50 Quick Writing Prompts for Journals, Blogs, Fiction, and Essays

Typing on a keyboard.
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Are you stuck for something to write about? Maybe you're scratching your head trying to come up with a fresh idea for a personal essay—a narrative or an extended description. Or perhaps you're in the habit of keeping a journal or a blog, but today, for some reason, you can't think of a blessed thing to say. Maybe you need an exercise to start a short story or need to do some prewriting for plot or character development for a longer fiction piece.

Here's something that may help: a list of 50 brief writing prompts. The items on the list are not full-blown essay topics, just hints, snippets, cues, and clues to prod your memory, kick writer's block, and get you started.

Take a minute or two to look over the list. Then pick one prompt that brings to mind a particular image, experience, or idea. Start writing (or freewriting) and see where it takes you. If after a few minutes you hit a dead end, don't panic: Simply return to the list, pick another prompt, and try again. Inspiration can truly come from anywhere. It's just a matter of freeing your mind from distraction and letting your imagination lead you where it may. When you discover something that intrigues or surprises you, that's the idea to develop further. 

  1. Everyone else was laughing.
  2. On the other side of that door
  3. Late again
  4. What I've always wanted
  5. A sound I'd never heard before
  6. What if...
  1. The last time I saw him
  2. At that moment I should have left.
  3. Just a brief encounter
  4. I knew how it felt to be an outsider.
  5. Hidden away in the back of a drawer
  6. What I should have said
  7. Waking up in a strange room
  8. There were signs of trouble.
  9. Keeping a secret
  10. All I have left is this photo.
  11. It wasn't really stealing.
  1. A place I pass by every day
  2. Nobody can explain what happened next.
  3. Staring at my reflection
  4. I should have lied.
  5. Then the lights went out.
  6. Some might say it's a weakness.
  7. Not again!
  8. Where I'd go to hide out from everyone
  9. But that's not my real name.
  10. Her side of the story
  11. Nobody believed us.
  12. It was time to change schools again.
  13. We climbed to the top.
  14. The one thing I'll never forget
  15. Follow these rules, and we'll get along fine.
  16. It may not be worth anything.
  17. Never again
  18. On the other side of the street
  19. My father used to tell me
  20. When nobody was looking
  21. If I could do it over again
  22. Of course it was illegal.
  23. It wasn't my idea.
  24. Everyone was staring at me.
  25. It was a stupid thing to say.
  26. Hiding under my bed
  27. If I tell you the truth
  28. My secret collection
  29. Footsteps in the dark
  30. The first cut is the deepest.
  31. Trouble, big trouble
  32. Laughing uncontrollably
  33. It was just a game to them.

Still having trouble coming up with something to write about? Take a look at these 400 Writing Topic Suggestions for Paragraphs, Essays, and Speeches or these 250 Topics for Familiar Essays.

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Nordquist, Richard. "50 Quick Writing Prompts for Journals, Blogs, Fiction, and Essays." ThoughtCo, May. 7, 2018, thoughtco.com/quick-writing-prompts-1692438. Nordquist, Richard. (2018, May 7). 50 Quick Writing Prompts for Journals, Blogs, Fiction, and Essays. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/quick-writing-prompts-1692438 Nordquist, Richard. "50 Quick Writing Prompts for Journals, Blogs, Fiction, and Essays." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/quick-writing-prompts-1692438 (accessed May 26, 2018).