Creative Nonfiction Essay Prompts Common

If you want to become a better writer, the best thing you can do is practice writing every single day. Writing prompts are useful because we know sometimes it can be hard to think of what to write about!

To help you brainstorm, we put together this list of 365 creative writing prompts to give you something to write about daily. Whether you write short stories, poems, or like to keep a journal – these will stretch your imagination and give you some ideas for topics to write about!

Here are 365 Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire:

1. Outside the Window: What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

2. The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

3. The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

4. Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

6. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

7. The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on it’s way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

8. Dream-catcher: Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

9. Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

10. Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.

11. Dragon: Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

12. Greeting: Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello”.

13. The Letter Poem: Write a poem using words from a famous letter or a letter from your own collection.

14. The found poem: Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.

15. Eavesdropper: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.

16. Addict: Everyone’s addicted to something in some shape or form. What are things you can’t go without?

17. Dictionary Definition: Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

18. Cleaning: Hey, even writers and creative artists have to do housework sometimes. Write about doing laundry, dishes, and other cleaning activities.

19. Great Minds: Write about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.

20. Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting story lines to inspire your writing.

21. Foreclosure: Write a poem or short story about someone who has lost or is about to lose their home.

22. Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.

23. Sugar: Write something so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt.

24. Numbers: Write a poem or journal entry about numbers that have special meaning to you.

25. Dread: Write about doing something you don’t want to do.

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

27. Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?

28. Shadow: Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.

29. Good Vibes: What makes you smile? What makes you happy?

30. Shopping: Write about your shopping wishlist and how you like to spend money.

31. The Professor: Write about a teacher that has influenced you.

32. Rewrite a Poem: Take any poem or short story you find anywhere. Rewrite it in your own words.

33. Jewelry: Write about a piece of jewelry. Who does it belong to?

34. Sounds: Sit outside for about an hour. Write down the sounds you hear.

35. War and Peace: Write about a recent conflict.

36. Frame It: Write a poem or some phrases that would make for good wall art in your home.

37. Puzzle: Write about putting together the pieces of puzzles.

38. Fire-starters: Write about building a fire.

39. Coffee & Tea: Surely you drink one or the other or know someone who does- write about it!

40. Car Keys: Write about someone getting their driver’s license for the first time.

41. What You Don’t Know: Write about a secret you’ve kept from someone else or how you feel when you know someone is keeping a secret from you.

42. Warehouse: Write about being inside an old abandoned warehouse.

43. The Sound of Silence: Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting.

44. Insult: Write about being insulted. How do you feel? Why do you think the other person insulted you?

45. Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

46. Dirty: Write a poem about getting covered in mud.

47. Light Switch: Write about coming out of the dark and seeing the light.

48. The Stars: Take inspiration from a night sky. Or, write about a time when “the stars aligned” in your horoscope.

49. Joke Poem: What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet ya at the corner! Hahaha.

50. Just Say No: Write about the power you felt when you told someone no.

51: Sunrise/Sunset: It goes round and round.

52. Memory Lane: What’s it look like? How do you get there?

53. Tear-Jerker: Watch a movie that makes you cry. Write a poem about that scene in the movie.

54. Dear Diary: Write a poem or short story about a diary entry you’ve read or imagined.

55. Holding Hands: The first time you held someone’s hand.

56. Photograph: Write a story or journal entry influenced by a photograph.

57. Alarm Clock: Write about waking up.

58. Darkness: Write a poem or journal entry inspired by what you can’t see

59. Refreshed: Write a poem about a time you really felt refreshed and renewed. Maybe it was a dip into a pool on a hot summer day, a drink of lemonade, or other situation that helped you relax and start again.

60. Handle With Care: Write about a very fragile or delicate object.

61. Drama: Write about a time when you got stuck in between two parties fighting with each other.

62. Slip Up: Write about making mistakes.

63. Spice: Write about flavors and tastes or a favorite spice of yours.

64. Sing a New Song: Take a popular song off the radio and rewrite it as a poem in your own words.

65. Telephone: Write about a phone call you recently received.

66. Name: Write a poem or short story using your name in some way or form.

67. Dollhouse: Write a poem or short story from the viewpoint of someone living in a doll house.

68. Random Wikipedia Article: Go to Wikipedia and click on Random Article. Write about whatever the page you get.

69. Silly Sports: Write about an extreme or silly sport. If none inspire you, make up the rules for your own game.

70. Recipe: Write about a recipe for something abstact, such as a feeling.

71. Famous Artwork: Choose a famous painting and write about it.

72. Where That Place Used to Be: Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.

73. Last Person You Talked to: Write a quick little poem or story about the last person you spoke with.

74. Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.

