Artful Advice

Creative writing prompts

Inspiring ideas to help you uncover the wordsmith within

Creative writing prompts

Whether you’re dreaming of drafting a novel, or just fancy disappearing onto the page for a little while, creative writing is an excellent practice for all. Everybody has something to say – from avid wordsmiths to those who haven’t written since high school. Getting started can be the hardest part, so we’ve gathered some fun writing prompts to help you uncover your inner writer. Set a time limit, aim for a set amount of pages or just let your pen flow freely. You never know what you could create.

Make a memory into something new
Many famous writers include elements of their lives in their fiction. Even the most mundane occurrence is perfect inspiration for writing; both Virginia Woolf’s classic Mrs Dalloway and James Joyce’s masterpiece Ulysses take place on a single, ordinary day. Here are some ways to use your memories to inspire your pen to start flowing.

– Describe your favourite memory in as much detail as you can, but from the perspective of someone else.
– Think about a big choice you’ve made. What would have happened if you made another one?
– Describe your dream day, ten years from now.
Write about the moments before, during and after one of your biggest life experiences.

Follow your heart
The best stories are those that make you feel something – whether it’s an experience that you can relate to, or something that you’ve never experienced. Harnessing your emotions allows you to create fictional stories that can connect with other people, but can also give you a deeper connection to yourself. Here are some ideas to let you get in touch with your feelings.

– Write about the first time you felt love – romantic, familial, platonic or even from a pet.
– Think about a big heartbreak or disappointment, then use those emotions to write a story. Or, write about what would have happened if you really got what you wanted.
– Write about your favourite person. You could pen a shared memory, simply describe them or tell a story from their life.
– Keep a list notepad on your bedside table and write down your dreams as soon as you wake up. Then, use these dreams to write a story, and see what emotions you can uncover.

Let’s go out
The wide world is filled with inspiration from all sources. Whether you’re remembering the street you grew up on, imagining your favourite seaside holiday spot or going on an adventure somewhere new, keep your eyes peeled for ideas. Here are some ways you can incorporate the world around you into your writing.

– Describe your favourite place in the world – what can you smell/hear/taste/see?
– Think about your favourite season, then describe a day inspired by the weather and events of that time of year. Or, imagine how your favourite day could be shifted if it took place in the southern/northern hemisphere.
– Go outside to a park and let your imagination run wild – are you inspired by an intriguing figure walking their dog? A couple arguing? A mysterious looking wood? See if you can invent a scenario based on what you see
– Imagine a character on a plane, train or in a car. Where are they going? Who are they meeting? Are they fleeing someone, or are they on their way to find something?


An open book
Your bookshelves, local libraries and favourite bookstores are filled with ideas for fiction. Whether you have a story you want to continue, a character you’d love to spend more time with or a turn of phrase that’s stuck in your head, so many pages are filled with potential.

– Open a book, pick a sentence and use it as a jumping off point for your own story.
– Think of your favourite character from a book, tv series or film. Invent a new scenario for them, or imagine that they’re living a day in your life.
– They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but cover art and titles can be a great jumping off point for your own writing. Use your favourite novel, or pick something you’ve never seen before.
– Open a dictionary to a random page, close your eyes and point to a word. Use that as a starting point for a story.

Other words of inspiration
The written word in all other forms provides an excellent introduction to creative writing. A memorable narrative can grow from even the most mundane scribbles. Here are some of our favourite ways to use writing of all kinds into a creative writing prompt.

– Open your phone to the last text you received. Let your imagination run wild, picturing that it’s been sent by a mysterious character.
– Grab a newspaper and pick a headline at random. Start writing without reading what the article is about.
– Think of your favourite song at the moment, or open your music app and pick a song at random. Are you inspired by a particular lyric? Or could you write a story based on the narrative of the song? Or, consider the artist’s process of writing and recording the music.
– Imagine that you receive a mysterious letter in the post. Who is it from? What does it say? What do you do next?

Quickfire prompts
Sometimes, less is more. For further inspiration, here are some quick fire prompts to get you started in no time.

– You’re incredibly late to work. What happened?
– One morning, you wake up with no memory of the evening before. Searching for answers, you search your coat pocket. What do you find?
You see a mysterious gift sitting on a park bench. What do you do?
– Picture a windswept cottage, perched on a cliff and overlooking a beach. You’re staying there when there’s a knock on the door. Who’s there?
– You’re on a road trip when your car breaks down. Another car slows down to help you. What happens next?

To begin creative writing, all you need is a blank page. Our range of notebooks are ready to be personalised with your pen name or any words that inspire, then filled with all kinds of notes and narratives.

Other stories we think you'll like