What’s Your Take on Writing Prompts?

writing prompts

Photo Credit: Writing Prompts For Kids

I can honestly say that I’ve never once used a writing prompt to write something. I just don’t see how they can help. Even though I know there are SO many people who use them every week when trying to decide what to blog about. No. If I don’t have a decent topic to write about, then I won’t be writing anything. I’m not going to come up with something I don’t find interesting just for the sake of posting. That’s stupid.

And I definitely wouldn’t use a prompt to write any fiction. If you can’t come up with the basis for your fiction story…then what the heck are you doing trying to write? The only environment I’d ever encountered writing prompts before I ventured into WordPress was in a few of my English classes in high school. I think one of my teachers had one of those little books with really random writing prompts that were supposed to help you get SOMETHING down on paper. Or when the prompt would be written on the board before you get to class. And the first five or ten minutes would be spent writing. Pretty sure those teachers stole those prompts from those little books. Come on, they could have at least been original. Sheesh.

I really have no idea how often or how many people actually use these on a regular basis outside of blogging. And I don’t see the point of them at all. But what’s your take on writing prompts? And don’t tell me they enable you to write something when you don’t know what to write about. Because how hard is it to Google something or just steal an idea that someone else already wrote about? Not very hard.

13 thoughts on “What’s Your Take on Writing Prompts?

  1. I write a new short story for my blog every week. My ideas come from anything and everything. I’ll start thinking about something and a story comes to mind. Sometimes it seems almost like I sit down Thursday evening and the story just magically appears on my computer screen, though if I think about it I know exactly where it came from. I’ve had writers block three times and each time I went to the writing prompt. I’ll look at their word or sentence, think about it for a minute and the story will show up. Sure, I could use Google or open a book and pick a random page, but why should I when there’s a readymade prompt? I post my short stories on Friday. Last Thursday, after a busy week where I didn’t have time to find an idea, I looked up the prompt and wrote two stories that had “pie” as an important part of the plot.

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  2. I used to have the same attitude about writing prompts, mainly “why waste my time writing about something I don’t care about?”. Then I read (I think it was in Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider) that the point of the prompt isn’t to tell you what to write about, but to spark an idea in your own head. She says you listen to the prompt then write whatever it makes you think of. A prompt of “ice cream” might wind up being about your favorite flavor but it might wind up being about your great-aunt who pops into your head even though she never ate ice cream that you know.

    I still avoid prompt-based writing, but I’m with the others: you can’t get better at writing if you don’t practice, and waiting around for inspiration is another way not to get any writing done. I don’t get ideas and then write. I write, and find out what my ideas are.


  3. I find writing prompts to be very useful. They’re a great way to find inspiration without spending a lot of time looking. One my favourite short stories, that I’ve written, came from a writing prompt.


  4. I don’t use writing prompts myself either, but my take on them is that they are a valid and useful way to get the writing juices flowing. In that sense, they are like pouring water into to those old-fashioned hand crank wells that required some water to be “primed”. Hence, the expression, “Priming the pump.” In the end, the water that flowings out is different that the water that you poured in.


  5. I like writing prompts when I’m bored. I have never really used them that much though. I would rather grab a picture and write a story based on that. That’s much more fun.


  6. Hi, I started doing the Daily post prompts in September, and they have really helped me. I have written about all sorts of things I wouldn’t have written about if not for the prompts. So I find they work for me 🙂 Thanks for the likes on my blog Passion through Poetry, good meeting you!


  7. I am against writing prompts, at least for myself. Like you, I just don’t get the point. I write because I have something to say. If that message or story isn’t powerful enough, I don’t bother. Sure, I bet prompts could spawn passionate ideas in me (my current passion project spawned from a “what if…” comment my mother once made), but I don’t go seeking them out because “oh, I should write a short story but I don’t know about what.”

    My stories spawned from prompts have always been very watery and forced, because they aren’t really my ideas. I get halfway through and think, “Do I REALLY care about this topic?”


  8. The only reason I don’t use or depend on them is because they are so random. If you’re supposed to be blogging within a niche, say I’m writing about cancer survival, I don’t see how a writing prompt about spaceships can help me stay true to what I promised readers they would be reading about and which they signed up for. It seems to me that most of them are written for fictional blogs, not personal experience blogs. A writing prompt may be useful if you can put a spin on it and slant it to your blogging theme, if you have that kind of blog. If you blog about any and every thing, then I suppose they will come in handy for those writing block days.


  9. It seems like a lot of people on WordPress use them as a way to connect with a community, and then probably compare and contrast what all these different people did with the same prompt. It’s a phenomenon I’m still studying, so the jury’s still out.


  10. I’ve tried and failed with writing prompts. They seem to be really random and certainly don’t prompt any noteworthy writing from me. My ideas just kind of come whenever, and I write them down as prompts for myself in case I’m ever a bit stuck in the future. I find it other people’s prompts a bit odd- I’d feel like if I used them I would owe some credit to whoever thought up the prompt, so it wouldn’t feel like my own work. I think a lot of people use them to socialise because they can compare work, or as writing practise. Doesn’t really do it for me, and I’m glad to see I’m not the only one!


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