75. Interview: Write a list of questions you have for someone you would like to interview, real or fictional.

76. Missing You: Write about someone you miss dearly.

77. Geography: Pick a state or country you’ve never visited. Write about why you would or would not like to visit that place.

#78. Random Song: Use the shuffle feature on your MP3 player or go to a site like 8tracks.com or Songza.com and pick a playlist. Write something inspired by the first song you hear.

79. Hero: Write a tribute to someone you regard as a hero.

80. Ode to Strangers: Go people watching and write an ode to a stranger you see on the street.

81. Advertisement: Advertisements are everywhere, aren’t they? Write using the slogan or line from an ad.

82. Book Inspired: Think of your favorite book. Now write a poem that sums up the entire story in 10 lines.

83. Magic: Imagine you have a touch of magic, and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?

84. Fanciest Pen: Get out your favorite pen, pencils, or even colored markers and write using them!

85. A Day in the Life: Write about your daily habits and routine.

86. Your Muse: Write about your muse – what does he or she look like? What does your muse do to inspire you?

87. Convenience Store: Write about an experience you’ve had at a gas station or convenience store.

88. Natural Wonders of the World: Choose one of the natural wonders of the world. Write about it.

89. Facebook or Twitter Status: Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update. If you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, you can often search online for some funny ones to use as inspiration.

90. Green Thumb: Write about growing something.

91. Family Heirloom: Write about an object that’s been passed through the generations in your family.

92. Bug Catcher: Write about insects.

93. Potion: Write about a magic potion. What is it made of? What does it do? What is the antidote?

94. Swinging & Sliding: Write something inspired by a playground or treehouse.

95. Adjectives: Make a list of the first 5 adjectives that pop into your head. Use these 5 words in your story, poem, or journal entry.

96. Fairy Tales: Rewrite a fairy tale. Give it a new ending or make it modern or write as a poem.

97. Whispers: Write about someone who has to whisper a secret to someone else.

98. Smile: Write a poem about the things that make you smile.

99. Seasonal: Write about your favorite season.

100. Normal: What does normal mean to you? Is it good or bad to be normal?

101. Recycle: Take something you’ve written in the past and rewrite it into a completely different piece.

102. Wardrobe: Write about a fashion model or what’s currently in your closet or drawers.

103. Secret Message: Write something with a secret message hidden in between the words. For example, you could make an acrostic poem using the last letters of the word or use secret code words in the poem.

104. Vacation: Write about a vacation you took.

105. Heat: Write about being overheated and sweltering.

106. Spellbinding: Write a magic spell.

107. Puzzles: Write about doing a puzzle – jigsaw, crossword, suduko, etc.

108. Taking Chances: Everyone takes a risk at some point in their life. Write about a time when you took a chance and what the result was.

109. Carnival: Write a poem or story or journal entry inspired by a carnival or street fair.

110. Country Mouse: Write about someone who grew up in the country visiting the city for the first time.

#111: Questions: Write about questions you have for the universe. Optional: include an answer key.

112. Rushing: Write about moving quickly and doing things fast.

113. Staircase: Use a photo of a staircase or the stairs in your home or a building you love to inspire you.

114. Neighbors: Make up a story or poem about your next door neighbor.

115. Black and Blue: Write about a time you’ve been physically hurt.

116. All Saints: Choose a saint and create a poem about his or her life.

117. Beach Inspired: What’s not to write about the beach?

118. Shoes: What kind of shoes do you wear? Where do they lead your feet?

119. The Ex: Write a poem to someone who is estranged from you.

120. My Point of View: Write in the first person point of view.

121. Stray Animal: Think of the life of a stray cat or dog and write about that.

122. Stop and Stare: Create a poem or story about something you could watch forever.

123. Your Bed: Describe where you sleep each night.

124. Fireworks: Do they inspire you or do you not like the noise and commotion? Write about it.

125. Frozen: Write about a moment in your life you wish you could freeze and preserve.

126. Alone: Do you like to be alone or do you like having company?

127. Know-it-all: Write about something you are very knowledgeable about, for example a favorite hobby or passion of yours.

128. The Promise: Write about a promise you’ve made to someone. Did you keep that promise?

129. Commotion: Write about being overstimulated by a lot of chaos.

130. Read the News Today: Construct a poem or story using a news headline for your first line.

131. Macro: Write a description of an object close-up.

132. Transportation: Write about taking your favorite (or least-favorite) form of transportation.

133. Gadgets: If you could invent a gadget, what would it do? Are there any gadgets that make your life easier?

134: Bring on the Cheese: Write a tacky love poem that is so cheesy, it belongs on top of a pizza.

