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Getting started can be the hardest part of anything. Especially writing.
Staring at a blank screen makes you feel anxious, intimated, overwhelmed and frozen.
Start writing – even just one sentence – and it can really help your mind begin to relax so the words can flow.
But where does that one sentence come from? How can you start writing the first sentence if starting to write even one sentence is the problem to begin with?
That is where writing prompts come in.
What are writing prompts?
Writing prompts are words, phrases and sentences you read that help you think of your own words, phrases and sentences to write. They help unfreeze the mind so you can begin the flow of writing.
These are especially useful for freelance writers. We frequently have to come up with our own topics on which to write. Creative writing prompts can help with that.
Even when we have specific topics on which to write, it can be hard to get the flow of writing going. Good creative writing prompts inspire you. They help you not only think of words to write for your immediate writing project but words and ideas for future writing projects as well.
Writing prompts are very helpful for freelance writers who:
Choose at least one of these 76 writing prompts and start writing. Keep going for at least five minutes. Then keep going some more if you need to or just want to. Soon you should be in the writing groove and able to write whatever you want to write.
Most of these will help you get in a creative frame of mind. Several are unfinished sentences that you can complete and then elaborate on with your own thoughts. Others give you an opportunity to spend some time writing about feelings and situations in your own life.
You can stick closely to the topic or let your thoughts wander, writing in your stream of consciousness whatever springs to mind.
Completely creative writing prompts
Look out the window and write a story about what you see.
A stranger calls and tells you they need to meet with you immediately in a coffee shop.
You wake up alone in a jungle.
Your cat can talk but he/she speaks only French.
A book you’ve written has just landed on the New York Times bestseller list.
You’ve grown a third arm. What do you do with it?
A creative story about the last insect you saw.
What happens to the sun when it disappears from the sky?
What happens to the moon when it disappears from the sky?
Your close friend says they have something very important they need to tell you.
You move to your favorite country.
Everyone has disappeared from the world except you.
There are no more police.
Television, internet, phone and radios have become illegal.
Everyone in the world has amnesia except for you.
Everyone all over the world begins staying up all night and sleeping during the day.
Someone gives you a million dollars to invent something. What do you invent?
The sky is green; trees and grass are blue.
You wake up and find the gift of a brand new car with a bow on it parked in your driveway.
The earth is flat.
A new planet is discovered with humans living on it.
Creative story about why your electricity went out in the middle of the night.
Your shoes are able to walk by themselves.
You live inside a bubble.
A story about your favorite work of art.
You’re being paid to create a brand new flavor milkshake.
Someone will give you and your family $10 million but only if you leave your country and never come back.
You wake up in the morning and find out you’re famous and everyone knows who you are.
You’re a professional dancer with stage fright.
You receive the most important piece of mail you’ve ever gotten in your life.
Animals rule the world and people belong to them.
You’re able to write ten books in one day. What are they about?
You have been elected mayor of your town or city.
People begin moving to another planet to live.
You are a child math prodigy.
All the music disappears from the world.
You are a bird.
If you had a television show, what would it be about?
You have one absolutely perfect day. What happens?
People communicate in every way but verbally.
You travel constantly, never stopping.
People sing instead of talking.
Electronic devices don’t exist anymore.
Complete the thoughts
My favorite meal is…
I am really good at…
I wish people would…
My favorite thing is…
The best day in my life was…
My next door neighbor is…
The earth is…
I will never again…
The best day I ever had at school, I…
Real life writing prompts
The first time you and your best friend met.
Close your eyes and write about what you hear.
The twinkling stars in the sky.
Write about your last dream.
Your very favorite location in your country.
Write a summary of the last television program you watched.
How does winter make you feel?
Your dream travel destination.
What you want to be doing five years from now.
Write about the person you most admire.
Write a letter to the person you love the most.
Tell the story of your first love.
How do you feel when you’re outside?
Write about why people need each other.
Everything you want to accomplish in the next year.
The most fun you’ve ever had.
The most important thing you ever learned.
Write about your favorite season.
What is your favorite mode of transportation and why?
Your first happy memory.
How you would feel to succeed at your dream job.
The most amazing day you can imagine.
The best way to become a good writer is by writing. I hope these 76 writing prompts not only help you start writing but also help you become so used to writing that you don’t need prompts anymore.
Want more help with your freelance writing? Read these freelance writing tips.
(This updated post was originally published in July 2020.)
Cover image by Darkworkx
Sabina Lohr is a lifelong freelancer turned entrepreneur who created World of Freelancers to help others discover how to work for themselves online and live the freelance lifestyle. She’s always really enjoyed the freedom that freelancing brings, including several years on and off of working online while traveling and living abroad.