5 Creative Writing Prompts to Beat Writer’s Block
by Writing Workshops Staff
A year ago
It happens to the best of us.
We get into a groove with our latest project, the words pouring onto paper for hours on end as if offered up to our minds from the magic of a muse. And suddenly, one day, the inspiration stops flowing. Committing a single sentence to the page feels akin to carrying a ton of bricks across a hot, dry desert. Every period only serves to punctuate our debilitating frustration and shame.
If you’ve suffered from this sort of writer’s block lately, don’t worry…you’re not alone! Every great writer goes through periods where the well of inspiration runs dry. In fact, writer’s block is such a routine part of the creative process, you may even consider it to be a rite of passage initiating you deeper into the mastery of your craft.
We’ve compiled our five favorite prompts to bring some levity back into your work and help you move through writer’s block when it arises.
Get present…really present
When you can’t conjure up words about the world in your mind, return to the world around you. Pick up a pen and paper (or hunker down with your laptop), and start writing about your immediate environment. Items as simple as the lamp, painting, and chair can all feature detailed intricacies we often overlook. Keep writing, and discover just how much exists to write about when you simply look with a discerning eye.
Write a letter to your future self
Write a letter to your future self, whether you’re envisioning that person to be 10, 20, or 30 years older than you are now. Describe exactly what the current world around you looks like, including everything from the most exceptional current events to the mundane details of what a typical day in your life looks like. Fill the page with your deepest hopes, fears, and aspirations. What is it that you most want to accomplish by the time you transform into this person? What potential future is a nagging nightmare that you suppress? Radical honesty can help bust through the door of writer’s block and open you to an entirely new world of creative inspiration.
Rewrite a scene from your favorite novel
Nothing inspires a writer quite like a good book. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, return to a favorite novel and pick out a scene that stood out to you. Then, rewrite that scene in your own voice. You can take as many creative liberties as you want here. Rewrite the dialogue, expand the conflict, or even insert yourself as a character in the conversation. There are truly no limits, and by returning to an immersive story, the creative juices will quickly begin to flow.
Shift your narrator’s perspective
Do you typically write your stories from the third-person perspective? Switch it up and try a first- or second-person approach to a scene that you’d typically write differently. The entire tone of your work will shift, and you’ll develop a deeper understanding of your narrator – an understanding that has the potential to unleash a hundred new creative ideas.
Embrace time traveling characters
Write about a Civil War veteran who’s time traveled to 2020 America. Imagine the Beatles in colonial Virginia before the American revolution. Plop your favorite movie or book characters into a futuristic New York City, one hundred years from now. This prompt lends you the familiar, while also giving you the opportunity to exercise the most extreme recesses of your imagination.
Most importantly, if you’re struggling with writer’s block, do not lose hope! There are plenty of different creative writing prompts that will help you move through blockages. Stagnant periods are completely natural for any creative. Go for a walk, pick up a good book, or introduce ten minutes of meditation before you free write. Be patient with yourself, and know that the inspiration you’re seeking will strike spontaneously simply by making the process fun!