135. Ladders: Write a story or poem that uses ladders as a symbol.

136. Bizarre Holiday: There is a bizarre holiday for any date! Look up a holiday for today’s date and create a poem in greeting card fashion or write a short story about the holiday to celebrate.

137. Blog-o-sphere: Visit your favorite blog or your feedreader and craft a story, journal entry, or poem based on the latest blog post you read.

138. Mailbox: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry based on a recent item of mail you’ve received.

139. Sharing: Write about sharing something with someone else.

140. Cactus: Write from the viewpoint of a cactus – what’s it like to live in the dessert or have a “prickly personality”?

141. It’s a Sign: Have you seen any interesting road signs lately?

142. Furniture: Write about a piece of furniture in your home.

143. Failure: Write about a time you failed at something. Did you try again or give up completely?

144. Mystical Creatures: Angels or other mystical creatures – use them as inspiration.

145. Flying: Write about having wings and what you would do.

146. Clear and Transparent: Write a poem about being able to see-through something.

147. Break the Silence: Record yourself speaking, then write down what you spoke and revise into a short story or poem.

148. Beat: Listen to music with a strong rhythm or listen to drum loops. Write something that goes along with the beat you feel and hear.

149. Color Palette: Search online for color palettes and be inspired to write by one you resonate with.

150. Magazine: Randomly flip to a page in a magazine and write using the first few words you see as an opening line.

151. The Grass is Greener: Write about switching the place with someone or going to where it seems the “grass is greener”.

152. Mind & Body: Write something that would motivate others to workout and exercise.

153. Shaping Up: Write something that makes a shape on the page…ie: a circle, a heart, a square, etc.

154. Twenty-One: Write about your 21st birthday.

155. Aromatherapy: Write about scents you just absolutely love.

156. Swish, Buzz, Pop: Create a poem that uses Onomatopoeia.

157. What Time is It? Write about the time of day it is right now. What are people doing? What do you usually do at this time each day?

158. Party Animal: Have you ever gone to a party you didn’t want to leave? Or do you hate parties? Write about it!

159: Miss Manners: Write using the words “please” and “thank you”.

160. Cliche: Choose a common cliche, then write something that says the same thing but without using the catch phrase.

161. Eco-friendly: Write about going green or an environmental concern you have.

162. Missing You: Write about someone you miss.

163. Set it Free: Think of a time when you had to let someone or something go to be free…did they come back?

164: Left Out: Write about a time when you’ve felt left out or you’ve noticed someone else feeling as if they didn’t belong.

165. Suitcase: Write about packing for a trip or unpacking from when you arrive home.

166. Fantasy: Write about fairies, gnomes, elves, or other mythical creatures.

167. Give and Receive: Write about giving and receiving.

168. Baker’s Dozen: Imagine the scents and sights of a bakery and write.

169. Treehouse: Write about your own secret treehouse hideaway.

170. Risk: Write about taking a gamble on something.

171. Acrostic: Choose a word and write an acrostic poem where every line starts with a letter from the word.

172. Crossword Puzzle: Open up the newspaper or find a crossword puzzle online and choose one of the clues to use as inspiration for your writing.

173. Silver Lining: Write about the good that happens in a bad situation.

174. Gloves: Write about a pair of gloves – what kind of gloves are they? Who wears them and why?

175. All that Glitters: Write about a shiny object.

176. Jealousy: Write with a theme of envy and jealousy.

177. How Does Your Garden Grow? Write about a flower that grows in an unusual place.

178. Jury Duty: Write a short story or poem that takes place in a courtroom.

179. Gifts: Write about a gift you have given or received.

180. Running: Write about running away from someone or something.

181. Discovery: Think of something you’ve recently discovered and use it as inspiration.

182. Complain: Write about your complaints about something.

183. Gratitude: Write a poem or journal entry that is all about things you are thankful for.

184. Chemistry: Choose an element and write a poem or story that uses that word in one of the lines.

185. Applause: Write about giving someone a standing ovation.

186. Old Endings Into New Beginnings: Take an old poem, story, or journal entry of yours and use the last line and make it the first line of your writing today.

187. Longing: Write about something you very much want to do.

188. I Am: Write a motivational poem or journal entry about positive traits that make you who you are.

189. Rainbow: What is at the end of a rainbow? Or, take a cue from Kermit the Frog, and ask yourself, why are there so many songs about rainbows?

190. Museum: Take some time to visit a nearby museum with your journal. Write about one of the pieces that speaks to you.

191. Cartoon: Think of your favorite cartoon or comic. Write a poem or story that takes place in that setting.

192. Copycat: Borrow a line from a famous public domain poem to craft your own.

193. From the Roof-tops: Imagine you could stand on a rooftop and broadcast a message to everyone below – what would you say?

