The Power of a Writing Prompt

Over the last year, I wrote two short stories that I never would have written before.

How did I do this?

Through the magic of writing contests, guided by prompts, and inspired by a deadline.

For the first contest, I had a month to produce a 2000-word story. It had to begin with a balloon that had a special message and end with an electrical storm. Along the way, I had to use the words lemon and ecstasy. Fun!

The second contest was even more specific, and had a smaller word count and a tighter deadline. I had one weekend to write a 1000-word story where the genre and location were supplied to me on Friday night! I also had to include a random object (mine was a computer keyboard) somewhere in the narrative. My assigned genre was “thriller,” which made me groan out loud because it is waaaaaaay out of my comfort zone, but this ended up encouraging me to write something I never would have on my own. It felt “stretching.”

And really, that’s the whole point of writing contests and using prompts that someone else has made up. It’s like suddenly being granted special entry into a foreign country or the key to a locked room. It allows you access to places you might never have visited.

I found this experience to be incredibly enlivening and also empowering. As any artist of any discipline knows, sometimes a big part of our struggle is the question of what to create. “Where do I even begin?” is a common question.

Having the guidance of external and specific prompts allowed me to be creative in new ways and made me feel excited about what I was writing. If you think you might like to try prompts that someone else has created, look no further!

I have two writing prompt programs: The Start Small Writing Challenge (inspiring content and writing prompts delivered every day for a week) and Daily Sparks (30 days of juicy prompts designed to get you thinking about yourself, your life, and what you want to create). They both start anytime you’re ready!

Happy writing!