There is no easier way to get better at writing than to, well, write every day. Unfortunately, Writer’s Block is real and hard to shake. So finding things to write about can be challenging. Writing exercises might also not work on some days. That’s why I love to use writing prompts.
Whether you are stuck with writing the next chapter of your novel, run an author’s blog and can’t come with interesting ideas, or are in the process of becoming a writer, but can’t fathom where to start — the 366 prompts below will spark ideas and get your creative juices flowing. Here’s the first writing prompt:
1. Outside: Look at the view outside. Even if you are not in a glorious landscape, write about the weather or even the scene outside your window.
2. Still-life: Pick an object and write about it like painters paint a still-life. Spare no detail.
3. Coffee: Compose a two-line poem about coffee or your choice of beverage.
4. Dreams: What was your most recent dream? If there are no dreams that you can borrow from memory, describe a dream you wish to present to a loved one.
5. Memory: Recount your earliest childhood memory. What is the first thing you remember? Who else was there? What was happening?
6. Objects: Choose a tiny, old object at your home and write about the time you purchased it. Weave the entire story of that day – why did you want this object? When did you buy it? Elucidate all your reasons for each decision made that day.
7. Rhyming poem: Pick a rhyming poem by another author—Circle the rhymes. Write a rhyming poem using only the rhymes circled.
8. Lipogram: Choose a vowel, and write your text with only that vowel.
9. Eavesdropping: Recollect a conversation or fragment you overheard or eavesdropped on.
10. Lost: Chronicle the experience of a person who is lost in a new country where they don’t speak the language.
11. Household chore: Choose a household chore like laundry, doing the dishes, etc. Narrate it in detail.
12. Traffic: Write about a traffic-struck road you can see from the balcony.
13. Home: Tell the tale of an abandoned ancestral home.
14. Dying fire: Write about someone trying to rekindle a dying flame.
15. Roads Taken: Report the story of two characters who decide to go to the same destination by different roads.
16. Citrus: You eat something extremely citrusy. What does it taste like?
17. Losing memory: Narrate the point of view of someone who has lost their memory.
18. Oak-tree: Write about an old oak tree.
19. Semester break: You’re in college and home for the holidays. How is it? Who all are there? What are the rituals you perform?
20. Wrong number: A character falls in love with someone they dialed by mistake.
21. Shadow: What if your shadow was a real person for a day, what would it do?
22. Inheritance: Choose a tangible or intangible inheritance from your parents and describe it.
23. Sounds: Go to the park. Relate all the sounds you hear.
24. Phobias: Write about a real or imaginary phobia you have.
25. Celebrity’s personal diary: Choose a celebrity and write what you think they would journal in their diary.
26. Conflicts: What was the most heated conflict you had? Who was it with? What was it about?
27. Ashamed: Write about a time you were ashamed or embarrassed.
28. Meddlesome character: Create an unlikable, indecisive, and meddlesome character and weave a story on how he/she/they improve their lives.
29. Magic Mirror: A magic mirror that only spits out the brutal truth. What does it tell you?
30. Broken glass: Write about the broken glasses of a family-picture frame.
31. Sky: Go outside and look at the sky. How does it look? Is it clear? Are there clouds? Is the color a deep blue or a lighter one? How bright is the sun shining? Write about it.