194. Time Travel: If there was a time period you could visit for a day, where would you go? Write about traveling back in time to that day.

195. Changing Places: Imagine living the day as someone else.

196. Neighborhood: Write about your favorite place in your neighborhood to visit and hang out at.

197. Pirates: Write about a pirate ship.

198. Interview: Write based on a recent interview you’ve read or seen on TV or heard on the radio.

199. Hiding Spaces: Write about places you like to hide things at. What was a favorite hiding spot for you as a child playing hide-and-seek?

200. Extreme Makeover: Imagine how life might be different if you could change your hair color or clothing into something completely opposite from your current style.

201. Empathy: Write about your feelings of empathy or compassion for another person.

202. Opposites: Write a poem or story that ties in together two opposites.

203. Boredom: Write about being bored or make a list of different ways to entertain yourself.

204. Strength: Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.

205. Hunger: Write from the perspective of someone with no money to buy food.

206. Greed: Write about someone who always wants more – whether it be money, power, etc. etc.

207. Volcano: Write about an eruption of a volcano.

208. Video Inspiration: Go to Vimeo.com or YouTube.com and watch one of the videos featured on the homepage. Write something inspired by what you see.

209. Sneeze: Write about things that make you sneeze.

210. Footsteps on the Moon: Write about the possibility of life in outer-space.

211: Star-crossed: Write a short modern version of the story of Romeo and Juliet or think of real-life examples of lovers who are not allowed to be together to use as inspiration for your writing.

212. Font-tastic: Choose a unique font and type out a poem using that font.

213. Schedule: Take a look at your calendar and use the schedule for inspiration in writing.

214. Grandparents: Write about a moment in your grandparent’s life.

215. Collage: Go through a magazine and cut out words that grab your attention. Use these words to construct a poem or as a story starter or inspiration for your journal.

216. Oh so Lonely: Write a poem about what you do when you are alone – do you feel lonely or do you enjoy your own company?

217. Waterfall: Think of a waterfall you’ve seen in person or spend some time browsing photos of waterfalls online. Write about the movement, flow, and energy.

218. First Kiss: Write about your first kiss.

219. So Ironic: Write about an ironic situation you’ve been in throughout your life.

220. Limerick: Write a limerick today.

221. Grocery Shopping: Write about an experience at the grocery store.

222. Fashion: Go through a fashion magazine or browse fashion websites online and write about a style you love.

223. So Close: Write about coming close to reaching a goal.

224. Drinks on Me: Write a poem or short story that takes place at a bar.

225. Online Friends: Write an ode to someone online you’ve met and become friends with.

226. Admiration: Is there someone you admire? Write about those feelings.

227. Trash Day: Write from the perspective of a garbage collector.

228. Mailbox: Open your mailbox and write something inspired by one of the pieces of mail you received.

229. Fresh & Clean: Write about how you feel after you take a shower.

230. Energized: Write about how you feel when you’re either at a high or low energy level for the day.

231. Rhyme & No Reason: Make up a silly rhyming poem using made up words.

232. Tech Support: Use computers or a conversation with tech support you’ve had as inspiration.

233. Hotel: Write from the perspective of someone who works at a hotel or staying at a hotel.

234. Underwater: Write about sea creatures and under water life. What’s under the surface of the ocean? What adventures might be waiting?

235. Breathing: Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing relaxation techniques. Once your mind is clear, just write the first few things that you think of.

236. Liar, Liar: Make up a poem or story of complete lies about yourself or someone else.

237. Obituaries: Look at the recent obituaries online or in the newspaper and imagine the life of someone and write about that person.

238. Pocket: Rummage through your pockets and write about what you keep or find in your pockets.

239. Cinquain: Write a cinquain poem.

240. Alphabetical: Write a poem that has every letter of the alphabet in it.

241. Comedy Club: Write something inspired by a comedian.

242. Cheater: Write about someone who is unfaithful.

243. Sestina: Give a try to writing a sestina poem.

244. Fight: Write about witnessing two people get in an argument with each other.

245. Social Network: Visit your favorite Social Networking website (ie: Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Twitter, etc.) and write a about a post you see there.

246. Peaceful: Write about something peaceful and serene.

247. In the Clouds: Go cloud watching for the day and write about what you imagine in the clouds.

248. At the Park: Take some time to sit on a park bench and write about the sights, scenes, and senses and emotions you experience.

