101 Essay Prompts

1) If I were a superhero my special power would be……

2) If I were an animal I would choose to be a ……., because………..

3) Describe a random inanimate object near to you right now – without saying what it is.Paint a word picture that makes people understand what you are writing about.

4) Pick an inanimate object and tell a story through its eyes as though it were a living being.

5) What 3 words best describe you and why

6) If you could interview one person, alive or dead, who would it be and what 3 questions would you ask them? What do you think their answers would be?

7) What have you always wanted to try that you have never done?

8) Name the top five best vacation spots according to your experience and “sell” people on the idea.

9) Who do you think you are?

10) How to win at ___________. (pick a game you are good at)

11) The best free activities to enjoy in your area

12) You are a talk show host – how do you run your show and what is it about?

13) The best way to deal with a difficult relative

14) Is honesty always the best policy? Why or why not?

15) A day in the life of your cat/dog through his/her eyes.

16) What is the best season of the year and why?

17) How do you save money on groceries?

18) What is your favorite color and how does it make you feel?

19) Coffee or Tea?

20) How do you handle a cold?

21) Describe yourself as your favorite mythical creature (unicorn, fairy, dragon etc.)

22) Today is your last day on Earth – what do you do with it?

23) What is your extended definition of maturity?

24) Create an extended definition for the first word that pops into your head.

25) What do you hate about writing?

26) This morning I sat up quickly and looked out the window and there it was, a ……….

27) Suddenly it moved, startling her and she………..

28) What does it mean to be a Man/Woman? (Define both if you really want a challenge ;) )

29) The craziest thing I ever believed was…..

30) Top 10 ways to spend a lazy day

31) Top 10 favorite (movies/songs/whatever) and why

32) The best thing that ever happened to me was….

33) The most wonderful thing about today so far is ……..

34) Persuade – Is texting a good thing? Why or why not

35) Persuade – any subject you are passionate about that is not religion or politics – think outside the box

36) Persuade – why do you deserve a raise?

37) The best way to prepare oatmeal

38) Tips for making awesome cookies or whatever dessert comes to mind

39) Is all soda bad for you – why or why not? (use sources to back your claim)

40) What is the best way to eat healthy?

41) Combine the follow 3 things into a work of writing: a coffee cup, fear of snakes, and a sunny day

42) Your character suspects his/her spouse is lying to them or worse, cheating. When they investigate they discover a big surprise and it’s …

43) You walk out of your front door and discover there are no people around – everything is quiet and eerily not right… what happened?

44) Your character thinks the boss is about to fire him so he ….

45) Pick one of your greatest strengths and develop a character of the opposite gender who also has that strength

46) Develop the scene of a great ghost story

47) Picture an ideal land/place in your mind and then describe it in vivid detail.

48) Hey, what’s that up there in the sky?

49) Holy cow! I can’t believe they did that! (What did they do?)

50) Pick your favorite meal and describe in detail how you prepare it

Are you looking for some great writing prompts? Or have you ever looked at the blank page and found it difficult to get started?

Well, you’re not alone.

It was Ernest Hemingway who said:

“There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

It’s no wonder many new writers struggle when they start sitting down in front of the blank page regularly.

So, what to do?

I’ve spent more than my fair share of time looking at the blank page and wondering what to do next. (Perhaps that goes some way to explaining my rapidly receding hairline).

Today, I avoid moments like this through the power of writing prompts.

A good prompt will help you start writing when you feel like you’ve got nothing to say or when you don’t know how to begin your work.

They’re also particularly useful for new writers who want to build a habit of writing every day but are unsure of what to write about.

Here, I’ve gathered 101 proven writing prompts for adults that you can use today.

How to Use These Writing Prompts

The below writing prompts aren’t meant as final first lines for your work.

Instead, you can use them as a jumping off point into your work or for free writing.

In your journal, take one of these lines, write it down, and then write whatever else comes to mind.

Do this for at least 30 minutes.

This is long enough to accomplish something on the blank page, but not so long that it feels overwhelming.

Later, when you’ve something more polished, go back and delete the writing prompt.