32. First kiss: What was your first kiss like? Who was it with? How old were you?
33. Package: Write about a package that needs to be handled with care.
34. Story: Start a story by someone telling a lie and end it by someone revealing a secret.
35. Scar: Write about a childhood scar.
36. Windows: The windows are shivering when there are howling winds. Someone knocks at the door. Do you let them in?
37. Favorite dish: Describe your favorite dish.
38. Mistakes: What is a mistake you made that turned out to be the best for you?
39. Instructions: Note down the instructions about something abstract, like feeling overwhelmed.
40. Graveyard: Weave a story about two characters who decide to live in a graveyard.
41. Newspaper headlines: Compose a poem ripped apart from newspaper headlines.
42. Favorite dress: What is your favorite dress now? What was your favorite dress a child? Compare the two.
43. Flowers: Choose a flower and create a story or poem around it.
44. Soul: If you were to enter your soul, what would it look like? What would be its shape? How would be its texture?
45. Favorite summer: Recount your favorite summer as a child.
46. Flawed hero: Create a hero who has a flaw only he knows.
47. Maps: Choose a random spot on a map and create a poem or story about that place.
48. School: Write about your most cherished school memory.
49. Playlist shuffle: Shuffle your playlist and get inspired by the first song that plays.
50. Slogans: Use slogans from an ad to create a poem or a story.
51 Listicle poem: Compose a poem in the form of a top-10 list.
52. Job offer: Someone gets a job offer for something they didn’t apply for.
53. Dread: Write about something you dread doing.
54. Chore you hate: Choose a chore you hate to do and elucidate why you hate it.
55. Grocery list: Imagine the grocery list of someone you admire and write about it.
56. Recipe: Write about someone you love in the form of a recipe.
57. Sun: Document the sunrise or sunset.
58. Texts: Turn one of the texts you have received into a story.
59. First job: Write about your first job.
60. Marketing message: Take a marketing message and try converting it to a poem.
61. Essay: Recreate your favorite essay in your own words.
62. Letter: Write a letter to your 10/20-year old self.
63. Strangers: Create a conversation among two strangers on a plane.
64. Menu: Take a restaurant’s menu and write about it.
65. Normal day: Weave a story about a normal every-day in your childhood.
66. Last book: Paint a word picture of the last book you read.
67. Pizza: Give the rundown of baking a pizza.
68. Characters on TV: Write about the characters on a TV show you love.
69. Childhood toy: What was your favorite childhood toy?
70.Photograph: Take out an old photograph of you and relay that time in your life.
71. Small town: Set the scene of a story in a small town.
72. Power outage: A family is going through a 24-hour power outage.
73. Gift: Detail the last gift you received.
74. Conversation: Compose a quick little poem about the last conversation you had.
75. Embarrassing: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.
76. Imaginary place: Make up an imaginary place and write about it.
77. Planet: You have discovered a new planet. Describe what you see.
78. Superpower: Discuss a superpower you would like to have.
79. Real-life scene: Add a real-life scene to the last movie you watched and rewrite it.
80. Elevator: Write about two characters who are stuck in an elevator together.
81. Tradition: Catalogue a family tradition.
82. Old Secret: An old secret resurfaces decades later. What is it? How does it affect you?
83. Day: Journal about a day in your life.
84. Grocery store: Recollect an experience you have had at the grocery store.
85. Birds: Write about birds.
86. Magical potion: Imagine a magical potion. What does it do? Who gets to drink it?
87. Foreign language song: Illustrate the experience of listening to a song in a language you don’t understand.
88. School at 40: Write about someone going to school at 40.
89. Adjectives: Choose five adjectives and compose a poem using them.
90. Ice cream: Write about a child’s ice cream melting.
91. Love story: Create a love story about childhood sweethearts.
92. Acquaintance: You see someone you barely knew in high school. Who are they? What are they doing?
93. Performance jitters: Describe the last time you experienced performance jitters.
94. Standing in line: Relate the conversation between two strangers queueing in line.
95. Homeless: Make a character homeless and write about him/her/them.
96. Wait: Write a story about people waiting for something – not revealing the event awaited till the end.
97. Suspense: Create a story that begins with suspense and then goes backward.
98. Past writing: Choose a piece you have written in the past and rewrite it.
99. Pet Peeves: Write about your pet peeves.
100. Family pet: Do you have a family pet? Or had one has a child?
101. Six-words: Create a six-word story.
102. Horror: Attempt writing a horror story or poem.
103. Advice: Give a piece of advice to someone younger than you.
104. Dead body: Write about children discovering a dead body.
105. Orphan: Recite the point of view of an orphaned child.
106. Upside down: Portray what the world would look like upside down.
107. Ideal self: Paint a picture of your ideal self.
108. Disaster: A birthday is disrupted by a disaster.
109. Mid-life crisis: Write about someone’s mid-life crisis.
110. Assistant: Imagine being the assistant of someone famous and describe what that would be like.
111. Clock: Write a poem or story about a broken clock.
112. Animal friendships: Write a children’s story about an unusual animal friendship.
113. Desolate road: You are walking barefoot on a desolate road. Where are you going?
114. Building a house: Write about building a house from scratch.
115. Wedding planning: The groom & bride are planning a wedding. How is it going?
116. Missing body-part: What would it be like if the human species did not have a certain body part? How would they look? How would the function of that body part be replaced?