249. Sonnet: Write a sonnet today.

250. Should, Would, And Could: Write a poem or story using the words should, would, and could.

251. How to: Write a poem that gives directions on how to do something.

252. Alliteration: Use alliteration in your poem or in a sentence in a story.

253. Poker Face: Write about playing a card game.

254. Timer: Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. Don’t worry about it making sense or being perfect.

255. Dance: Write about a dancer or a time you remember dancing.

256. Write for a Cause: Write a poem or essay that raises awareness for a cause you support.

257. Magic: Write about a magician or magic trick.

258. Out of the Box: Imagine finding a box. Write about opening it and what’s inside.

259. Under the Influence: What is something has impacted you positively in your life?

260. Forgotten Toy: Write from the perspective a forgotten or lost toy.

261. Rocks and Gems: Write about a rock or gemstone meaning.

262. Remote Control: Imagine you can fast forward and rewind your life with a remote control.

263. Symbolism: Think of objects, animals, etc. that have symbolic meaning to you. Write about it.

264. Light at the End of the Tunnel: Write about a time when you saw hope when it seemed like a hopeless situation.

265. Smoke and Fire: Write inspired by the saying “where there’s smoke, there’s fire”.

266. Railroad: Write about a train and its cargo or passengers.

267. Clipboard: Write about words you imagine on an office clipboard.

268. Shipwrecked: Write about being stranded somewhere – an island, a bus stop, etc.

269. Quotable: Use a popular quote from a speaker and use it as inspiration for your writing.

#270. MindMap it Out: Create a mind map of words, phrases, and ideas that pop into your head or spend some time browsing the many mind maps online. Write a poem, story, or journal entry inspired by the mind map.

271. Patterns: Write about repeating patterns that occur in life.

272. Scrapbook: Write about finding a scrapbook and the memories it contains.

273. Cure: Write about finding a cure for an illness.

274. Email Subject Lines: Read your email today and look for subject lines that may be good starters for writing inspiration.

275. Wishful Thinking: Write about a wish you have.

276. Doodle: Spend some time today doodling for about 5-10 minutes. Write about the thoughts you had while doodling or create something inspired by your finished doodle.

277. Chalkboard: Imagine you are in a classroom. What does it say on the chalkboard?

278. Sticky: Imagine a situation that’s very sticky (ie: maple syrup or tape or glue) – and write about it.

279. Flashlight: Imagine going somewhere very dark with only a flashlight to guide you.

280. A Far Away Place: Envision yourself traveling to a fictional place, what do you experience in your imaginary journey?

281. On the Farm: Write about being in a country or rural setting.

282. Promise to Yourself: Write about a promise you want to make to yourself and keep.

283. Brick Wall: Write a poem that is about a brick wall – whether literally or figuratively.

284. Making a Choice: Write about a time when you had to make a difficult choice.

285. Repeat: Write about a time when you’ve had to repeat yourself or a time when it felt like no one was listening.

286. Outcast: Write about someone who is not accepted by their peers. (for example, the Ugly Ducking)

287. Scary Monsters: Write about a scary (or not-so-scary) monster in your closet or under the bed.

288. Sacrifice: Write about something you’ve sacrificed doing to do something else or help another person.

289. Imperfection: Create a poem that highlights the beauty in being flawed.

290. Birthday Poem: Write a poem inspired by birthdays.

291. Title First: Make a list of potential poem or story titles and choose one to write from.

292. Job Interview: Write about going on a job interview.

293. Get Well: Write a poem that will help someone who is sick feel better quick!

294. Lost in the Crowd: Write about feeling lost in the crowd.

295. Apple a Day: Write about health.

296. Cravings: Write about craving something.

297. Phobia: Research some common phobias, choose one, and write about it.

298. In the Moment: Write about living in the present moment.

299. Concrete: Write about walking down a sidewalk and what you see and experience.

300. Stars: Write about the stars in the sky and what they mean to you.

301. This Old House: Write about an old house that is abandoned or being renovated.

302. Clutter: Is there a cluttered spot in your home? Go through some of that clutter today and write about what you find or the process of organizing.

303. Go Fly a Kite: Write about flying a kite.

304. On the TV: Flip to a random TV channel and write about the first thing that comes on – even if it’s an infomercial!

305. Fruit: Write a poem that is an ode to a fruit.

306. Long Distance Love: Write about a couple that is separated by distance.

307. Glasses: Write about a pair of eyeglasses or someone wearing glasses.

308. Robotic: Write about a robot.

309. Cute as a Button: Write about something you think is just adorable.

310. Movie Conversation: Use a memorable conversation from a favorite movie to inspire your writing.

311. Easy-Peasy: Write about doing something effortlessly.

312. Idiom: Choose from a list of idioms one that speaks to you and create a poem around that saying or phrase. (Ie: It’s raining cats and dogs)

313. Playground: Whether it’s the swings or the sandbox or the sliding boards, write about your memories of being on a playground.

