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25 August 2016

30 Things to Write About

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?

26 comments :

  1. Haha, I love all of these! Write a love letter to your favorite appliance - never would have thought if that! Thank you, Rachel!

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  2. These sound like fun, Rachel! #20 would drive me crazy though...
    My favorite is #8. I would really love to invent an anti-gravity belt that could be worn around the waist and used as a sort of personal helicopter, without the noise and without being cumbersome. It could be used by fruit-pickers to pick fruit without using ladders, by window-washers to clean skyscrapers, and by the elderly as a safeguard against falling (so they wouldn't need walkers). Plus, some version of it could be used for travelling instead of a car, boat, or airplane. :) It would be a lot of fun!

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  3. There are some great ideas here, love the random finger pointing on the map idea. Saving this for later when I have one of those brain dead no idea kind of days.

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  4. #1 reminds me of when I was in college and walked into the WRONG APARTMENT building (in my defense it was mid-snow storm and it was very hard to see), but I even noticed the entry way looked different and STILL didn't turn around and walked up to what I thought was my apartment, "unlocked it" (it wasn't locked) and some guy was in there making out with his girlfriend...I ran away. He followed me and asked WTF and I told him I didn't realize I was in the wrong building. I was SO embarrassed. (I also can't believe I just shared that story).

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  5. These are all amazing! I think the one about the cockroach is my favorite idea :) A prompt that my friends and I once used was: A character suddenly discovers an unexplained tattoo on his or her body-write a story with this premise.

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  6. Oh these are good. I could never have a staff. I would just go around doing their jobs the way I wanted it done. My poor hubby reminds me of this every time I tell him to do something, then I do it before he can. Its an awful habit!

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  7. haha love all of these ideas! thanks for sharing ♥

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  8. roaches!

    Girl, I think those of us who have lived in SE Asia could write novels about roaches. aaaah!

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  9. These are great! I love #7. I was once in a French Bakery in San Diego after a week in Mexico. My friend told the owner I knew French, which was true, but after a week in Mexico I kept accidentally answering his questions in Spanish. I had a semester in college where I had French and Spanish back to back. For the life of me I couldn't keep them straight! At least I kept my professors entertained.

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  10. These are definitely unexpected. #9 made me think about my mom because she was so afraid of roaches and I viewing her from the perspective of the roach would be hilarious.

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  11. These are definitely unexpected. #9 made me think about my mom because she was so afraid of roaches and I viewing her from the perspective of the roach would be hilarious.

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  12. I love writing prompts! This makes me so happy. :) I'll definitely be checking these out.

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  13. okay, okay, okay, these are just GOLDEN. I am definitely bookmarking this page for future reference when my juices are running slow... I'm cracking up! Thanks for sharing xX

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  14. Haha these are way too perfect! I'll definitely have to sit down and try out some creative writing really soon with these prompts. Love this post!

    xo Olivia | http://oliviadipede.com

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  15. Such creative ideas!!

    - Jessy
    www.currentbliss.com

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  16. These are fabulous! There are definitely times I hit a wall with what to write about. Thanks for sharing!!

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  17. Great list! I'd have never thought of most of this. Love number 15, what would you change in your community.

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  18. I love these too! I need to do more prompt work. I actually have a book with space to work on 500 prompts inside and I haven't started because I typically am more of a researcher/interviewer/blogger. I feel like with effort these types of exercises would really help me expand into a range of subject matter. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  19. So many unique fun ideas! I'm Pinning this : )

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  20. These are all great ideas. No. 26 might cause some controversy among family and friends if I did write something I secretly hated :)

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  21. What great ideas! I was just sitting here thinking about what I should write this week! ��

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  22. Great ideas and super fun comments :) Visiting from #MMBH

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  23. I love these! Such fun ideas. I'm already kind of planning an ode to my coffee maker now. Lol. Thanks for these!

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