start tackling these journal prompts one by one.
You’ll learn a lot, and you’ll be able to keep writing, even if you’re not feeling especially inspired.
Got any ideas for assessing your goals or suggestions for journal prompts? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Travel and adventure are the themes behind some of the greatest poems ever written and best stories ever told.
Blockbuster movies like Star Wars and the Indiana Jones franchise, TV shows like Lost, and books such as Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn all use adventure as a premise to telling a riveting tale.
Today’s creative writing prompts are designed to get you out of the house and away to a far-off place. You can go anywhere you want — some of these places are fantastical while others can be found on any map.
Creative Writing Prompts
You can use these creative writing prompts any way you see fit. Write a poem, a story, an article about a similar experience you’ve had, or just draft an entry in your journal (write whatever comes to mind). Change these writing prompts as much as you need to so that they work for you. And have fun!
- You have a chance to take an all-expense paid trip to anywhere in the world, but you’ll have to spend three months there. Where do you go and why?
- You’re flying somewhere — anywhere — but when your plane lands, you and the other passengers quickly realize you didn’t reach your intended destination. In fact, you’ve arrived in a strange, wondrous (or terrible) world that you never knew existed.
- Sometimes, to go someplace, you don’t even need to leave your home. Some people travel far and wide in their dreams.
- What if you discovered a portal to another world? Where is the portal? How does it work? What’s on the other side?
- Some adventures are nothing more than a series of mishaps. The flight is delayed, the hotel reservations were made for the wrong dates, there are no available car rentals.
Use these creative writing prompts to write anything at all — poetry, fiction, essays, or just sit down and start freewriting.
Do you ever use creative writing prompts to spark writing sessions? Have you found them helpful? Got any writing prompts of your own to share? Leave a comment!
Poetry is one of the most magical forms of self-expression. You can express thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a poem that are otherwise difficult, or even impossible, to say in any other form of communication.
And poetry has long been the language of lovers. Millions of writers have used poetry to declare their affections, obsessions, and heartbreaks.
Today’s poetry prompts celebrate lovers and the poems they write.
But Love Poems Are SO Cheesy
It’s easy to scoff at a love poem. Many love poems use the same words, present overly familiar images, and convey similar sentiments. That’s what makes them SO cheesy.
Writing a unique and compelling love poem is always a challenge. After all, the more something’s been done, the more difficult it becomes for anyone to do it well.
Luckily, poetry prompts can help.
The exercise is simple and straightforward. Choose one set of poetry prompts from the lists below and then write a poem using all the words in the list. If you’re feeling up to the challenge, try to write a single poem using all the words from all the lists, or mix and match words from the lists at will.
I’ve even included some cliché terms for those of you who are fans of cheesy love poems.
See if these don’t bring out the lover in you.
|Cheese Please||Erotica||Obsession||Heartbreak||Moving On|
Spread the Love
Once you write your little ode to the one you cherish, go ahead and send it – just in time for Valentine’s Day. You can also post the pieces you write based on these poetry prompts in the comments.
If you have any poetry prompts to share, feel free to post them in the comments!
Writers have been expressing their feelings through poetry for centuries. Rant poems release anger, melancholy poems reveal sorrow, and love poems declare affection. Some poems are meant to make readers laugh. Other poems make people think.
Tribute poems (or odes) express praise for the poem’s subject. Odes can be written to honor people, animals, objects, and abstract concepts. You can just as easily write an ode to your grandmother as you could write an ode to your imagination.
Today’s poetry prompts ask you to identify something or someone worth celebrating and then write a tributary poem honoring the subject you’ve chosen.
Each of the poetry prompts below asks you to choose a different kind of subject. The prompts are designed to get you thinking about what matters to you and why, and then to express your feelings through poetry.
- Someone you love. The most traditional odes are written to extol the virtues of a loved one. Who do you love? Tell them why with a poem.
- Someone you admire. You don’t have to know or love someone to pay tribute to them. Write a poem honoring one of your heroes, someone who has, from a distance, made a difference in your life.
- An inanimate object. You can write a silly poem about how much you admire your toaster or you can write a serious piece declaring the magnificence of an inanimate object with more meaning (something like a book, perhaps?).
