“Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.”
—Virginia Woolf

10 Best Creative Writing Prompts

You get better at any skill through practice, and creative writing prompts are a great way to practice writing.

At the end of every article on The Write Practice, we include a writing prompt so you can put what you just learned to use immediately. And we invite you to share your writing with our community so you can get feedback on your work.

The Write Practice is more than just a writing blog. It’s a writing workbook, and we think it’s the best one on the Internet (of course, we’re a bit biased).

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Our Most Popular Creative Writing Prompts

Sometimes, though, you just want to get straight into writing, and so we’ve created this list of some of our most popular writing prompts.

Why not try using two or three in your writing today? Who knows, you might even write begin something that becomes your next novel or short. It’s happened to Write Practice readers before!

Enjoy the list!

1. Grandfathers

See the prompt: Grandfathers

Creative Writing Prompts

2. Sleepless

See the prompt: Sleepless

Creative Writing Prompts

3. Out of Place

See the prompt: Out of Place

Creative Writing Prompts

4. Longing

See the prompt: Longing

Creative Writing Prompts

5. Write About Yourself

See the writing prompt: Write About Yourself

Creative Writing Prompts

6. Three Reasons to Write About Ghosts

See the prompt: 3 Reasons to Write About Ghosts

Creative Writing Prompts

7. Road Trip

See the writing prompt: Road Trip

Creative Writing Prompts

8. Morning

See the prompt: Morning

Creative Writing Prompts

9. The Beach

See the prompt: The Beach

Creative Writing Prompts

10. Fall

See the prompt: Fall

Creative Writing Prompts

Other Great Resources

Do you use writing prompts in your writing?

PRACTICE

For today’s practice, choose one of these prompts and write for fifteen minutes. When you’re finished with your practice, share it in that post’s comments section.

Happy writing!

Download the step-by-step guide and learn how to become a writer today.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • TheCody

    It usually takes the living to confirm you’re dead. That’s why Saginaw didn’t know for months he’d passed. He was a hermit, had lived alone out in the woods for years. He still isn’t sure how or when he died.

    After it happened, he continued to get up every morning and head out to the woodpile. Chopping was his release, his balance, his yoga. The repetitive grabbing and swinging and cracking and discarding brought him harmony.

    Until the day he realized nothing was happening.

    Like every other morning, he grabbed for the axe handle. This time, he noticed his hand passed right through it.

    “What the hell?” he said to himself.

    He looked down and saw the log cabin through his body, and knew he was dead. Thinking back, he realized he’d probably been dead for awhile. The familiar weight of the axe was a distant memory. He’d been grabbing and swinging and cracking and discarding nothing. He was going through the motions because they brought him peace.

    Saginaw wasn’t sure what a ghost was supposed to do with his free time. He tried strolling through the woods and watching animals. They never spooked like he expected. It was boring.

    Within days, he realized how much he missed his chopping. He returned home and tried doing it like a mime – empty hand reaching up and striking down on nothing. But now it made him feel useless.

    According to the books he’d read during his life, the dead had the ability to interact with the real world. He practiced, trying to control things with his translucent body. He found that he could create a type of wind with his movements. Grass would sway as he ran by and dandelions would shed their cotton if he swooshed his hand over them.

    That was the most he could do; wind would never carry his axe. Ghosts couldn’t shed tears but it didn’t stop Saginaw from crying.

    He cried until he was angry. In a rage, he jumped up and, growling, grabbed the axe. It flew up with his hands.

    “Oh my God!”

    His anger vanished and the axe slipped through his fingers. He tried picking it up again, but it refused. Saginaw grew furious at his futility and kicked at the handle. His foot caught the wood and Saginaw realized what was happening.

    His raw anger fueled the power to move objects. The only way to do what calmed him was to lose his calm. A total catch-22.

    Sag fell to the ground. He’d never thought much about the afterlife. Glancing at the axe, he wondered, as dread lit fire to his insides, exactly where he was.

