Sometimes I have too many ideas of what to write about. My students often ask me where I come up with the writing prompts I give them. The real answer is probably that most of the time I take a perfectly normal idea and give it a little twist. A lot of these prompts can be based on real life experiences or can be used as the basis for a fictional vignette or short story. Use them for blog post ideas, creative writing prompts for students, for yourself for creative journaling when you're in a rut, whatever. Let me know if you base any of your writing off of any of these ideas!
1. The story of the time you walked up to the wrong car and tried to unlock the door before realizing it wasn't your car.
2. Google has finally invented something that will allow their plan of world domination to become complete: what is it?
3. Find out what your great-grandpa did for a living and write a short story where the main character works the job that he worked.
4. Write a love letter to your favorite appliance. (Or, let's modernize this one a little: write a love letter to your favorite app)
5. Explain why you wouldn't want to live in a mansion and have a household staff. Make it believable.
6. Persuade a friend or family member to try a hobby of yours (embroidery, running, golf, dollhouse decorating, sewing, Pokemon Go), and write about the experience of introducing something you love to a complete newbie. Bonus points if they actually start to like the hobby after you teach them how to do it.
7.Tell the tale of that embarrassing moment when you were trying to speak a foreign language and used the wrong word and chaos ensued.
8. What invention do you wish that you had the technological know-how to invent? Why should that invention exist?
9. Write a story from the perspective of a misunderstood and unappreciated cockroach.
10. Summarize your favorite TV shows in haiku form. Or limericks. I like limericks better, but they might be harder.
11. Think back and remember something powerful (whether for good or for bad) that someone said to you when you were a kid. Write about how those words influenced your life to date.
12. Record the tale of your very first job--or, perhaps more interesting--the very first time you got fired from a job.
13. Write a screenplay for a commercial--either for an actual product/destination/blog you really like, or for an imaginary one.
14. Write a story in which one character is not currently alive.
15. This is the opposite of #6. Try out something you have no idea how to do (i.e. batik painting, driving a stick shift car, rock climbing), and write about the experience of trying something new, and whether the experience made you want to try more challenges, or stay closer to your comfort zone.
16. Stick your finger randomly somewhere on a world map and write an article related to that country--either an informational/persuasive piece related to your research on the country's current situation in world events, or a short story set in that country, or a personal narrative of an experience you've had in that country/with a friend from that country.
17. Record a dialogue that happened entirely inside your head. Extra points if it's a real story, but a fictional dialogue inside the head of someone else you are observing could be pretty funny, too.
18. Everyone's always writing "How To" instructions. Take the opposite tack and write "How Not To" instructions.
19. Write about an awkward encounter you've had with an animal--your pet, someone else's pet, a random animal in the woods, etc.
20. pretend to be e.e. cummings and break capitalization and punctuation rules of writing don't be worried if it gives you a headache because its already giving me a headache
21. What's the scariest thing that's ever happened while you were driving/riding in a car?
22. Argue for or against the existence of jellyfish.
23. Write a dramatic play-by-play of how you ended up buying something unusual at the grocery store.
24. Write about a time when you judged someone based on a first impression and record the outcome: was your judgment justified, or was it completely off-base?
25. If you could change one law or standard in your current community/society, what would it be?
26. Confess your secret hatred for something that nearly everyone likes (chocolate?!! *gasp* Football?!!), and explain why you keep your feelings on that subject a closely-guarded secret.
27. Everyone likes to save money in different ways. Outline your best strategies for spending less in one particular area (tuition, groceries, entertainment, etc).
28. Detail the plans for an elaborate prank that you wish you had the guts to pull on someone. Maybe someone else will use your idea and then you'll get the joy of hearing about what happened without the relationship repercussions.
29. Make up a holiday that you think should exist and describe said holiday, together with its history, purpose, and traditions.
30. Discuss the writers who have inspired you the most in your writing journey and how they have impacted the way you write (for example, a couple of mine are Mark Twain, C.S. Lewis, and Lemony Snicket).
Does it make a little more sense now why my students are under the impression that my supply of writing prompts is endlessly unexpected? What off-beat writing prompt would you add to my list?