Download 101 Prompts Booklet

101 Writing Prompts

1. “I remember the first time I…”
2. “I remember the last time I…”
3. “The next time I…”
4. “It tasted like…”
5. “It felt like…”
6. “It sounded like…”
7. “We were wrong about…”
8. “We were right about…”
9. “That was the day we…”
10. “This is our new…”
11. “It’s here.”
12. “I learnt that…”
13. “I made a terrible mistake when…”
14. “Nobody expected us to…”
15. “Do you know why…”
16. “It’s always important to…”
17. “Most people don’t know this but…”
18. “I probably shouldn’t be telling you this but…”
19. “Here’s a secret nobody knows…”
20. “I do this because…”
21. “Admit it.”
22. “I found out that…”
23. “He gave us a…”
24. “She took a…”
25. “We found a…”
26. “I was in pain.”
27. “We discovered…”
28. “Today is a good day for…”
29. “Tomorrow is a bad day for…”
30. “This time it will be different.”
31. “We need to talk about…”
32. “You need to face up to…”
33. “Our only hope is…”
34. “On my desk, I can see…”
35. “Outside the window there’s…”
36. “I ate…”
37. “If I was…”
38. “When I’m…”
39. “Go to…”
40. “Now that we…”
41. “We argued about…”
42. “Being wrong is hard because…”
43. “Being right is lonely because…”
44. “Together we can….”
45. “Apart we are…”
46. “Let me guess.”
47. “If I understand you correctly, you think…”
48. “My friend is…”
49. “I love her because…”
50. “I hate him because…”
51. “We’re going to…”
52. “Let’s take a trip to…”
53. “My favourite…”
54. “I’m lost.”
55. “We want to get to…”
56. “The weather is…”
57. “We’re going to eat…”
58. “Food is…”
59.“Water is…”
60. “Money is…”
61. “Help is…”
62. “Sex is…”
63. “Last night I dreamt of…”
64. “I slept for…”
65. “I’m working for…”
66. “I failed at…”
67. “I succeeded at…”
68. “You showed me how to…”
69.“He explained that…”
70. “She made us laugh when…”
71. “My hero is…”
72. “My enemy is…”
73. “I regret…”
74. “This time we went too far.”
75. “I told him…”
76. “She told me…”
77. “I looked in the mirror and saw….”
78. “Black.”
79. “White.”
80. “I awoke at 3 am and realised…”
81. “I should have listened.”
82. “He won’t do that again.”
83. “It was the first storm of the year…”
84. “Her eyes are…”
85. “His hands make me want to…”
86. “She tastes like…”
87. “He feels like…”
88. “Danger.”
89. “How can we…”
90. “Open your…”
91. “Keep it safe.”
92. “It’s a new day.”
93. “It’s later than we think.”
94. “If I ever see another…”
95. “The best day of my life was…”
96. “The worst day of my life was…”
97. “When I’m king…”
98. “You could be a queen of…”
99. “Looking back…”
100. “They caught me.”
101. “I was crushed because…”

What To Do Next

Ok, I’ll admit it. My list of prompts works for me… because I wrote it 🙂

No, that’s not the sound of my over-sized ego banging off the ceiling…

The biggest writing tip I can offer is to create your list of writing prompts and add to it over time.

Whether you’re writing a blog post or a book chapter, keeping a personal library of writing prompts will save you hours of wasted time.

Use a notepad. Use a digital app like Evernote. Use the back of your hand if you have to… but build your library.

Start by taking a great first line from your favourite book, writer or story.

You could go on to record snippets of conversations, headlines you like and even ideas you come across in great books.

Like coins filling a jar, one day you’ll look into your library and discover you’re rich with ideas.

Download 101 Prompts Booklet

Writing Prompts Resources

Bryan Cohen has written a series of books with writing prompts based around events, occasions and characters, the most comprehensive book being his boxset 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts Box Set.

If you like using great first lines as prompts, The First Line Generator will spew one up at random from a great book.

Musicians Peter Schmidt and Brian Eno created The Oblique Strategies in 1975. These are a set of cards or prompts for musicians, but they can be used for all types of creative work.

Reddit has a comprehensive forum packed full of writing prompts, with a heavy emphasis on fiction writing.

Ryan Andrew Kinder has gathered more writing prompts than you shake a blank page at in his book 1001 Awesome Writing Prompts.

The Story Shack offers a useful writing prompt generator for fiction writers.

The New York Times has a specific list of writing prompts for narrative and personal fiction.

If you want to inject more colour into your writing, check out The Comic Tool Box: How to Be Funny Even If You’re Not by John Vorhaus.

If you want to write more jokes, read Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer.

Natalie Goldberg’s book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within doesn’t cover writing prompts per-say, but she goes into great detail about how to find ideas and tackle problems like writer’s block.

Robert McKee’s book Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting is essential reading if you want to tell better stories.

Evernote is a great place to build your library of personal writing prompts. Alternatives, include Simplenote and Google Keep.

If you want to practice journaling, the app Day One is purpose-built for just that. You can even include photos alongside your time and location-stamped entries.

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Need help getting started writing? Use these proven writing prompts.

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