117. Dog or Cat: What would it be like to navigate life as a dog or a cat.
118. Hot day: Write about an unusually hot day.
119. Eloping: Weave a character who elopes just shy of twenty.
120. Butter: Describe a stick of butter melting.
121. Ancestral story: Recount the story of how your parents or grandparents met.
122. First boyfriend/girlfriend: Write about your first boyfriend or girlfriend.
123. Memoir: Attempt writing a memoir of someone who lived in the 18th century.
124. Internet down: What would a day when the world’s internet is down like?
125. Rocking chair: Write about an old rocking chair.
126. First post: Log on to any social media of your choice and write about the first post you see.
127. Knock-knock: Compose a poem or story about a knock-knock joke.
128. Wedding experience: Write about the last wedding you went to.
129. Terrible date: Recite a date that went horribly.
130. Whale on feet: Imagine whales but with feet. Now, describe them walking on their feet.
131. Summer snow: Snow is falling on a summer day.
132. Rollercoaster: Write the adrenaline rush of a rollercoaster.
133. Favorite quote: What is your favorite quote? Why do you love it so much?
134. Suitcase: Write the story of an inherited suitcase.
135. Swimming: Write about learning how to swim.
136. Empty school: Evoke the emptiness of school in the summer vacation.
137. Ruined cafe: Your favorite cafe is a ruined building. What’s that experience like?
138. On the road: Narrate a story about someone who lives on the road always.
139. Swing: Write about a broken swing set.
140. Lungs: Your lungs are struggling to breathe. What do you feel? How are you here?
141. Video games: Write about living in the world of a video game.
142. Holidays: What image comes to mind when you think about the holidays?
143. Conspiracy theory: Write about justifying a conspiracy theory you do not believe in.
144. Animal kingdom: Imagine living in an animal kingdom like Mowgli. What would that be like?
145. Eating alone: What was the last meal you had alone? Where were you? Why were you eating alone?
146. Unfinished: Write about an unfinished book, story, movie, or song.
147. First book you read: What was the first book you ever read?
148. Young parents: Imagine your parents at your age. Paint yourself from their perspective.
149. City you live in: Write the history of the place you live in.
150. Forgetting: Write about the things you often forget.
151. Silence: Compose a poem on silence.
152. Water: Write a story or poem about someone who hasn’t drunk water in two days.
153. Stars: Look up to the night sky and write a poem or story about the stars.
154. Factual poetry: Compose poetry about something technical like publishing a post through WordPress, changing the bulbs, etc.
155. Dark: Write about a character who has been in the dark for a week and suddenly comes out on a bright day.
156. Weather: What’s your favorite kind of weather?
157. Borrowed words: Ask friends, family, acquaintances for their favorite words and use them to create a poem or story.
158. Mud: Your character is covered in mud from head to toe. How did they end up in this situation? What is their next course of action?
159. Rain: Wax something poetic about the rain.
160. City you never lived in: Depict the experience of living in a foreign city, one you have never been to before.
161. Wild animal loose: Write about a city terrified by a wild animal on the loose.
162. Telephone: Tell of the last call you had received.
163. Unloved child: What does a child who feels unloved by his/her parents go through?
164. Painting: Choose a famous painting and expound on it.
165. Unusual song: Listen to a song of your least favorite genre and take inspiration from it.
166. Invisible: Give an account of what it would be like to be invisible.
167. Missing someone: Write about someone you miss.
168. Inventions: What would you invent if you could invent anything?
169. Plant: Write from the viewpoint of being a plant in your home.
170. Talking objects: Relate a conversation between your most-used objects.
171. Onomatopoeia: Compose a poem using words that sound like their action – swish, pop, etc.
172. Other side of the globe: Write about someone who lives on the other side of the globe. What would they be doing? What would be the time there? How is their life different from yours?
