On Writing Writing Prompts

coverA writer needs to have several mindsets, each dependent on the genre of their craft. For fiction, the writer must be in the mind of the protagonist, antagonist, and side characters; for nonfiction, the writer’s mind must be research-based. But what about the writer who writes writing prompts? What mindset does the writer need to write blurbs for other writers’ ideas?

Writing writing prompts (I love it when the same word is both a verb and a noun!) is, basically, brainstorming. Prompts prompt the writer (See what I did there? Alright, I’ll stop now…) to create a work based on an idea – and as a prompt writer, it is your job to create those inspiring ideas. This involves a lot of brainstorming. Developing prompts for writers can be done in three steps:

  1. Create a theme
  2. Brainstorm
  3. Organize

Create a Theme

A theme gives the prompts something to relate back to. This is your starting point. For example, my ebook 95 Writing Prompts for Your 9 to 5 focuses on prompts based on the full-time work schedule. Thus, the work day is my theme. Knowing this, I could focus on the situations that would arise in the prompts in a specific manner. Giving the prompts a theme will also help you with brainstorming what the prompts will actually be.


This is the step where the prompts are created. Here, you as the writer will think of situations and jot it down. Write as many situations – prompts – as you can think of that centers on the theme. Since my prompts were based on the workplace, I began brainstorming by thinking of words related to the workday – coffee, commute, desk, meeting – and wrote down every situation I could think of based on those words. When you feel you have collected enough prompts, it is time for the last step.


It is now time to organize the prompts you have created. Do you see certain commonalities or groups within the prompts? Can they be grouped in subthemes or situations? In the case of my ebook, I sectioned the prompts based on the time of day – morning, break, meeting, afternoon, rush hour – thus taking the reader on a journey through the average workday. Which organization style feels right to you?

How you publish your book of writing prompts is up to you, if you so choose. I chose to offer it as a free gift to readers who subscribe to my mailing list. From here, you can self-publish it or look at other avenues – the choice is yours.

I hope this has prompted you to write your own prompts! If you want to read my own ebook of prompts, please feel free to sign up for my mailing list where you’ll get updates and exclusive content.


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