Whether you need a little break from your current project, are trying to develop a daily writing habit, or simply want a fun way to get the creative juices flowing—it’s always helpful to sit down to write with a purpose in mind. Thankfully, that purpose need not be complicated or even super specific, but it helps to have one! Here are a few useful writing prompts that can easily be taken in a number of different directions and that are sure to get you writing.
Go back to your school years
Elementary and high school are full of novel experiences and first-time encounters. Whether it was having a teacher who would help shape your intellectual interests or meeting a person who would become a lifelong friend, there is plenty of material to work with. Think back on a teacher, friend, or even homework assignment that left a significant impact on you. Start exploring how it made you feel at the time and why it is still important to you now.
Revisit your favourite book
Who doesn’t like to talk about their favourite book? Although it might be a challenge to pick just one, try to settle on something that has had an impact on you as a writer and start exploring why. You can structure it as a formal essay or something more personal. Focus on specific characters that really captured your attention or settings that allowed your imagination to run wild. Highlight specific strengths and dive into why, of all the books out there, this is the one most near and dear to your heart.
Make a list
If stringing ideas together seems a little ambitious for how you’re feeling at the moment, start by simply making a list of your favourite phrases. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive but just focus on a few key contenders that never fail to make you smile with satisfaction. Once you’ve got a couple to work with, consider why you enjoy them so much and whether or not they have anything in common. Once you’ve spent some time absorbing them, see if you aren’t primed to try coming up with a few of your own.
Write a response to the editor
If you’ve got some strong thoughts about something you’ve recently read in a newspaper or magazine, put that contrarian spirit to work and get writing! There’s no shortage of material to respond to in today’s messy media landscape, so make your voice heard by sitting down to write a letter to the editor about a recent article, column, or opinion essay on a topic that gets your blood pumping.
Put your reviewer’s hat on
If you’ve been avoiding the news for the sake of your mental health and turning to your favourite television, music, books, art, or movies to provide a much-needed distraction, then you’ve also got plenty of material ready to serve as a writing prompt. Follow the structure of a standard review and share what has been working for you or what you would caution others to stay away from. Who knows, if you end up submitting your review—it might just get published!
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