    • Giulia Esposito

      I like this piece a lot. It’s like a little story. That line, “Chopping was his release, his balance, his yoga.” is very telling, the yoga bit completing it beautifully. Thanks for sharing.

    • An interesting take on life after death. What is it? Even when dead, the dead don’t know. A question to be never answered.
      Adelaide

  • Brilliant post.
    I love just starting with a prompt and letting my muse find her way. I could pick any one of these starters and write a series of short pieces. And then voile I have a mini collection to create into a mini e-book. Wow. You’ve just experienced my ‘light-bulb’ moment. I now have an idea for some free giveaways to my potential readers.

    After a couple of weeks of dull creative urge, this post has just put a surge of creative current back in my circuit. Thank goodness for that.
    Thanks Joe for the inspiration.

    Dawn

    • Thanks so much, Dawn. So glad this got your creative juices flowing! 🙂

  • Giulia Esposito

    I’m book marking this page, what a great post.

    Here’s what I wrote.

    The beach is empty. On a beautiful, perfect day, with a sky
    of crystal blue, the beach is empty. You can hear the surf slap against the
    sand, and the cry of gulls overhead. The white, fine sand stretches before you,
    so bright you have to squint against it. The day is hot, but not sweltering, and
    you marvel at the privilege of having the beach all to yourself. There is
    nothing here but, you, the gulls and the sound of the waves. The coconut smell
    of the lotion you are applying, the red of the beach towel laid down. You
    wonder if you should have brought a book, if you ought have left the ipod in
    the car, but then you sit down, watch the waves ebb and tide against the wet
    sand, and let the song of the sea lull you. A fleeting thought of awe wanders
    into your mind, at the quiet, extraordinary way that nature has, going on
    without human observation. The sea will always lap against the shore. The gulls
    will nest in the brush and seek their dinner from the sea. Even the fish,
    unseen, will make their homes and hatch eggs, all without anyone watching. It
    all continues without human eyes upon them, and it is marvellous. And then, in
    a moment like this, a perfect bubble in time, you might be allowed to witness
    it. Watch the gull walk along the rocks, its black shiny eye on you, watch the
    rhythmical way the waves roll and turn. See the crab burrow out from the sand,
    crawling along the shore.

    And
    then in an instance, the bubble is broken. The moment shattered as the high
    voice of a child comes laughing into the sand. A couple follows close behind,
    their voices low. They make their place a distance away from you, but it is too
    late. The moment of grace with nature is over, the human world has once again
    inserted itself and the beach is no longer empty.

    • I love the beach. And I totally appreciate those moments/ times of immersion into the whole wonder of life at lands edge.

      And then being slapped back into the moment by the sound and presence of humans.

      Nice writing. Thanks for sharing.

      • Giulia Esposito

        Thanks for the feedback.

    • Catherine

      I loved this piece! Your wonderful word choice and clever phrasing helped to create a very vivid image of this gem of a beach, in my mind. It really sucked me in, so much so that I couldn’t help but feel a sharp twinge of sadness and disappointment when the human presence disrupted it all and popped the “perfect bubble in time”. Thank you for sharing such a lovely piece.

      • Giulia Esposito

        Thank you Catherine! That certainly is encouraging, and I appreciate the feedback.

        • Catherine

          You’re very welcome! I’m glad I could be of some help. Best of luck in all your writing endeavors!

    • Gregory Walsh

      No idea if you will find this a year later.

      I was reading this and at first I was like thinking. I have read this before. Crystal blue sky. Generic.

      And then I hit the line, “you ought have left the ipod in the car”. And it suddenly became personal.

      In Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, the author talks about how children draw symbols. You say draw a person and they draw a stick figure. For an adult it is generic. They don’t actually look at what they are drawing.

