100+ Writing Prompts To Reverse Writers’ Block

On June 26, 2018 by Tim Newman

I do a fair amount of writing as part of my day job — I know, it’s hard to believe that Lazer Horse doesn’t furnish me with a six-figure income, but that’s life.

Anyone who writes with any regularity is likely to find their brain getting sticky every once in a while. Stuck in a rut, the wheels spin but they can’t find any traction.

Writers block or that feeling that you are re-wording the same old tripe can be frustrating and cognitively waring.

It’s easy to become despondent in these situations but, recently, myself and my colleagues decided we would attempt to preemptively oil the wheels on a daily basis. Each morning, we complete a short writing challenge to blow away the cobwebs and soot.

Rather than pump them into the private ether of our office and leave them to die, I’ve decided to share them here; if you feel that your writing has grown stale, dank, or cumbersome, here we are (I will add to these as the weeks go by):

  • Write four sentences about the lettuce in the style of a medieval scribe.
  • You are a flower. Describe how it feels to be fed upon by a bee.
  • You have escaped from a concentration camp having spent 3 years in solitary confinement in a darkened room. It’s midday and you are lying on your back looking straight up. The sky above is entirely clear of clouds, contrails, planes, and birds. Describe what you see and feel in three sentences without repeating any words.
  • Describe the last thing you ate or drank as if you were a straight-laced, aging food critic who’d accidentally put LSD in his morning coffee thinking it was an artificial sweetener.
  • You are a creature from a distant gas planet. You are the first of your kind to visit earth. Unlike the creatures of earth, you and your kind consist only of gas and vibrational energy. On your planet there are no solid forms, just particles in constant motion. Describe a human to your colleagues back on your home planet in 3 sentences or less…
  • You are a Stone Age woman. In the village you inhabit, you are considered a witch doctor-type person. A child asks you why the sky is blue. What do you say?
  • While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the moon, one astronaut was left on the Apollo scpace craft alone — Michael Collins. Within the cramped confines of the ship, he careered through space for an entire lonely day. As he orbited the moon, he passed across the “dark side.” During this time, he could no longer see his home planet. He was the “loneliest man alive.” No human has ever been that far and that detached from his own kind and lived to tell the tale. Gimme three sentences describing how you would feel in that situation.
  • Imagine you were deep frozen in the great blizzard of 1891 and reanimated in 1976. In three sentences, describe punk rockers.
  • You are alone in the woods. You are naked. You have nothing but a pen and paper. You have no idea how you got here. Approaching on all sides are ravenous wolves, snarling and salivating. You have just a few seconds to write a note to those who find you. What does it say?
  • You are a one-year-old boy. Describe your first encounter with a poodle.
  • You are omnipresent. You are a God. You sit in a dimension parallel to humanity. You observe the planet below you from a distance of roughly 100 miles. To you, 1 day passes by in 1 second. Describe how the earth changes over the course of 1 year (365 seconds).
  • Last Friday you were stood on a bridge next to an obese man in his 60s. Below were two young boys huddled on the floor. Approaching at some speed was a mountain lion. You knew that if you pushed the obese man off the bridge, the animal would be distracted and the boys would be saved. After microseconds of moral confusion, you pushed the man off. The mountain lion ate the man with gusto, and the boys made their escape. Describe how you feel about your actions one week on.
  • You are a hot air balloon traveling at some speed hundreds of meters above the Mongolian Steppe. You have a minor puncture; discuss.
  • Write the most beautiful sentence you have ever written.
  • You are Satan. You have fallen in love for the first time. Who or what have you fallen in love with and why?
  • A few days ago you were a fat, hungry caterpillar. Everything went dark for a bit, and now you find yourself drying out on a tree trunk. You  are surprised to find that you have wings. How do you feel about this change of fortunes?
  • Congratulations! You’ve just joined a death metal band as lead vocalist. Write the first verse of your first track with the band.
  • Write an excerpt from a horror novel based on your life.
  • Write a 6 line poem about a table.
  • You are a hamster on a wheel in a cage alone. What thoughts get you through the day?
  • You are a leading scientist. Outline your most recent finding.
  • Describe the face of an elephant seal using fancy words and phrasing.