173. Parties: Share your opinion about parties.
174. Crying: Recount the last time you cried.
175. Consoling: Write about consoling a friend or a family member.
176. Death: When was the last time you went to a funeral?
177. Grief: What does grief do to someone?
178. Philosophy: Choose a philosophy theory you like and expound on it.
179. Smells: Detail your favorite smell.
180. Bakery: Write about the last bakery you visited.
181. Co-worker sketch: Describe one of your co-workers to a stranger.
182. Artistic skill: What’s an artistic skill you wish you had?
183. Breakup: Write about your first breakup.
184. Courtroom: Write a story that happens in a courtroom setting.
185. Gratitude: List the things you are grateful for.
186. Desire: What is something you have been wanting to do for a long time?
187. Meta-writing: Illustrate the process of writing.
188. Rainbow: Write about a rainbow.
189. Child and balloon: A child is playing with a balloon when he lets it fly.
190. Childhood home: Paint a scene about your childhood home.
191. Dementia: A character keeps forgetting that his wife is dead.
192. Cartoon: Reminisce about your favorite childhood cartoon.
193. Living as someone else: Who would you want to live as if you could live as anyone for one day?
194. Neighbors: Narrate the stories of each one of your neighbors and their habits.
195. Interview: How was the last interview you had? When was it?
196. Boredom: List the things you do to eradicate boredom.
197. Allergy: What allergies do you suffer from? Take it a step further by imagining creative allergies like someone being allergic to compliments.
198. Intangible: Write about something intangible.
199. Going to a bar: Devise a story or poem that takes place in a bar.
200. Dreamhouse: You are living in your dream house. What is it like?
201. Freeze: Write about a moment or experience in your life that you wish you could preserve.
202. Knowledge: Discuss something that you have a lot of knowledge about – maybe plants, math, etc.
203. Childhood games: What is a game you used to play as a child?
204. Overwhelm: When was the last time you were overwhelmed or overstimulated by a lot of chaos?
205. Beginnings: When was the last time you began to do something new?
206. Rewrite the news: Rework a piece of news you recently read in your own words.
207. Life as news: Report a personal experience as if it were news.
208. Transportation: What is your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?
209. Chocolate: What makes your favorite chocolate your favorite? If you don’t like chocolates, write why.
210. Landscape: Describe the landscape around you when you are reading this.
211. Road Sign: Write about an interesting road sign.
212. Having Wings: What would you do if you could fly?
213. Unusual pet: What would it be like to have an unusual pet, like a lizard?
214. Furniture: Express your love for the coziest furniture in your home.
215. Grey Sky: Detail a dark day with grey skies.
216. Old Song: Write about a song you used to listen to a lot.
217. Magazine Flip: Flip a magazine and use the first few words you come across as a starting point to fall headfirst into the abyss of writing.
218. Exercise: What was the last exercise you did?
219. Twenty-one: Tell of your 21st birthday. If you aren’t yet 21, tell of your plans.
220. Celebration: When was the last time you celebrated something?
221. Warm fire: Write about coming home to a warm fire from the cold weather.
222. Hiding: We all hide things sometimes. What are the tangible or intangible things you hide? Why do you hide them?
223. Hurricane: A hurricane is approaching. What do you do?
224. Packed calendar: See yours or someone else’s packed calendar as an inspiration to write.
225. Ticking clock: Sit in pin-drop silence and describe the ticking of a clock.
226. Dirty towel: Write about a dirty towel in a hotel.
227. Personal diary: You stumble onto someone’s diary accidentally. Give an account of its details.
228. Water: What is it like to be in the water – boating, swimming, or simply sitting idly?
229. Lies: Compose a poem or story filled with lies about yourself.
230. Obituary: Imagine a stranger’s habits by reading their obituary.
231. Unusual stone: Write about a weirdly shaped stone.
232. Comedy: Write something funny or inspired by a comedy piece you read/watched.
233. Clouds: Do a cloud-watching session and depict what you see.
234. Fight: Write about witnessing a fight between two people.
235. Directions: Give someone geographic directions.
236. Foretold future: You have been told your future. What is it? What do you do? Do you believe it?
237. Out-of-body experience: Write about what it would be like to have an out-of-body experience.
238. Cards: Write about playing a card game.
239. Dancing: Recount the last time you danced.
240. Magic trick: Depict a magic trick you know or have seen.
241. Influence: What is something that has influenced you in life?
242. Subject lines: Get inspired by email subject lines and write about them.
243. Draw: Draw or doodle anything today and share the thoughts that occurred to you while in the process.
244. Rural setting: Set up a story in a small village.
245. Outcast: Write about someone who is an outcast amongst their peers.
246. Bird chirping: Compose a poem on different chirpings of varied birds.
247. Birthday: When was your favorite birthday celebration?
248. Normal old day: Remember what a normal day in a different phase of your life like being a college or high school student, was like and describe it.