      The first part of that you write is like that and then suddenly small details, personal details, start to appear and the piece becomes much more powerful. In my opinion you drop out of the generic symbols of a beach and into your personal subjective view point, and the writing gets much better. More visceral.

      For me I would encourage you to go back and either drop or rewrite all the generic parts like crystal blue sky, which sounds symbolic, to something personal.

  • I picked beach.

    Soft morning mist
    Gently rises to kiss
    Fan of dawn’s rays
    And slicing through silky southern teal
    Nullakai’s finger, long dark green
    Invites me in.
    Briney effervescence clings
    To salty diamond necklace
    Criss-crossing my
    Summer freckled chest
    And aquamarine mesmerised
    My sleepy sea stained eyes
    Sting to a blur
    As swollen turquoise curve
    Breaks this office face
    Drowning the frown
    Before it begins
    I am fresh again fresh
    This Monday morning.

    • I’ve been intending to post a comment, but I don’t know much about blank verse or any other poetry other than Japanese short-form poetry such as haiku. What I notice about this poem is that some of the lines read awkwardly because of the lack of an article: a .

      “Fan of dawn’s rays,” I think would read better if it were “A fan of dawn’s rays.” Same with “To salty diamond necklace” which would be better as “To a salty diamond necklace.” Again, a missing “a” with “As swollen turquoise curve.” Also, I don’t understand “And aquamarine mesmerised.” .

      Otherwise, it’s a beautiful scene and a wonderful way to greet a Monday morning.
      Adelaide

      Adelaide

      • Thanks Adelaide. Great feedback.
        Aquamarine should have been two words – aqua marine.
        I guess I was trying to imply ocean water in a sparklier, gem like way, and taking poetic licence/ freedom by playing with the two words.

        Much appreciated.
        Dawn 🙂

  • … And I picked ‘morning’.

    Dewey pearls lace the graceful dance of understory and spider webs weep fine filaments between sleeping boughs and awakening flowers. In hushed light creamy tones, sun softly shines awake dancing through curls of morning mist. And my body slips into the day, barefoot upon the forest floor.

    Early birds sing through the dawning light, their excitement bouncing from leaf to branch. They pause to consider my gaze then flutter on their busy way.

    This flesh of mine in autumn beige seeks a deeper walk, into the maze of awakening trees with liquorice trunks black and damp with dew.

    Only the forest is talking; the world is yet to yawn and stretch it’s sleepy limbs out of night warmed sheets. I am alone in full company of the promise of a new day.

    Strings of purple Hovea buds embrace my passing by, an ephemeral bracelet for one tiny moment, and leave a trace of sparkling silver pearls moist across my wrist. This freshness I bring to my lips. This gift I gently kiss. And I love myself awake.

    • Giulia Esposito

      This sort of reads like a poem, in fact a re-read proves it is! I almost missed that, I was reading too fast. Thank you for sharing.

      • Hi Giulia
        It was just a quick 15 minute muse, but yes, now that you’ve pointed it out it does read like poetry. Thanks for that feedback, I can have a play with it and offer it some shape.

        Did you like it? Or was it a bit to poetic and slow? I’d appreciate your feedback.
        Thanks
        Dawn

        • Giulia Esposito

          Oh, I did like it! I think the structure shape of the poem needs a bit of polish, it might read more smoothly if the lines were shorter. I actually like the languid feel it has, it expresses morning and nature well, how everything seems expanded and slower when you’re really looking at the tiny marvels found in the natural world.

  • Grandfather.

    He’s not a grandfather and I’m terrified he won’t become one. He’s be a great one. I’m positive.