314. Romance: Write about romantic things partners can do for each other.

315. Rock Star: Imagine you are a famous rock star. Write about the experience.

316. Come to Life: Imagine ordinary objects have come to life. Write about what they do and say.

317. Airplane: Write about meeting someone on an airplane and a conversation you might have.

318. Health & Beauty: Take some time to peruse your medicine cabinet or the health and beauty aisles at a local store. Write a poem, short story, or journal entry inspired by a product label.

319. Determination: Write about not giving up.

320. Instrumental Inspiration: Listen to some instrumental music and write a poem that matches the mood, beat, and style of the music.

321. Wait Your Turn: Write about having to wait in line.

322. Personality Type: Do you know your personality type? (There are many free quizzes online) – write about what type of personality traits you have.

323. Decade: Choose a favorite decade and write about it. (IE: 1980’s or 1950’s for example)

324. I Believe: Write your personal credo of things you believe in.

325. Lost and Found: Write about a lost object.

326. Say it: Write a poem or story that uses dialogue between two people.

327. The Unsent Letter: Write about a letter that never made it to its recipient.

328. The Windows of the Soul: Write a poem about the story that is told through someone’s eyes.

329. Trial and Error: Write about something you learned the hard way.

330. Escape: Write about where you like to go to escape from it all.

331.What’s Cooking: Write something inspired a favorite food or recipe.

332. Records: Go through your file box and pull out old receipts or records…write something inspired by what you find!

333. Banking: Write about visiting the bank.

334. Sweet Talk: Write about trying to convince someone of something.

335. Serendipity: Write about something that happened by chance in a positive way.

336. Distractions: Write about how it feels when you can’t focus.

337. Corporation: Write about big business.

338. Word of the Day: Go to a website that has a word of the day and use it in a poem, story or journal entry you write.

339. Pick Me Up: What do you do when you need a pick me up?

340. Unfinished: Write about a project you started but never completed.

341. Forgiveness: Write about a time when someone forgave you or you forgave someone.

342. Weakness: Write about your greatest weakness.

343. Starting: Write about starting a project.

344. Mechanical: Think of gears, moving parts, machines.

345. Random Act of Kindness: Write about a random act of kindness you’ve done for someone or someone has done for you, no matter how small or insignificant it may have seemed.

346. Underground: Imagine living in a home underground and use that as inspiration for writing.

347. Classic Rock: Pick a classic rock love ballad and rewrite it into a story or poem with a similar theme.

348. Night Owl: Write about staying up late at night.

349. Magnetic: Write about attraction to something or someone.

350. Teamwork: Write about working with a team towards a common goal.

351. Roller-coaster: Write about the ups and downs in life.

352. Motivational Poster: Look at some motivational posters online and write a poem or journal entry inspired by your favorite one.

353. Games: Write about the games people play – figuratively or literally.

354. Turning Point: Write about a point in life where things turned for the better or worse.

355. Spellbound: Write about a witch’s spell.

356. Anniversary: Write about the anniversary of a special date.

357. Gamble: Be inspired by a casino or lottery ticket.

358. Picnic: Write about going on a picnic.

359. Garage: Write about some random item you might find in a garage.

360. Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.

361. Detective: Write about a detective searching for clues or solving a mystery.

362. Camera: Take your camera for a walk and write based on one of the photographs you take.

363. Visiting: Write about visiting a family member or friend.

364. Trust: Write about putting trust in someone.

365. Congratulations: Did you write a poem, short story, or journal entry every day for a whole year? Write about what you’ve learned and that celebrates your achievement!


We hope you enjoy these creative writing prompts! If you’d like to be notified when we add more prompts, don’t forget to Subscribe to our Newsletter!

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Filed Under: Creative Writing PromptsTagged With: creative writing prompts, daily writing prompts, journal prompts, poetry prompts

In the wide world of writing prompts, the options are slim for creative nonfiction writers. Even the relevant prompts are often jumbled together with essay and fictional prompts, making it hard for writers to find what they really want.

But not to worry. I present one whole hefty list of prompts just for creative nonfiction writers.

One small note before you dive in: don’t be afraid to mix and match the prompts. Each suggestion was meant to highlight a specific line of inspiration. There is absolutely no reason that two or three of these can’t be explored within one piece.

In fact, just use my tiny suggestions as springboards. Good luck!

1. Explore a scene or story from your memory by reimagining it from an alternate perspective. Write the event from the point of view of a passing bystander, another person close to the event, a pet, or even an inanimate object. When choosing your narrator, pay attention to how objective they would have been, what they would have paid attention to, and what sort of background knowledge they would have had about the scene.

