Whether you have been writing for most of your life or you are new to the craft, using a writing prompt to get your juices flowing on a story is a great way stay fresh while on your writing journey.
I have been using writing prompts almost every week for the last decade and they have contributed to a lot of my growth as a writer in some surprising ways.
I have flexed my flash fiction muscles, learning how to craft a story in as few words as possible and still make it great.
I've greatly expanded my collection of poetry, because sometimes all one needs is a single word or image to inspire us to create something greater.
Mostly, I've gained confidence in myself - confidence that I can write, whenever, on whatever topic, almost on command.
What's more is, I enjoy writing to prompts. Whether it be something random that a stranger throws out on Twitter, or if it's an intimate link-up where writers share their opinions and thoughts with each other, I enjoy writing what other people want to read, and I enjoy feeling like my writing is a part of something bigger.
Here are some of the top ways using a prompt is great for your writing:
Writing Prompts Kill Writer’s Block
I truly believe that nyone can write 100–1000 words on a single topic.
Probably in under an hour.
Anyone can do it if they are determined to get it done.
Writing prompts aren't about motivation, or even inspiration when it comes down to it - it's about determination to come to a particular destination.
Having a writing prompt as a guideline or “singluar destination” for your story to go gives you a concrete goal that needs to be met, and most often, laser focusing in on that goal of making sure the prompt is included in whatever you write shows you that…
Writing Prompts Explode Your Creativity
What could you do with a simple, one word writing prompt like: water?
Anything. You could do anything with it.
You can take the prompt and let your mind wander, and you will be so surprised at how many story ideas you will actually come up with.
Think about the prompt in relation to your present moment. Your past life. From the point of view of an animal. Now put it in space, or a speeding taxi cab.
Somehow, in the same way a prompt keeps you focused, it also frees you to indefinitely explore the theme of the prompt in any way you see fit.
Writing Prompts Challenge You to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone
If you’re a romance writer, you might be nervous about a prompt like ‘shapeshifter lizards in space’, but once you’ve dedicated yourself to the challenge, you will delve into new realms of your creative mind that you may not have explored before.
It’s easy to fall into a pattern of writing things in the same genre all the time, I know I do it, but sometimes I think that is what leads me to have occassional blocks — I get bored of what I am writing all the time, so a writing prompt in a different genre is quite refreshing.
Don’t be afraid of writing something different — it’s just a short writing prompt for fun and growth, not a novel to commit to.
A Prompt > Blank Paper
Stephen King said the scariest part of writing is just before you start, when all you have is that blank white page.
Think of how hard it is to stare at a blank page and not know what to write or where to begin.
Writing prompts take away that blank paper bleakness of the writing process.
Writing prompts can provide the spark you need to light your pages on fire, or at least get the creativity smoldering inside of yourself.
To me, prompts can take the feeling of doubt and hopelessness away, because they provide a path out of the darkness.
You might not know what you’re going to write yet, but you kind of know what you’re going to write, so you’re not starting off staring into the void.
Prompts Can Help With Accountability
There are great writing prompts all over the internet that take place on different days of the week.
Yeah Write is a writing community that has prompts every Sunday and it has been going strong for almost 400 consecutive weeks!
On Medium, The Weekly Knob is a well established and lively writing prompt community that has a new prompt out every Saturday. I have participated in this one a few times and loved the genuine feedback I got from other writers.
If you have a goal of writing one, two, or even three short pieces of fiction a week, there is no shortage of great writing prompts on the web to get you going, but it’s not the same if you aren’t writing your prompt as part of a community, which brings me to…
Prompts Help Connect You With Other Writers
When you write a prompt and submit it to a linkup or a publication, it’s common courtesy, and just plain awesome, to read and comment on the pieces of other writers who have contributed their time and effort into the what they’ve shared.
After a while, if you keep contributing, you will notice that you start making connections with writers that can lead to other writing projects, chatting buddies, or good friends.
One of my best friends on the internet was made through a writing linkup, and I never would have met her if we hadn’t decided on the same day to submit a piece to an old defunct writing site called Scriptic.
And on a shallower but no less important level — exposure.
Writers want — and need — exposure, and contributing to writing prompt groups, linkups, and publications is a great way to get it while still constantly working on honing your craft.