    I really shouldn’t be afraid of hospitals. I grew up in one–Dad’s a doctor. I’m familiar with the tile floors and nurses knowing my name and my nickname. But now I’m afraid. He’s not in scrubs but instead in a gown. A nasty butterfly needle is digging into his skin. They always say it’s a small needle and won’t hurt. Don’t believe them.
    I’ve had nightmares about this. About driving from Mississippi back home because he’s had a heart attack. He’s never had any heart problems so that fear should be irrational. I should have been praying a seemingly ridiculous prayer. It’s a good thing I was praying even though I didn’t know why. Unknown prayer saved his life.
    As I sat with him on the hospital bed I felt so strange. I felt 7 and still desperately needing my dad. I can’t do anything without him. I don’t know how to be me without him. At the same time I felt grief for my future children. If he’s not better then those make believe kids will only have my stories to go on. They’d never believe me when I told them their grandfather was the greatest man to ever live.

    My brothers have stories. Absolutely hilarious stories of my dad that they both recounted on the way to the hospital room. As they did I realized I don’t have stories. I have facts, subjects, events. I have moments.

    -Reading Harry Potter together and standing in line for each book release.

    -Agatha Christie
    -Keeping Up Appearances
    -“I think I’ll go pay that bill.” “You know what I think you should do?” “What?” “Go pay that bill.” “Oh my gosh you’re brilliant!”
    -We are both left handed.

    -How to swing a bat.

    -How to replace a door.

    -How to drive.

    -Telling me his “M.D.” stood for “My Daddy.”
    -His Martin acoustic guitar
    -The smell of cedar wood and rain when he made duck calls in the basement.

    I don’t have hilarious stories of my dad I just have a lot of lessons. He taught me in every moment we spent together. Those moments were hilarious but I don’t think I could recreate them to become stories.

    I want him to be a grandfather because I didn’t know mine. He has to show my children how amazing he is because how could I possibly put that into words?
    He’s my very best friend. He thinks I can do absolutely anything. I know that I can because a quick phone call to him clears up any questions.

    He always has the answers.

    I need him to be a grandfather because I need him to keep being my dad.

    • EndlessExposition

      That was wonderful, simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking. I love it

    • A warm tribute to your father. I hope he got well.
      adelaide

  • I chose morning as it was a few weeks ago up here in upstate NY.

    FROM MY WINDOW

    Spring is gearing up. At the far end of the front yard, where it rises to meet the road, crocus splash yellow, white and purple. Stems on the lilac bushes are knobby with green tipped leaf buds. Daffodils, some just poking through the soil, some already at their full height with swollen flower buds ready to burst. Through the open window the breeze is damp,ripe with the fragrance of wet dirt, last year’s leaves and manure from the field around the bend. There are busy calls from unseen birds and announcing honks from another gaggle of geese. There is, in this moment, everything that there is.

    coffee brewing
    the anticipation
    before the first sip

    • Lovely. I can almost feel myself standing beside you at the window.
      Great use of all the senses Adelaide.
      Thanks for sharing.
      Dawn

  • This post is in response to OUT OF PLACE

    A sorority beach house. Full of surging hormones and testosterone from the young women and the visiting frat boys who have a house down the road. Some girls have wandered there to see what’s going on. Most likely the same things that are going on here.

    It’s Easter Break at Laguna Beach. A week of fun, fun, fun! For some. For most. But not for the dark haired girl trying to play poker with two other girls and three guys. Trying to play because she is new at the game and loses every hand. She also loses at the witty, sexually laced repartee between the other five players. After four games and down to her last 10 pennies, she quits. It is not for her this game. The entire experience is not for her. She looks over the party goers. Beer, kisses and gropes are exchanged in corners.
    What goes on in the closed bedrooms is better not seen.

    She takes a beer, her first, and her cigarettes and goes out to the beach. This is what she came for: the beach, swimming during the day, reading what she didn’t have time for when crushed with class assignments, girl talk with a few friends. Even that is a disappointment as the girl talk usually turns to boys, a topic which is foreign to her experience.

    She’ll lie when she goes back to her classes. She’ll say the week was fun, a blast. Yeah. Partying every night. At least, she’ll have a tan to prove she was there.