  • All of a sudden, the color blue is turned off by the Cosmic Overlords.  It is replaced by orange. Everything that was once blue is now bright orange. Pale blue – bright orange, dark blue – bright orange, pastel blue – bright orange. How do you feel about this. Write a brief message to the Overlords to let them know how you feel about this.
  • Today is your 110th birthday. Congratulations! What advice will you give your 20-year-old great-grandchild that you wish you had received at their age?
  • Briefly describe the last time you were overly anxious for no good reason.
  • For 3 days, you have wandered, lost, across the deserts that surround the Atlas mountains in Tunisia. Describe your thirst.
  • Write a new metaphor for life.
  • You are a member of an island-dwelling tribe untouched by modernity. Your people have been isolated for millennia. One day, weaponized Westerners appear on your shores. Describe how you feel the first time you hear gunfire.
  • You are caught stealing a necklace from Accessorize. Invent a plausible excuse on the spot.
  • Write a short poem about your morning so far (it must include the words “sinful” and “purity.”)
  • Describe something bad you did as a child that still makes you feel awful to this day.
  • You are a normal, standard, run-of-the-mill human but, one day, you get hit in the head by a shaft of frozen piss that was accidentally ejected from an aircraft as it flew over your home town of Bedford. You are, miraculously, relatively unscathed. However, the next morning, you realize something has changed… you are developing a super power. Describe how you first realised you had a new ability.
  • If you were a professional (entertainment) wrestler, what would you be called? Describe your characteristics, stage wear, and finishing move.
  • Describe your current state of mind in two sentences. PS: you are an Elizabethan courtier.
  • You are a 12 meter tall bright orange goblin called Brian. You are considering a new purchase. What are you going to buy, how much will it cost, and how does it make you feel?
  • Write a four-line poem about salt. Use the words “sweet” and “black.”
  • You are a beautiful Jersey heifer. Describe your first encounter with a UFO.
  • Every animal that you have ever killed or eaten — birds, cows, insects, bacteria — follows you silently and invisibly as a spirit. If you could see the spirit realm imposed on reality, there would be an endless plume of zombie animals surrounding you like a dense, dark halo of death. They can’t speak with you or make their presence known, but they silently walk behind you until you die. What do you think about that?
  • Describe your current outfit as if you were writing for Vogue magazine.
  • You saw a UFO last night. A beautiful glowing orb, dancing just meters above a field of corn. You watched it for about 20 minutes before it hurtled into the ebon void above. The next evening, two odd-looking gentlemen wearing black 1950s style suits turn up at your door. What happens next?
  • You are a terrapin in a small tank in someone’s house. After an electric storm in the late 1990s you somehow developed human level intelligence. Yet, you cannot communicate. How do you feel today?
  • Congratulations! You have just been invited to sing lead vocals for a country and western band. Write a verse of lyrics about today’s weather.
  • Invent a new swear word and use it in a sentence.
  • You are having a midlife crisis. How do you feel, what do you buy, and what do you do about it?
  • Share a couple of paragraphs from the memoir you wrote during your time as a nun/monk.
  • You are a member of a flock of migrating birds. You are traveling from the far north to the south. Provide an excerpt from your diary.
  • There’s a dead body in your freezer. What happened?
  • The human body has many wonderfully named bits and bobs like the  crypts of Lieberkuhn, glomeruli, the islets of Langerhans, and nodes of Ranvier. Invent your own body part, name it, and explain what it does.
  • You are at the bottom of the Mariana trench in a one-person submersible. Other than the lights on your sub, it is pitch dark. You’d been skimming the ocean floor for about 10 uneventful minutes, but then… (complete this tale).
  • How do you know this is not a dream?
  • Today is the day before the apocalypse. A huge rock is careering towards earth. All attempts to stop the behemoth have failed; lasers, missiles, sonic weapons, thoughts, and prayers — nothing has made so much as a dent in the moon-sized metallic beast. Everyone on the planet is facing their imminent demise. How will you spend your day?
  • Congratulations! You have won an all expenses paid trip of a lifetime to the bowels of Hell. Describe how you get there.
  • Invent a word to describe how you are feeling today.
  • Walking casually down a busy street without a care in the world, you are suddenly stopped in your tracks by a loud humming sound. It rapidly increases in volume until it drowns out all other sounds. Everyone is stood still, staring at each other with wild eyes. What happens next?
  • You are standing on the rim of a volcano. As you gaze down into the glowing maelstrom, you see something rising from the magma. What gwan?
