Tips for Using Writing Prompts to Stretch Your Imagination

Posted by Arthur Gutch
Published On Jun 9, 2017

Is writer’s block a real thing? Cyrese Covelli once said, “Writer’s block doesn’t exist...lack of imagination does.” Whether you are a professional freelance writer or a hobbyist looking to write a book, you probably know the struggle is real. The key to beating the writer’s block blues is to stimulate your imagination and get those words flowing again. Working with writing prompts will do just that for you. writing_prompts_self_publish.jpg

What Causes Writer’s Block?

Put simply, writer’s block is a creative shutdown. George Orwell wrote about the phenomenon in his book Keep the Aspidistra Flying. The protagonist struggles to complete a poem about London. It may originate with the story you’re penning because you are stuck figuring out where to take the plot next. Some people have a hard time starting a project. This is generally a lack of self-confidence in their writing skills.

For others, life just gets in the way. An illness, stress or sudden change can throw you off your writing game.

What are Writing Prompts?

A writing prompt is a phrase or an image designed to stretch your imagination. They are a common tool used in creative writing courses. As the writer, your job is to take the word or image and develop a story around it. It is the writer’s version of word association. You take what you see and build on it.

Writer’s Digest suggests an exercise for those suffering writer’s block using this writing prompt:

“Dear writer’s block”

Like any exercise, writing from a creative prompt is painful sometimes, especially if you are struggling to find the words. The prompt is forcing those creative muscles to work.

The Benefit of Writing Prompts

There is more to a writing prompt exercise than pushing passed writer’s block, though. Creative writing training with prompts teaches you the art of organization as you write. From one writing prompt, you can build a story line, character profiles, a storyboard and a summary. It provides a tool to master discipline in your writing process, one that makes developing a full and engaging book easier and more efficient. You'll be self-publishing your next novel before you now it.

How to Come Up With Writing Prompts?

There are plenty of resources available for writing prompts, but you can create your own, as well. Listen to what people say and write down an interesting phrase when you hear it. Ask your family and friends to come up with prompts for you, too. Spend time looking at online art galleries and pictures on the Internet. You can save those images to create a visual portfolio of potential writing prompts. Over time, you will develop a list of prompts that you can use to inspire daily exercise for your imagination.

There is nothing complicated about working with writing prompts. Once you start, you may find they are the best way to push your mind and develop your writing skills.

Keep the Faith and May the force be with You!


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