2. Tell the nonfiction story that you don’t want your mother to read. You know the one. Don’t censor yourself.

3. Recall a moment in which you felt a strong spiritual or unidentifiable energy. Describe the scene in vivid detail, with special attention to the senses. Connect that scene to your relationship with your own religious beliefs or lack thereof. Examine how you incorporated that experience into your worldview.

4. Create a timeline of events depicting your life by using newspaper headlines. Try to focus on events that didn’t involve you directly, but connect them to the pivotal events in your life.

5. Tell the story of one of your family holiday gatherings. Identify any of your family’s common trademarks, such as your one aunt that seems to tell the same joke at every Christmas, or your two uncles that always hide from the rest of the family by doing the dishes. Explore how you are linked within this family dynamic, and how these little quirks evolved and changed over the years.

6. Tell the story of a location. Possibly one that is very close to your heart that you already know well, or a new one that inspires your curiosity. Pay particular attention to your own connection to the location, however small or large that connection may be.

7. Chose a location that you’ve come to know as an adult. Compare how you interact with this setting now to how you interacted with similar settings when you were a child. How has your perspective changed?



If you like these creative nonfiction prompts, check out the other creative writing prompts here at Bookfox.

There are:

  • photo writing prompts
  • musical prompts
  • historical fiction prompts
  • first line generators
  • and more


 

8. Describe a time in which you expected or wanted to feel a religious or spiritual moment, but couldn’t. What were you hoping would happen? How do you choose to interpret that?

9. Recall a key lesson that parents or family members tried to impart onto you as a child. For example: “live with a healthy mind and healthy body,” or “put others before yourself.” Revisit that lesson as an adult and connect it to how you have come to interpret it as you grew up or in your adult life. Feel free to pick a less serious lesson and have a little bit of fun with it.

10. Revisit a special birthday from when you were younger. Describe specific details, with emphasis upon the senses. Now that you have years of context, how do you feel about what your parents and family did or did not do for you? What does that event mean to you now?

11. Choose an event in your life that someone else remembers differently. Describe both memories and debate the differences. Who do you think is right? Why do you think you remember it differently?

12. Choose a strong emotion and think of two memories associated with it. What are the links between those two memories?

13. Think of a lesson you learned recently and apply it to a memory. How would your behavior have changed if you had applied the lesson back then?

14. Choose a commonplace or otherwise unremarkable memory and describe it in the most dramatic and absurd way possible. For inspiration, I’m leaving you with some quotes from Douglas Adams. “The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don’t.” “He leant tensely against the corridor wall and frowned like a man trying to unbend a corkscrew by telekinesis.” “It was a deep, hollow malevolent voice which sounded like molten tar glurping out of a drum with evil on its mind.”

15. Have you seen those bizarre Illuminati videos in which some automated voice tries to prove that Arch Duke Ferdinand is actually alive and has a monopoly on the world’s dairy farms? For this prompt, think of people in your life who have believed in crazy conspiracy theories, and write about the time they first shared them with you. Think of how your beliefs might seem naïve to them, and explore the tension between the competing versions of history.



Lee Gutkind, who has been called the “Godfather of Creative Nonfiction,” teaches you his best tricks for writing compelling true stories.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up



 

16. What do you want more than anything in your life? Write about the burning hot core of your desire, and how that desire has changed over your life.

17. Recall what stressed you out most as a child. Was it the creaking stairs leading to the basement? Or being lost at the store? Explore your current relationship to that stressor. Did you ever move past that fear or anxiety? How do you interact with it now?

18. What relationship in your life has caused the most pain? Write the key scene in that relationship, when everything was at stake.

19. Write about a road trip you took, and about where all your fellow travelers ended up in life versus where you ended up. Are you glad you didn’t end up where they did, or are you jealous?

20. How has your identity changed over the course of your life? Write a scene from your teenage years that epitomizes the type of person you were, and then write a scene from recent life that shows how you’ve changed.

21. What event in your life has angered you the most? Write the scene where it happened, and tell us what you would do if it happened again.

22. What single experience most shaped who you are? Describe the experience in a single, vivid scene.

23. Who was your first friend to die? Write about how you learned of their death, and how you and their other friends mourned them.

24. Choose a happy or comfortable memory and write it in a way that makes the memory creepy or eerie to the reader. Don’t change the basic facts of the event, only select different facts and present them differently.

25. Show yourself in a scene pursuing the thing you want most in the world. Try to show the reader, without telling them, about your character flaws.

