How To Use Writing Prompts

LitBridge has thousands of writing prompts and more are being added regularly. However, the way you use writing prompts may be minimizing the overall benefits you get from writing prompts. A writing prompt seems simple to understand at first. You find a writing prompt and draft a story or poem. However, there are far more ways to be using writing prompts to generate stories and poems. Writing prompts can also be confusing. How often should we be using writing prompts? What do I do with all the ideas? Do I just pick a writing prompt and just stick with that one?

Why Should You Use Writing Prompts

  1. You don’t need to use writing prompts. I believe writing prompts are extremely useful to a writer. Not only do writing prompts help you write better and generate fresh ideas but writing prompts will increase your odds of being published. However, not all writers use writing prompts and some writers seek inspiration in different ways. You don’t need writing prompts but they are certainly very useful and worth trying to generate some work through writing prompts.
  2. Writing prompts are a great way to battle through writers block. There will be points where you just can’t think of what to write. You have some ideas in your head but have already written those ideas or are looking for a fresh perspective. When you run out of fresh concepts browsing through writing prompts can be the next best thing.
  3. Writing prompts help develop characters. You can have the best idea for the plot of a story but with dry and unappealing characters, that story may not go anywhere. Writing prompts can help bring your character to life. You may think of an odd tick to give your character or find what motivates your character.

 

How To Use Writing Prompts

  1. Writing prompts are great to practice writing. Give yourself a reasonable goal such as writing a poem a day or writing a short story per week. Find a writing prompt and give yourself time to come up with a story from that prompt.
  2. Examine the writing prompt. Actually spend at least 10-20 minutes really thinking about the creative writing prompt. Instead of just writing what the writing prompt says, allow your own creativity to expand from the writing prompt. For example, let’s say you have a writing prompt that says, “Write a story about a time when you felt like running away from home.” You could write the first idea that pops in your head. Maybe that idea is something about an argument you had with your parents that really resonates with you. Instead spend some time on that writing prompt. Perhaps giving yourself time to examine the writing prompt will give you different ideas that are more interesting and exciting than the original idea.
  3. Don’t skip and choose writing prompts. To truly challenge your writing stick to one writing prompt and only one. Choosing prompts that are easy and obviously work with your project defeats the purpose of writing prompts. Writing prompts should challenge your writing, lead the story into a new and exciting direction and push your boundaries as a writer. Your writing can’t expand if it easy. Use the same writing prompt even if it is challenging.
  4. Power through the draft. Keep writing. Writing prompts are initially exciting. You get a new idea and you start writing but unfortunately, many times that writing energy runs out. Instead, keep writing. The more you practice powering through to finish that story, the more stamina you will have that will make finishing even easier.
  5. Master the writing. Now that you have written prompts and can keep writing, re-visit the prompt and write from a different perspective. Sometimes one prompt can inspire multiple stories or take an existing story into a new and exciting direction. Once you are done with a writing prompt you may not always be done. Play around with a creative writing prompt from different character perspectives. Writing prompts can be explored in different environments as well.
  6. Integrate prompts into your existing work. Many writers approach writing prompts as ideas for new stories or poems. A writing prompt can sometimes work best by adding onto an existing piece of work. You can use writing prompts to generate new stories but sometimes they can be more powerful by adding onto new stories to create new perspectives and twists.
  7. Obtain feedback. Writers are unable to judge their own work objectively. Obtaining input from other writers is essential to creating amazing work.
  8. Submit your work. Now that you have finished your project go ahead and submit to journals.

 

Using these steps will empower you to get the most out of writing prompts. Sharpening your writing skills is certainly not easy but fulfilling and exciting. Once you start viewing writing prompts as a way to master the technique of writing and push your mind to think in different directions you should be ready to approach using writing prompts correctly.

Here is a large list of creative writing prompts to get you started: http://www.litbridge.com/creative-writing-prompts/