    • Lovely demonstration of the odd teen, who out of place cannot even bare to bow to peer pressure. I liked the ending where she decided to lie to fit in.

      Can you please tell me what a ‘sorority’ house is exactly. (I’m not from the USA.)

      Thanks for sharing
      Dawn

      • Many colleges have sororities, a club of sorts to which candidates are invited to be a member. In some colleges they can be very snobbish, at least that was the situation when I was in college. My college, a small woman’s college, was more democratic, in that a student chose the soriety she wanted and was accepted in it. There was no voting on who could come in and who could not. Bigger colleges have special housing for sororities and fraternities (the male equvilent of sororities).I don’t know what other sororities did, but the ones at my college, in addition to organizing teas, parties, picnics, etc., had a commitment to do some social work for the community. Being a Catholic college we gave Catechism lessons to young childdren in poor parishes where there was a shortage of teachers to give these lessons after school

        A sororiety beach house is just that: a house at the beach which the sorority rents for a time, the rent being paid for by charging a fee for each girl who wants to spend the week there. Easter week was usually a time of letting loose

        I hope this answers your question.
        Adelaide

  • Thanks again Joe
    Due to the inspiration of this post and it’s kickstarting my creative flow (I’ve been editing my first novel), I have decided to do the NaNo July Camp.

    Using some of the above prompts I am aiming to complete a collection of short stories, prose and poetic interludes. My goal is only 10,000 words. This will give me time to edit, shape and tease out detail. It’s winter in my part of the world. A cosy time to write beside the fireplace.

    A brief synopsis:
    A collection of short stories, prose and poetic interludes that reflect on the shadows, woods, winds and ocean waves of a south coast winter.

    Where nature walks deep into the rhythm of this human’s hibernating season and beckons her into conversation with looming clouds, long shadows and the low breathing reach of winter sun.

    That she may see the beauty that dances between the tempest winter weather sweeping the landscape and her quiet resting inner world.

    Of course I’ll still be visiting TWP daily. For ongoing inspiration and community to share with.
    Cheers
    Dawn 🙂

  • Catherine

    What a great, stimulating post! I chose the ‘Morning’ prompt.

    My eyes slowly creaked open, only to squint in the sun beam that had smacked my face, arousing me from sleep. But I hadn’t been asleep…had I? I couldn’t be sure. As I groggily sat up in bed, a chill ran down my spine as the air conditioning kissed my back-drenched with sweat. The next thing I took notice of was the pounding in my chest. It seemed that my heart had been beating wildly only moments ago, and now it was doing its best to resume normality. Yet that wasn’t all. There was a dull, aching that had come with the wild beating. In my mind’s eye, I could see a face, slowly fading from sight. It’s features were slowly becoming more and more obscure. Who was he? Why did I care? Hardly a minute had passed before the man’s face vanished from my mind entirely. Birds began to chirp cheerily outside my window, and without knowing why- a tear slipped down my face and darkened the baby blue sheets. I struggled to search my mind for the image of his face once more, but there was nothing. There never would be- except for the lone tear that spotted my sheets.

    • disqus_wXut3RRdNv

      Great start that draws your readers in; beginning of the day, mysterious dream image evoking intense emotion, loved it Catherine!

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  • Dizzy

    I chose the sleepless prompt. I kind of went deeper than I was trying to.

    She tossed. She turned. Her eyes wouldn’t stay shut. They
    would stay open either. She blinked. The dark of the night filled the room, and
    the smell of dust covered everything. The blankets on the bed were everywhere,
    and one the pillows had been thrown on the floor. The rest of the bedroom
    looked neat, beside the dark and glooming aroma.

    She had a specific person on her mind. Someone she had been
    wondering about for awhile. She didn’t have a crush, nor were they enemies. The
    person was just very… normal. She tried getting her mind on something else,
    only to be reminded on him somehow. The smell was like him, the smell of the
    room.

