Why You Should Be Using a Writing Prompt

Today, it seems like everyone has a story to tell, or an opinion to give. Thanks to the internet, it’s possible to write and tell your story in many different places. You can write and publish your own book, submit articles to be posted on other sites, or even create your own website or blog and write about all the topics you love. Once you’ve got something written, it’s easy to edit the material and use an online spell checker. The problem comes before that.  It can sometimes difficult to get from wanting to write about something and actually sitting down to do it. Using a writing prompt can help.

writing prompt
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In most cases, the most difficult part of writing something is deciding what to write about. “Professional” writers will tell you to start with something called a “writing prompt”. This is usually not a well-formed idea (because then you wouldn’t need a prompt). It’s just a short phrase or can even be a single word.

When you sit down to start writing, you should start with your prompt and just start writing down whatever comes to mind.

You will usually end up with a bunch of unrelated notes on the topic, but if you’re really lucky, inspiration will hit and it will lead directly into writing the story or article you intended.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work like that. After spending some time just writing down random thoughts around your prompt, you should go back and review them. At that point, you can look at what you wrote and start getting a plan together.

The purpose isn’t to use a writing prompt to start writing the article you intended, it’s simply to start writing.

Your ramblings might turn into a list of items for your article, or you might decide to focus on just one of the things you wrote down. Either way, you now have a start and you are no longer staring at a blank page.

Here are four reasons that using a writing prompt can be beneficial:

  1. A blank page is scary. To any kind of writer, a blank page is scary and it can even become a mental block. If you start by using a writing prompt, you won’t have a blank page any longer!
  2. It will help relax your mind. Not having to stare at a blank page will definitely help reduce stress, but it also gives your mind a break from forcing it to think about the article you want to write.
  3. When you review your writing prompts, you may actually find information that you want to include in your final piece. Another common result is that you will end up identifying other topics that you may want to write about later. When you start using writing prompts, you will find that there is no end to the topics you identify that you want to write about.
  4. It builds a habit. Writers will tell you that the key to writing better is simply to write.  It doesn’t matter what you write or how good it is. The important thing is to just write as much as you can. It’s like building up a muscle – if you want it to get better, you have to use it.

Where to Find Writing Prompts

If you want to start using writing prompts to help you get started, the great news is that you are literally surrounded by them. You just have to start paying attention and writing down a few words or phrases that catch your ear. They can come from television, conversations with friends, billboards, headlines or from surfing the internet. Once you get into the habit of keeping a list of writing prompts, you’ll never have to struggle with a blank page again!

Of course, regardless of the reason you’re writing, you should take the time to spell check your document to make sure that it is presented in the best light possible.