249. Craving: What is the food you often crave?
250. Walking: What are the things you see when you take a short walk around the block?
251. Sister-life: Imagine a sister-life you would’ve had if you had made a different choice for your life.
252. Sticky: Write about something sticky you accidentally stepped on or touched.
253. Old house: Tell the tale of an old house that is abandoned or being renewed.
254. Kite: What’s it like to fly a kite.
255. Long-distance: Write about a couple surviving a long-distance relationship.
256. Adorable: What is something you find cute? Why?
257. Idiom: Create a poem or story around an idiom.
258. Romantic gesture: Write about a big romantic gesture.
259. Come alive: What would objects talk about if they came alive?
260. Quitting: We’ve all quit something in our times; express what it feels like to do so.
261. Instrumental: Listen to instrumental music and express how you feel.
262. Personality: Define the kind of personality you have.
263. Hidden recipe: Reveal the secrets of a hidden family recipe.
264. Mood uplifter: Write about what acts as your pick-me-up when you are in a bad mood.
265. Random act of kindness: Tell of a random act of kindness done unto you.
266. Night owl: Write about staying up late at night daily.
267. Picnic: What was the last picnic you went on? Who were you with? What did you do?
268. Review your week: Review your week in the form of a poem or story.
269. Double-use: An object that serves two unusual purposes. What are they? What is the object?
270. Heartbroken: Write about being heartbroken by something.
271. Detective: Narrate the point of view of a detective searching for clues.
272. Incapable: Characterize a person incapable of telling the truth.
273. Time period: Set a story in a different time period.
274. Wartime: Write about a family struggling to make ends meet during wartime.
275. Author Unknown: Find anonymous works on the web and make a character sketch of the author based on their anonymous work.
276. Newspaper: Comment on newspaper headlines in the 1950s.
277. Invite three people: You can invite any three historically famous dead people for dinner. Who would you invite? What would you cook? What would dinner be like?
