Humanities › English 50 Quick Writing Prompts for Journals, Blogs, Fiction, and Essays Share Flipboard Email Print Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy/Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated July 12, 2019 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. 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 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. 50 Writing Prompts 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. Everyone else was laughing.On the other side of that doorLate againWhat I've always wantedA sound I'd never heard beforeWhat if...The last time I saw himAt that moment I should have left.Just a brief encounterI knew how it felt to be an outsider.Hidden away in the back of a drawerWhat I should have saidWaking up in a strange roomThere were signs of trouble.Keeping a secretAll I have left is this photo.It wasn't really stealing.A place I pass by every dayNobody can explain what happened next.Staring at my reflectionI should have lied.Then the lights went out.Some might say it's a weakness.Not again!Where I'd go to hide out from everyoneBut that's not my real name.Her side of the storyNobody believed us.It was time to change schools again.We climbed to the top.The one thing I'll never forgetFollow these rules, and we'll get along fine.It may not be worth anything.Never againOn the other side of the streetMy father used to tell meWhen nobody was lookingIf I could do it over againOf course it was illegal.It wasn't my idea.Everyone was staring at me.It was a stupid thing to say.Hiding under my bedIf I tell you the truthMy secret collectionFootsteps in the darkThe first cut is the deepest.Trouble, big troubleLaughing uncontrollablyIt was just a game to them.