  • If I could see deep inside your soul, what animal would I find and why?
  • Provide me with a good reason to be happy today. (Note: does not need to have any basis in fact).
  • Describe the view from the window nearest to you in the style of Shakespeare.
  • You are a bacterium inside my lungs. How’s it going in there?
  • You are a literal rabbit in the headlights. What’s going through your mind?
  • you are a swan, and you are unhappy about it. Why?
  • You step outside, the sun is warm, the grass is bejeweled, the trees gently sway. It is your last day on earth. How come?
  • Life has evolved under the highly specific confines of planet earth. Gravity, the ingredients of the atmosphere, the molecules that are available, the temperature, have all combined to produce the kind of creatures we see around us. It could have been very different. Discuss.
  • Write a four-line poem about Hell. Make sure it rhymes, too.
  • Write the best headline of your life.
  • My mood today is black. What color is your mood? Describe how it feels in an overly fancy sentence or two.
  • A bear, a moose, and a lab rat walk into a bar in Alaska. What brought them here, and what are they going to talk about?
  • Write a short poem about your least favourite food.
  • The year is 1,000 AD. You are King Olaf Tryggvason of Norway. You are defeated in the Battle of Svolder — a naval ambush where you were greatly outnumbered. You are stood on the decks of the boat, ready to jump to your watery grave. What do you shout to your remaining men?
  • Give one, damning piece of evidence that disproves the existence of a loving, all-powerful God.
  • If you could have any super power, what would you choose and why?
  • The earth is flat, obviously; that’s a given. What people don’t often discuss, however, is what lies on the underside of this flat disc. What do you think’s down there?
  • Write a short but dramatic poem about the sea.
  • Write one sentence that sums up the future of mankind.
  • You are the wealthiest human on earth. You are also sour, bitter, tasteless, and mean. What do you do with your cash?
  • Explain why the U.S. government deploys chemtrails over East Sussex in the style of a 1950s New York cop.
  • You are lying on your back in a sunny meadow. Your face is deliciously warm, and a smooth summer breeze gently ruffles your shirt. You haven’t seen another human for at least an hour; the air is filled with birdsong and the rustling of leaves. In a moment, the calm is rent asunder: a sickening scream bounces off the mountains and through your fizzing brain. What happens next?
  • Write a three-line poem about frogspawn.
  • A dense fog begins to swirl around your ankles. In the depths of a bleak Sussex winter, this is nothing unusual; however, you are in your lounge watching Great British Bake Off. How do you explain this phenomenon?
  • Describe the monsters you see in the mirror when you stare for too long.
  • You are a chicken stood outside in the pouring rain. What’s going through your mind?
  • You are a leaf, blowing in the wind. Delicate, wistful, and at peace. All of a sudden, a dog appears… discuss.
  • Do you drink from the red cup or the blue cup today? How did you decide?
  • You are a GP. In walks a man with eight arms. What happens next?
  • Please pen me a five-line poem about a window frame.
  • You are huddled in a bird hide, flask of cocoa in one hand, binoculars in the other; perched on the snowy banks of a Canadian river in full flow, the sun is low in the sky. Just above the pines, you spy a small, blue glowing orb. It begins speaking to you…
  • There’s a green cup filled with orange fluid and a pink cup filled with clear fluid. Which will you drink and why?
  • You are trapped on a desert island. You haven’t seen anyone for months. The only sound is that of the sea and occasional birds. It’s wonderful. How did you end up there?
  • Inside every one of us is an evil goblin. Describe yours.
  • You are a skeleton making love to another skeleton. How does it feel?
  • Today is International Goth Day (it isn’t really). Write a poem as if you are a 16-year-old goth.
  • You are a puff of black smoke rising up from a forest fire. You look down and survey the damage. How do you feel?
  • You are a medieval warrior. Although you aren’t of royal stock, you are a well-respected son of a nobleman. As you stand, suited in armor among your warrior colleagues, what runs through your mind in the moments before battle?
  • You are a horse. You have escaped from your paddock. You are off. You are free. How do you feel?
  • As you peel back the wrapping paper of the smallest present under the Christmas tree, you notice something odd. The gift appears to be pulsing light, and there’s a gentle hum. What do you have?
  • Why is it so important to be careful out there today?
  • You are dark matter. What’s that like?
  • You are a Christmas tree. You are stood in a medieval Latvian parlour. A dog gently pisses against your trunk. What do you do?





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