- An abstract concept. Can you pay tribute to love itself? Write a poem honoring something that can’t be seen or touched: honor, passion, curiosity, or loyalty. Or music.
- Someone you despise or view as a villain. What happens when you look at your enemy and search for his or her merits? Can you see the good in someone you see as bad?
- A total stranger. Has a total stranger ever helped you? Have you ever thought about all the people in this world you’ve never met but who affect your life?
- A place. The beach, the mountains, the vast sea, and deep space are all great places for tributary poems. Write about the city you love, the town you call home, or your favorite vacation destination.
- Be a fan. Write a poem to your favorite book, movie, song, or TV show.
- Satire. Turn your tribute on its head and write a tongue-in-cheek piece. Tell bad drivers, rude customers, and evil dictators how grateful you are for what they’ve done. Do it with a wink and a smile.
If you use any of these poetry prompts, feel free to come back and share an excerpt once you’ve finished your poem.
It’s easy to think of poetry as soft, flowery, and convoluted. It’s the stuff of Shakespeare, greeting cards, and children’s books. It’s precious, sweet, and erudite.
But some of the most exciting modern poetry defies all those stereotypes, and you need look no further than the slam poetry and spoken word communities to see how poetry can be infused with rage, passion, and humor.
These poets have mastered the art of ranting and raving via performance poetry. It’s no wonder that during live recordings of some of their most impassioned poems, the crowd can be heard hooting and hollering.
Today’s poetry prompts encourage you to write a poem ranting and raving about something that really chaps your hide.
You can use these poetry prompts to write any kind of poem you want. But for some reason, poems that rant and rave work exceptionally well in performance. These pieces have luster on the page, but they explode when the poet reads them aloud, so I recommend working on a poem that is meant to be performed. There is a list of links to some excellent recordings of rant poems at the end of this post.
How to use these poetry prompts:
Choose one of the lists below and write a poem using all of the words in the list. You can also write a poem mixing and matching words from these lists or using all of the words from all of the lists.
|Social Consciousness||Personal Affronts||Road Rage & Pet Peeves|
Once you’ve finished your poem, feel free to come back here and share it with us.
Need some ideas to help you get started with these poetry prompts? Below are links to a few examples of rant poems that are beautifully executed — well written and brilliantly performed. Once you follow the link, you’ll need to click the pod icon to listen to the performances.
WARNING: some of these poems may contain offensive language. But they show the breadth of subject matter that a rant poem can tackle. Some are full of anger, others are imbibed with grace, and a couple are sprinkled with humor. Enjoy!
- How to Write a Political Poem – Taylor Mali
- Lit; or To The Scientist I Am Not Speaking To Anymore - Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz
- A Modest Proposal - Jack McCarthy
- Anti-War Rant - Jamie Kilstein
- Advice to Rihanna - Mahogany Browne
All these poems and many more can be found on IndieFeed Performance Poetry, which is one of my favorite podcasts. I highly recommend checking it out (you can also subscribe via iTunes).
Writers and artists, and human beings in general, have always been inspired by the seasons. After all, the seasons provide a rotating backdrop for our lives. They mark the passage of time. They represent moving on and letting go.
A season can provide a setting for your story or the subject for your poem. Seasons can function as metaphors. They can bring challenges for characters in the form of natural disasters. Even the absence of seasons will affect a piece of writing.
On a tropical island, the weather doesn’t change much. Seasons barely exist in some places, and that shapes the rhythm of life there. On the other hand, in more common climates, seasons dictate daily life. Plant in the spring and harvest in the fall.
Today’s creative writing prompts look to the seasons for inspiration.
Creative Writing Prompts
All writers get stuck. Call it writer’s block, lack of inspiration, or absence of the muse. Sometimes, ideas just don’t come easily. That’s when creative writing prompts and other writing exercises keep your creativity going.
These prompts are an accessible way to jump-start a writing session when you’re fresh out of ideas. Use these creative writing prompts to write a poem, a story, jot down a few thoughts in your journal, or compose a blog post.
The sun is shining, the kids are out of school, and there are long lines at fairgrounds all across the country. It’s the season of heat, bright colors, and tan lines.