26. If you could throw five items into the fire, what would they be and why? To be clear, by throwing them in this fire, there would be no trace of them left anywhere, even if it’s something on the Internet or a memory. This is a very powerful fire. What would the consequences be?

27. What physical object or family heirloom ties together your grandparents, your parents, and yourself? Describe this object in great detail, and what it has meant to generations of your family.





 

28. Tell a story from your life in inverted chronological order. Start with the end, then backpedal to the middle, then tell the beginning, and then fill in the rest of the gaps.

29. Write about your favorite trip or journey, and how that high level of happiness was eventually threatened.

30. Look at some photographs of your childhood. Look at the pictures of your old room, the clothes you wore, and the places you had been. Try to remember a friend from that time period, and describe the first memory of a time when they pressured you or made you uncomfortable or angry.

31. Take a small, boring moment that happened today and write as much as you can about it. Go overboard describing it, and make this boring moment exciting by describing it in intense detail with ecstatic prose. Eventually connect this small, boring detail with the grand narrative of your life, your bigger purpose and intentions.

32. Describe the best meal you ever ate. Then describe a conflict you had with the people you shared it with, one that happened before, during, or after.

33. Recall an individual that you particularly hated. Describe their cruelty to you, and try to write yourself into an understanding of why they might have done it.

34. What was the best/worst letter you ever received or wrote? Write about the situation surrounding that letter, and why it was so important.

35. Recall a name you’ve given to a toy, a car, a pet, or a child, and tell us the story of how you and your family selected that name. Who fought over the name? What was the significance of that name? What happened to the animal or thing you named?

36. Write about experiencing the craziest natural event you’ve ever seen — tornado, earthquake, tsunami, hurricane. Dramatize the physical danger of the natural event as well as the tension between you and the people you were with.

37. Tell the story of the most important person that has shaped your town and its culture (you might have to do some research). How did the activity of that person  influence the way you grew up or live currently?





 

38. Scientists have wondered for years how nature and nurture plays into the development of human minds and their choices. Explore where you and your siblings are today and the choices that brought you there. Would you like to trade places with your sibling? Would you be happy living in their shoes? How have your personal choices differed over the years?

39. Write a scene of a time when someone older than you gave you advice, and write about how you followed it or ignored it and the consequences.

40. Write a single, three-paragraph scene when your sexual desire was thwarted by yourself or someone else.

41. Describe a scene when you were stereotyping someone. Did someone challenge you, or if you only felt guilty by yourself, how did you change your behavior afterwards?

42. Describe the biggest epiphany of your life, then backtrack and tell the lead-up to that scene or the aftermath. In the lead-up or aftermath, show how the epiphany was either overrated or every bit as valuable as you’d previously thought.

43. Write about a fork in the road in your life, and how you made the decision to go the direction you did.

44. Explore an addiction you had or currently have. Whether the addiction is as serious as alcohol or cigarettes, or something much more mundane like texting, video games, or internet usage, describe in vivid detail the first time you tried it. If you quit, tell the story of how you quit.

45. Recall a scene in which you chose to remain silent. Whether it was your boss’s racist rant, or just an argument not worth having, explore the scene and why you chose not to speak.

46. Revisit a moment in your life that you feel you will never be able to forget. What about that moment made it so unforgettable?

47. What makes you feel guilty? Revisit a moment that you are ashamed of or feel guilty for and explore why that is. Describe the scene and the event and communicate why you feel this way.

48. Write about a moment in which you acted selflessly or against your own benefit. What motivated you to do so? What were the circumstances? How did you feel after words?

49. Write about the most pivotal scene in a relationship with someone in your extended family — Uncle, aunt, cousin, grandmother. Describe the tension or happiness you shared, and how that came to affect your relationship from that point onward.

50. If all else fails, try a writing-sprint. Set an alarm for 5, 10, or 15 minutes and write as much as possible within that time span. Even if you begin with no inspiration, you might be surprised with what you come up with by the end.





 

For added pressure, try these writing websites:

If you stop writing for more than 5 seconds, everything you’ve written disappears. It’s like writing with someone with a whip behind your chair. But with this new update you can choose to get positive reinforcements, too, like a kitten or candy, or to have your words disemvoweled rather than disappear.

A points-based system to encourage writers to write 750 words every single day. You get bonus points for not skipping days, and bonus points for writing more than 750 words.

Every 100 words you write, you get shown a picture of a kitten. Ah, simple motivation. No word whether a dog version of the site is in the works for those who are more dog people.

For more on creative nonfiction writing, I suggest Creative Nonfiction. This website works with its print magazine counterpart to specifically cater to creative nonfiction writers and operates as an excellent starting point for more inspiration. Happy writing!

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