    She turned again, thinking of what happened that day. He had
    asked her a strange question; one that’s wasn’t like trying to know someone. It
    was just strange. “Do you like country music?” His words echoed in her mind.
    She had said no, and then he had left, without any sign.

    He wasn’t exactly a normal boy, but he wasn’t weird either.
    He wears black often, but sometimes he’ll wear pink. His hair is often messy,
    but sometimes, for no reason, it’s perfectly neat. He manly sticks to keeping
    quiet, but sometimes, he’s the most active in class.

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  • Thank’s, it is very creative! Besides I found this writing prompts tool http://youressayhelper.com/writing-prompt-generator.html very helpful!

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  • Gregory Walsh

    Found this post and took a stab at the grandfather prompt.

    I never knew my grandfather.

    A man walks towards me. Top hat, suit. Black against white mist. He is smiling. He is a handsome man. He does not take a step but if he did they would be long strides. Purposeful, directed. He is tall but does not tower over me. And he is looking at me. Not at me, not through me. At me. At the deep sliver of me before the echoes of memory. And smiling. A smile that reaches from ear to ear. A smile that starts in the gut and ends in the eyes. A smile that leaves me quivering inside my own skin. He knows my secret.

    How does he know. What if he tells someone.

    He sees me. No, he sees him. The lie of lies. He sees past the lies. He sees the lies I tell myself and he laughs. A laugh from the belly that shakes the mists he reaches out from.

    Small lies. Self-pity. Worthlessness. Fear. His eyes move past them, not even bothering to swat them aside.

    Something rests on my heart.

    I never knew my grandfather.

  • Brigitte

    I was inspired when I read this post and I immediately made a story. However, I came up with my own prompt: Jealousy.

    I keep finding the wrong in her brown capturing eyes, hoping to see the darkness she has yet to reveal. I keep finding the treason in her refined movements, the plan in her bright smile, the sting in her sweet words yet I couldn’t find any. She is the sun, and everyone is flocking around her warmth but I am blinded. My eyes sting and my breath caught within my throat, afraid they will notice the insecurities blowing in and out of my lungs. Afraid to move for they might see the urge to block their words worshiping her, slowly pressing my stomach, burying me into the depths of the dark place I wouldn’t want to be in but I’m still falling, falling, and falling. I have to avoid the mirror and the vision of myself beside her, comparing and losing. I have to refrain from looking as it would pour fuel into the fire and I have to stay away, far away from her. She pleaded why am I keeping distance, as I remember how my stomach churns every time they prefer her, how I’m always in the shadow of her glow, and I retreated leaving her groping in the dark for an answer, like how I’m pathetically groping for salvation. I cry that night chanting apologies; I am lost and I have to find myself, hoping to be stable and solid so my molecules will not easily drown in hers. I am me and she is her as they point my parts apart from her. A heterogeneous system, as one, as sisters, as best friends. But not today. Today I’m lying on the thorns of my selfish inexcusable reasons devoid of any strength to get up. Today, I’m still avoiding the traces of her on my notebook and my map. I’m sorry, you are the best and the worst that has happened to me and for that pitiful reason, today at 10 am in our small warm coffee shop I will not be there. I will be somewhere else, a place cowards run off to, somewhere you wouldn’t have to go.

    ——-your undeserving best friend: jealousy

  • I just re-posted a post on my FB page about using images to help you write!
    https://www.facebook.com/A-Page-A-Day-Lets-all-write-just-one-page-a-day-103970129720405/?fref=ts
    I used many images to write my novel. El Salvador’s civil war was the most photographed war in history. I bet it still is!
    Thanks for a great post!
    Sherrie
    Sherrie Miranda’s historically based, coming of age, Adventure novel “Secrets & Lies in El Salvador” is about an American girl in war-torn El Salvador:
    http://tinyurl.com/klxbt4y
    Her husband made a video for her novel. He wrote the song too:

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