- You’re relaxing in an easy chair with the fan blowing in your face and an iced drink by your side. The aroma from a nearby barbecue makes your mouth water. In the distance, you hear children splashing in the water and squealing with delight.
- Four kids are meeting up at the movies for a summer afternoon matinee.
- A woman is walking alone on a beach in the summer twilight (or at dawn).
- Two words: road trip.
- Flip-flops, tank tops, sundresses, and shades. The attire of summer is light and breezy. Who’s wearing what?
In the autumn, the leaves turn and then drift to the ground. The air grows cooler, our clothes grow warmer. School starts. Harvest is just ahead. Before you know it, the holidays will be here in full swing.
- On the first day of school, two best friends discover a terrifying secret about one of their new teachers.
- A man is raking leaves on his lawn. He pauses for a breath and glances at his neighbor’s lawn. They never rake their leaves, he thinks to himself.
- Halloween is just around the corner and you have a lot do this year: candy, costumes, and pumpkin carving. The house smells like apples and caramel. You look outside and see something astonishing…
- Now that it’s off-season, there are tons of deals on flights and hotels. You can take a vacation for half of what it would cost in the summer. Where do you go and why?
- It’s a great time of year for a garage sale. You can have one of your own or take a Saturday to tour all the sales in your neighborhood. Maybe you’ll find a unique treasure with special qualities.
It’s really starting to get cold. Snow, rain, and cloudy skies loom overhead. But there’s a bright spot, too: all those twinkling, colorful holiday lights. Winter is warmed by crackling fires, hot cocoa, and thick blankets.
- All the kids are looking forward to the winter break. There’s a school-sponsored ski trip, and one girl is aching to go so she can try snowboarding for the first time.
- Puppies and kittens aren’t always born in spring. This winter, a special puppy is born, one that will change people’s lives.
- Get out your hockey sticks, skates, and skis. Winter sports are in full swing. Are you on a team or do you play solo?
- It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Wait — no it’s not! The holidays are cheesy. Bah humbug!
- Hot soup, freshly baked bread — just out of the oven, and a steaming cup of cocoa set the stage for a perfect winter night.
From budding flowers to torrential downpours, the entire season provides a wide canvas of colors, shapes, and sounds.
- The only place anything interesting is happening is outside. One kid in a big city is bored. School won’t be out for a couple of months. There are no holidays to look forward to. He (or she) wishes the family lived in the country. (Where do kids get these ideas?)
- There is a light drizzle. The skies are mostly cloudy but the sun is doing his best to show his face. A man and woman stand beside a car outside of a convenience store. They are arguing.
- There are seeds to plant! It’s time to create your very own garden. Will it be a flower garden or a vegetable garden? Maybe you’d prefer a grove of trees instead?
- This just might be the last snowfall of the year. What do you do? Go sledding? Build a snowman? Head to the pond for spring skating?
- Everyone is getting tired of the cold and eagerly anticipating summer. But this summer is going to bring more than sunshine and easy days at the beach . . .
Be Imaginative and Have Fun!
Got Any Creative Writing Prompts?
If you use any of these creative writing prompts, come back and tell us how they worked for you. Feel free to make up your own seasonal creative writing prompts and leave them in the comments. And keep on writing.
A good book is a writer’s paradise. At least, it should be.
A book can be an adventure. It can show us the world from a perspective we never could have imagined. It can be a mirror, a microscope, or a telescope, reflecting the world, enlarging it, or carrying us away to far-off places.
Books are extra special for writers. They entertain, inform, and inspire us. But more importantly, they teach us our craft.
There is no better way to learn than by example. Today’s journal prompts encourage you to do just that.
Lots of bookworms keep reading journals. A reading journal is perfect for a writer, especially a fiction writer, because it provides a place where you can write about what you’ve read and explore it in depth.
Why is this important? Why not just read a book, try to learn from it, and then move on to the next one?
When we take the time to write about something, we are forced to think clearly and critically. The process of writing about what you’ve read will help you understand the text more deeply.
