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Blog post by Kaja Safar

Sometimes when writing – be it an essay, poems, a novel, short story, etc. – we can stumble upon a sort of obstacle, where it all suddenly stops. It feels like all and any inspiration you had while writing, or before you started writing, simply disappeared – without a trace. So often you’re really just sitting there, contemplating the very thing you’re doing, the topic you’re writing about, or you get to a point where you simply don’t know how to continue.

On the other hand, maybe you’re just itching to write something – anything. You feel that very urge, need to scribble or type something down, but you can’t dig out the right idea for it. The right kind of inspiration; and the things that usually inspire you don’t work.

This is where you can often reach for and rely on writing prompts. Believe it or not, these are a great and easy way out of either writer’s block, or if you’re simply all out of ideas and are searching for something new and fresh, to get your creative juices flowing.

Writing prompts can encourage you and help you kickstart your writing or continue with where you left off. These can be either simply single words, phrases; they can be sentences, short paragraphs, even pictures!

So to help anyone who might be struggling with their creativity right now, I’ve compiled a few writing prompts – I’ve divided them in categories below.

Shorter stories/poems:

  • the smell after rain
  • the first ray of sunlight on your skin in the morning
  • taste of coffee/hot tea
  • the deep dark woods/the vibrant green meadows
  • your favourite smell/flavour
  • the colour of someone’s eyes
  • somebody’s voice
  • river/s
  • what music makes you feel
  • a dying fire
  • the first cherry blossom
  • the sun setting deep into the seemingly endless sea
  • a goodbye kiss
  • happiness
  • the numbness in your fingers after a long wintery walk home
  • the darkness
  • the light
  • if it existed, what would heaven/hell be like
  • imaginary world where we go after we die
  • what happens to our bodies/souls when we sleep

Multiple-chapter stories:

  • A story about yourself in an alternative universe – all the things you didn’t choose, the other ‘you’ in that universe did.
  • Your favourite character appears on your doorstep and says that you’re the protagonist of his favourite book, he knows the ending of it and wants to help you change it.
  • You wake up one morning, in a different body, with a different family and friends. Nobody seems to remember your past life. You discover your best friend is the only one who remembers. They have a different family, too.
  • At birth, everybody is assigned a guardian angel. When you were born, however, the angel department was out of stock, so you were assigned your own personal guardian demon. They get the job done just as well….but in a different way than an angel would.

Prompts with more instructions:

  • Write a poem including the word ‘green’.
  • The first sentence (of the story/poem) has to begin with the word ‘beginning’ and the last one end with the word ‘end’.
  • Write a poem with four stanzas (a story with four paragraphs/chapters). Each stanza (paragraph/chapter) has to begin in a different season (spring, summer, autumn, winter).
  • Write a poem containing all colours of the rainbow.
  • Write a poem with non-binary pronouns (them/they).
  • Write an LGBTQ+ poem.

These are just some writing prompts to get you started, or maybe get you inspired even by just reading through these and help you come up with your own writing prompt.

Writing about things isn’t always easy and sometimes finding a topic to write about can be the most difficult part of it all. But really, if you’re struggling, try thinking of your favourite feelings/sensations/colours, try thinking of things you see every day but might take for granted. Try thinking about what makes you happy, or what makes you sad, angry, upset. What scenes have you encountered throughout the day. If you ran into a person that seemed interesting, go and write about what you think their life is like, write about the way the sun gently peeked through the classroom curtains, how your footsteps echoed through an empty hallway, how good your tea was this afternoon.

In the end, it isn’t so much what you write about but how you write it and what benefits and satisfaction you get from writing itself.

So go on and write, about anything, everything, nothing!