Writing Prompts

doris curiosity

This post is by Doris McCraw


I love writing prompts.  I confess they have gotten me out of many a jam when writing.  Sometimes I use photos, sometimes I will look at quotes.  For me there is a prompts for any problem I have.9-5-2012 055When I am writing my haiku the ideas may come from one of my photos or perhaps I have read something that grabs my attention. It could be a first line of a poem or a random sentence from a book that I open.  The point is, when I  have a ‘writers block‘ there will be a way to kick-start my writing.

When I was working on my novel, my character would not always give me anything to work with.  Since I was on the clock to get this written, I would go to a daily horoscope and see what should be happening that day.  True to form, I would find something that would set the juices flowing and create more conflict.

Sometimes I just need a little extra color to a piece.  My favorite go to is the old newspapers.  They are gold mines of information that could be just what I need to add just that extra something to bring the world to life.  I remember reading about a gentleman who would try to find gold by using a metal divining rod. What a great add to my short  story set in the gold fields of the 1890’s.

There are also great online sources for prompts. The following are some of my favorites and you can easily access them also.



Since committing to writing and posting five days a week, prompts have been a major part of my writing life. There are times when just a word or idea is enough, other times I need a little extra push.  When that happens a writing prompt will show up and save the day.

Here is to all the writers out there, happy writing and don’t forget to use the tools that the world has to offer.




23 thoughts on “Writing Prompts

  1. I need a prompt. Nowadays it seems I spend so much of my time writing news stories and covering assignments — and not so much working on my next novel.


  2. I like old newspapers too; they have such funny or forgotten historical tidbits that add authenticity. But I love the idea for checking the daily horoscope if you don’t know what your character is up to that day. Thanks, Doris!


    1. Alethea, I fell into the horoscope out of desperation and it proved to be the most fun to use. I spend most Sundays going through those old newspapers. They are goldmines for me.


  3. Wonderful ideas, Doris! I’ve seen the prompts at Writers Digest, but didn’t think about using quotes to stimulate the creative juices. Since I write about pets, I often look online for latest about dogs, rescue organizations, etc. My newest manuscript is going to include stats about pet ownership and rescue, so discovering those “nuggets” has been helpful. Thanks for your informative post!


  4. Writing prompts are great. When I was teaching, especially historical periods, my writing prompts were stuck on the black/white board. Some occasions they were single words, and other times they were sentences/statements. The kids (11-12yrs) were tasked with a target e.g. x paragraphs depending on the time set. They are great for focusing on a specific objective. I’m off to write myself some prompts for my next scene in my wip – Thanks, Doris!


  5. Doris, I think your poems are writing prompts. I don’t use writing prompts too often, maybe I should. A little research gives me 1000’s of ideas. When you’re talking old newspapers are you talking old last year, 20 years or what? I love reading really old magazines and newspapers, like 60 years or so. This wonderful and lively and thanks for the links. Cher’ley


  6. Cher’ley, old for me is pre-1900 usually. I also have thought of the haiku as prompts also. Glad they are of use. Also thank you for the kind words.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.