You could just write a review about whether you loved it or hated it and why. You could also write a synopsis, rehashing the story in your own words. These are useful exercises (and you can, of course, use them any number of ways — such as publishing your reviews on Amazon or Good Reads to help your fellow readers and writers out).
Or you could dig in, deconstruct the work, analyze it, and extract new techniques that you can apply to your own writing projects.
These journal prompts encourage you to examine what you’ve read from a writer’s perspective. You can explore these in your journal to better understand what makes a story work. Choose the prompts that deal with areas of writing that you’re struggling with. Use them over and over with different books you read and learn something new every time.
- How did the book make you feel? Were you sad? Scared? Intrigued?
- What was it about the book that evoked an emotional response from you? Was it the characters? The plot?
- Did you feel more like an observer or were you pulled into the story, more like a participant?
- How did the author build tension? Write down each pinnacle or event that led to the final climax.
- Was the book a page-turner? What were the hooks or cliffhangers that made you want to keep reading?
- What was uniquely likable about the protagonist? What made the antagonist bothersome or despicable?
- How would you describe the tone of the narration? Was the prose flowery? Sharp? Poetic?
- Take a look at the cover. Did it make you want to read the book? How does it represent the book and/or compel readers? Notice the font used for the title and author’s name. Notice the placement.
- How was the book structured? Did it have chapters? Were they numbered or named? Was there an introduction, a prologue, or an epilogue? A table of contents? To whom was the book dedicated? Who did the author thank in the acknowledgments?
You can also use these questions to better understand storytelling in films, television shows, and other mediums.
As writers, we can learn a lot by reading books more closely and by contemplating them as we’re reading and when we’ve finished reading. Hopefully, these journal prompts give you food for thought. You can always ask these questions when you’ve read a book (especially a good book); you don’t have to write out your answers in your journal but doing so will likely reveal many bookish mysteries and details that you otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.
Do you read with a writer’s eye? Have you ever kept a reading journal? Do you consider yourself a bookworm? Finally, if you use any of these journal prompts to explore a book you’ve read, tell us how the experience helped you see the story in a clearer light. Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep on reading!
Some days, ideas just don’t come easily. You may find yourself staring at a blank screen or doodling in your notebook with nothing to write about. You may find that you’d really rather just listen to some music or go out dancing. Maybe you’d rather play your guitar?
If you’re a writer and a music lover, then these creative writing prompts are perfect for you. They’ll infuse your words with musicality and make your writing rock.
Creative Writing Prompts
Creative writing prompts are a great way to break through writer’s block.
There are two sets of prompts to choose from. First you’ll find a series of word lists. Pick any of these lists and use all the words from the list you’ve chosen in a piece of writing. Or mix and match the words. The possibilities are endless.
Below the word lists, you’ll find a series of music-related creative writing prompts to spark a writing session. Some get you thinking about your own relationship with music while others give you a scene where music is a key player.
Use these prompts to write anything you want: a short story, poem, essay, article, or fill a page in your journal.
|The Composer||The Player||The Singer||The Listener||The Dancer|
More musically inspiring creative writing prompts:
- A six-year-old girl comes home from school one day to find a piano sitting in the living room. “What’s that for?” she asks her mother. “Today, you start piano lessons,” her mom says.
- What was the first record you ever bought? Do you still like listening to it?
- After a twenty-year career as a successful, underground singer with a voice that gives audiences chills, a singer with no other skills or experience loses his or her voice.
- Have you ever played an instrument or performed music to a live audience? Ever recorded yourself singing?
- A talented and homeless twenty-something is busking in the subway. A well-to-do Juliard student passes by, then stops, turns around and approaches the busker with the offer of a lifetime.
- Do you prefer to sing in the shower or in the car while you’re driving?
- After years of writing commercial jingles and cheesy, B-movie scores, a composer writes a masterful piece that propels him (or her) into the limelight.
- Are you one of those people who “don’t dance?” Why? Do you think everyone is watching you?
- A young, professional dancer injures her knee and can never dance professionally again. She decides if she can’t move to the music, she’ll make it. Which instrument does she choose and why?
Enjoy these creative writing prompts, rock on, and keep on writing!
Do you find these creative writing prompts useful? Got any prompts or writing ideas to share? Leave a comment!
