Whether you've been struggling for ideas for new creative writing projects, getting stuck with where to take existing work, or trying to find the best ways to finish off your writing, using writing prompts can help.
A writing prompt is just a phrase or idea that gives your imagination a little boost to get going, and sets you off in a new direction, that you may not have thought of yourself. Think of writing prompts as a squirt of fuel on the fading embers of your writing that you thought were were about to die out for good.
Here's how prompts can help at each of the following stages of a writing project:
As writers we often complain of a lack of ideas, having nothing to get us going. How to have more ideas is a topic for another article, and in the mean time, a great way to get your creative juices flowing again is to use a writing prompt.
It's best to be spontaneous and go with what inspires you at the time, so scan through a few prompts you've found, or compiled yourself, and go with the first one that grabs your attention. Then start writing. The important part is to get going, don't worry about where your writing is heading, focus just on enjoying the story and ideas that are unfolding before you.
There will always be writing projects you've begun that have come to a standstill for some reason. Sometimes they've reached a natural conclusion, but often you'll know that there's more potential there to explore. Which is where creative writing prompts come in.
Re-read the last section of your writing, then browse through a few prompts and take the first one that interests or inspires you. Just start writing. You don't have to begin from the precise point where your writing project ended. As you set off on your new piece of writing, because your unfinished piece is fresh in your mind, you'll naturally find ways of connecting the two. It may take 10 words, it may take a few hundred, but the energy inspired by the writing prompt will connect with the point where your writing project paused, and you'll be off again.
Maybe you're someone who finds it easier to begin writing projects than to end them? This is the case with many other writers, you're far from alone. Again you can use a creative writing prompt to help you, but in this scenario it's a little back to front.
Familiarize yourself with how your current piece of writing ended. With this fresh in your thoughts, pick a writing prompt that catches your interest. Now imagine this prompt being the final sentence or point where your writing will end. How can bridge you the gap between where your writing finished and where the prompt is? Just asking this question will spur your creative mind into action. Try this with a few different prompts and you build up plenty of possible endings for your writing. Then go with what feels best.
Creative writing prompts are a very valuable tool for any writer, and can help whichever stage of a writing project you're at.