278. Time-travel: Write about time-traveling into the future.
279. Revolution: Dramatize a historical revolution.
280. Love letters: Write to your estranged beloved during wartime.
281. Barter: Before money, there was the barter system. What was that like?
282. Failed crops: Write about crops that have failed to harvest.
283. Favorite author’s suitcase: Imagine what would your favorite author pack in his/her/their suitcase.
284. Radio/TV invention: TV or radio has just been invented. Depict people’s excitement over it.
285. Co-founder: You are the co-founder of your favorite company. Write about what that would be like.
286. Circus: Write about going to the circus.
287. Swings: A character is afraid to sit on the swings. Why?
288. Pink elephant: A pink elephant crosses your way, how do you express what you’re feeling?
289. Best-out-of-waste: Find garbage papers and try to take inspiration from them.
290. Mysterious object: Write about someone who finds an unusual object in their home.
291. Child narrator: Pen a poem or a story from the viewpoint of a child.
292. Describing color: Describe your favorite color to someone who has been blind by birth.
293. Future self: Pen a letter to your future self.
294. Leaking a secret: Imagine your darkest secret being leaked. Who would do it? Why? What would you do next?
295. Strangers on the road: Weave a story about the first two strangers you see on the road.
296. Unlikely marriage: Two unrelated friends of yours get married.
297. Near-death experience: Write about someone experiencing a near-death experience.
298. Family trip: Narrate the tale of a family trip you took as a child.
299. Mountains vs beaches: Do you prefer mountains or beaches? Why?
300. Trapped: You’re trapped in a theater all night. What would you do?
301. Business: Think of what business you would like to open. Why? How would you begin?
302. Favorite destination: Write about traveling to your favorite destination.
303. Hopeful: What’s something that gives you hope? Or perhaps it is someone? Journal your thoughts about hopefulness.
304. Culture: Write about what it would be like to live in a drastically different culture from your own.
305. Hometown: What was it like to grow up in your hometown?
306. Last travel: Write about the last time you traveled somewhere for work or vacation.
307. Lottery: What would you do if you won the lottery?
308. Broke: You are broke.
309. Anger: What was the last thing you were angry about?
310. Idol: Compose a letter to someone you consider your idol.
311. Helpless: Describe a time you felt helpless.
312. Fortune cookies: Write about the text you received from fortune cookies.
313. Package: A stranger leaves his/her/their packet next to you on the bus. Do you open it?
314. Missing: Weave a story about someone who went missing. What could have happened? Where could they be?
315. Doppelganger: Write a story or poem involving a doppelganger.
316. Left at the altar: Pen a story or poem about being left at the altar.
317. Soulmate: You live in a world where soulmates exist: everyone has a soulmate. How do you meet yours?
318. Hike: Write a story involving going on a hike.
319. Windshield: You find a handwritten note on your windshield asking you to go to the nearest cafe. What do you do?
320. Guarding: Write about guarding something with your life.
321. Babysitting: Babysitting hour is upon you, describe all the ways it could go horribly wrong.
322. Online chat room: Pen the modern romance of two strangers falling in love while chatting online.
323. Widowed: Tell the story of two widowed people falling in love.
324. Long-lost: Write a story about meeting a long-lost relative.
325. Unrelated kin: Write about someone you consider your kin despite not being related.
326. Hot-air balloon: Weavee a story that takes place in a hot-air balloon.
327. Sky: Give a description of the sky changing its color from blue to red.
328. Laws of physics: Make up fictional laws of physics applicable on another planet.
329. Side-hustle: Write about having a side hustle.
330. Underwater: Think up the workings of an underwater society.
331. Hypnotize: Write a story that involves being hypnotized.
332. New countries: Imagine waking up in new countries every day without knowing where you will be tomorrow.
333. Small joys: Report the small delights you experience every day.
334. Worst enemy: Write something from the perspective of your worst enemy.
335. Hero turned evil: Pen the birth of a villain: the story of a hero who goes down the wrong path.
336. Hell: Describe your idea of hell.
337. Quantum physics: Write about making a 5-year old attempting to understand quantum physics.
338. Religious thriller: Contrive a religious thriller.
339. Word invention: Invent a w rd. What does it mean? What is its etymology?
340. No cell phone or money: Write about getting lost in a foreign city with no cellphone or money.
341. Misunderstood culture: What’s an aspect of your home country’s culture that is often misunderstood?
342. Beach: Set a story scene on a beautiful beach where you have never been.
343. Changing weather: Write about the weather changing panoramically fast from mountain cold to beach warm.
344. Castle: Set a story in a gorgeous castle.
345. Children: Write a story or poem for children.
346. Happiest travels: Recount your happiest memories from traveling.
347. Dinosaurs: Write about dinosaurs coming back to Earth.
348. Extinct: Write about being the only human species that is not extinct.
349. Sleepwalking: Characterize a murderer who kills while sleepwalking.
350. Space-view: Describe the view from space.
351. Climbing a tree: What would it be like to climb a huge tree?
352. Inside someone’s mind: Write about being inside someone’s mind when they are meditating.
353. Solving a clue: Crack the puzzle for catching a murderer.
354. Fashion trend: What is a fashion trend that you would like to start?
355. Fate: What would it be like to have someone’s fate in your hands?
356. Exhausted: Tell of the last time you felt exhausted.
357. Siblings: What would it be like to have more siblings or no siblings?
358. Away from home: Recount your first time away from home.
359. Sudden quiet: Give a description of a bustling cafe suddenly turning quiet.
360. Book: Mention a book that you would like children to read.
361. Last wish: Compose a tale of the fulfillment of someone’s dying wish.
362. Secret door: Write about finding the key to a secret door.
363. Resolution: What new year’s resolutions do children make?
364. Out of order: An out-of-order lift suddenly starts to work, but only for you. Elucidate on what it feels like.
365. Unusual behavior: Characterize someone who is behaving very out of character.
366. Ice-cube: Present the story of characters who live inside ice cubes.
That makes 366 writing prompts – one for each day of the year! I hope that this year’s worth of prompts helps you in kick-starting your writing. If you enjoyed this list, then buy its printable version.