What is philosophy?
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language.
It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. (source)
Today’s journal prompts encourage you to ponder your own beliefs and ethics.
While these journal prompts will inspire you to think about your own ideas and ideals through critical thinking and discovery writing, they can also be applied to other writing projects. For example, use these prompts to write a poem or answer them from the perspectives of characters in a story that you’re writing.
Each of the journal prompts below asks a question. Answer one or answer them all.
- What are the origins of the universe? Throughout history, many stories have been told about the genesis of the universe. Some people rely on religion to answer this question; others look to science. What do you think?
- Do you believe in a supreme being or higher power? Are you atheist or agnostic? How did you arrive at your beliefs regarding deity? Have you always held the same beliefs on this issue or has your perspective changed over time?
- Why are we here? Is there a purpose or meaning to life? If so, what is humanity’s role in the greater context of the universe? If there is a purpose to human life, does it stand to reason that there is also a purpose to animal and plant life?
- Fate or free will? Do you believe in destiny or do you believe that life’s outcome is strictly the result of choice and circumstance? What experiences or evidence has led you to your position on free will vs. fate?
- Do you believe in absolute good and evil? Are good and evil counterpoints that are constantly striving to balance each other out? Do good and evil both have to exist or can one eliminate the other for once and for all?
- Are your morals and ethics circumstantial or static? For example, if you believe it’s wrong to kill another person, is it always wrong or are there exceptions? Is it unethical to kill a mass murderer? What other moral beliefs do you hold and what are some exceptions that would cause you to put those morals aside?
- Dystopia is an imagined world in which humanity is living in the worst possible (or at least, most unfavorable) conditions. One person’s dystopia is another person’s utopia: what would the world look like in your version of dystopia?
- Utopia is the opposite of dystopia. It is an imagined world in which humanity is living in the most ideal and favorable conditions. What does your utopia look like?
- What happens when we die? This is a question many people don’t like to think about even though it’s the only certainty in life and the one thing that happens to every single living thing. Do you believe in an afterlife? Is the jury still out? Where did you get your ideas about what happens at death?
You might be able to get several writing sessions out of each of these journal prompts. After all, some of the greatest thinkers throughout history have dedicated their lives to pondering and writing on these questions.
Did you find these journal prompts helpful or inspiring? How often do you use writing prompts? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.
Animals have played a huge role in literature throughout history. They appear in poems and stories, and plenty of nonfiction works have been written about animals and humans’ experiences with animals.
From E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web to Jane Goodall’s books on primatology, authors and readers alike have delighted in writing and reading about animals.
And it’s no wonder. We humans have forged strong bonds with animals. Our pets are like family members. In fact, Americans spend $41 billion dollars a year on their animal companions (source). Billions more are donated to wildlife preservation, animal welfare advocacy, and conservation efforts.
Naturally, animals fit comfortably into the stories we tell. Today’s creative writing prompts pay homage to our animal friends by inspiring a writing session that features animals.
Creative Writing Prompts to Honor the Animals
Below, you’ll find a series of creative writing prompts. Each one sets a scene. Your challenge is to bring that scene to life by writing about it. Turn it into a short story, a poem, a play, or an essay. Write anything you want (if you can’t decide what to write, then do a freewrite).
- A mama cat gives birth to a litter of five orange tabbies and one little gray runt.
- A young man on his first hunting trip has a deer in his sight and suddenly remembers the day his dad took him to see Bambi.
- A school of dolphins is too trusting and approaches a boat whose passengers are intent on capturing the dolphins and bringing them to a theme park for a “swim with the dolphins” attraction.
- A bird and squirrel live together in the same tree (like the odd couple).
- Two children, a brother and sister, respectively capture a butterfly and a moth, then proceed to argue over which insect is superior.
Make up Your Own Creative Writing Prompts
Feel free to make up your own animal-related creative writing prompts, leave them in the comments, and I’ll pull them into this post during a future update.
Be Imaginative and Have Fun!
If you use any of these creative writing prompts to spark a writing session, come back and tell us how they worked for you. What did you write? Did you learn anything new? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment. And keep on writing.