Writing Prompts and Practices

One of the great things about self-publishing your work is the freedom to choose your own subjects, your book length, your hours, and pretty much everything else. But too much freedom can be stifling. It helps to have a starting point where creativity is concerned.

Most writers are familiar with the practice of using prompts. But traditional prompts can fall short for experienced authors, and for newer writers they can be at turns dull or overwhelming.

Here are some resources for writing prompts and practices that are a bit farther off the beaten path.

  1. The Daily Poet: Day-by-Day Prompts for your Writing Practice

Created by poets Martha Silano and Kelli Russell Agodon, this calendar-style book of inspiration and poetry prompts is absolutely ideal for every writer. Authors of novels, stories, poetry, nonfiction, and inspirational texts alike will find useful ideas and helpful advice for beginning to write (and beginning to think about writing) in this book.

  1. LearningExpress’s 501 Writing Prompts

For something completely different from The Daily Poet, this is a list of 501 persuasive writing prompts available for free on DePaul University’s website. These prompts challenge you to think about your preconceptions and opinions on a huge range of topics, come up with a persuasive response (or a devil’s advocate position), and then write about it.

This prompts are especially useful for learning to write and think about clichés and stale beliefs in a new way. The prompts range from contemporary issues to educational questions to philosophical questions. One, for instance, provides a good example of the insightful way we can ask ourselves about our own writing practices: “As we grow older, we take on more and more responsibility. Describe a time when you were given a responsibility that you were not ready for.”

  1. Write to Done

Write to Done may look like a time-wasting website at first glance, but

Enough Said

it’s full of useful information that can help you learn about the way you learn and write in “your” ideal way. It’s worth visiting because it aggregates so many different types of content, from articles about how to stop procrastinating to flash fiction exercises to helpful guides for email marketing.

  1. Random First Line of Dialogue

This website generates a random line of dialogue. Even if you aren’t in the mood to write dialogue, these phrases, questions, and exclamations are excellent prompts because many of them are completely unexpected, and each has a different tone than the last.

  1. Qwiklit.com

This website includes prompts, best practices, and writing tools, some of which are delightfully innovative. For instance, their article on using translation to boost creativity is a very worthwhile read.

  1. Craft Talks

There are myriad free craft talks online from distinguished writers. This list of “100 Free Lectures that will Make You a Better Writer” is a great place to start.

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