A lack of creative writing ideas often leads to a writer’s worst fear: writer’s block.
It’s so easy to fall into its clutches, spending hours at your laptop (or notebook or typewriter) writing sentence after sentence only to cross every one out. Or even worse—to sit an an empty page and write nothing at all. Sometimes it takes time and hard thinking to get out of the rut once you become stuck. Sometimes, however, it takes a little more than that. Sometimes it just might take some outside help.
It can be exceedingly difficult to find solid, mature creative writing ideas on the internet. If you Google “creative writing ideas,” most of what comes up is directed at children or casual writers looking to practice a hobby. But what about creative writing ideas for adults? What about when you have the dedication, passion, and experience with writing, but you just don’t have the ideas?
The next time you’re at a loss for what to write about, try using these creative writing ideas and prompts below. Maybe you’ll be inspired enough to propel you straight out of your writer’s block, or maybe it’ll just be enough to get the gears turning in your head again.
50 Creative Writing Ideas (with Prompts) to Boost Your Inspiration
1. Try Writing Magical Realism
Write a story from a universe similar to this one but possessing one specific magical quality.
1. Write about two people who grow up together, eventually part ways, move to different sides of the country, and somehow still end up unintentionally running into each other very frequently for the rest of their lives.
2. Write about someone who is reincarnated over and over again and remembers all of his/her past lives, but no one else on earth remembers theirs.
3. Write about two people who are physically unable to be awake at the same time.
4. Write about a contract killer literally haunted by his first hit.
5. Write about a prophet who knows the exact day, time, and occurrence of his death years in advance.
6. Write about a character who can taste people’s emotions through the food they prepare.
7. Write about two people who dream about each other before they actually meet.
8. Write a post-apocalyptic story and explain only your main character’s coping mechanism: creating a fantasy world in his/her head and living there.
9. Write about a person who goes to the theater with friends multiple times but always sees a different movie than his/her friends see on the same screen.
10. Write about a person who grows a new finger every time he/she acts cruelly to someone.
2. Write from a Different Perspective
Use a voice and background different from your own to write something unfamiliar and fresh.
1. Write from the perspective of an advanced AI.
2. Write from the perspective of a person in the year 2550.
3. Write from perspective of a mythological siren stuck on the rocky shore of an ocean, trying to lure sailors to their deaths.
4. Write from the perspective of an “inside guy” (jury member, lawyer, judge, etc) during an important court case.
5. Write from the perspective of a family pet whose fate is decided when its owners split up.
6. Write from the perspective of a different gender when subjected to explicit sexual objectification.
7. Write from the perspective of an inanimate object in nature, like a rock or the wind.
8. Write from the perspective of someone with a chronic but not fatal illness (diabetes, OCD, Lyme disease, etc).
9. Write from the perspective of a blind person who comes home to find all the furniture in his/her apartment rearranged.
10. Write from the perspective of a fed-up guardian angel whose designated human is prone to self-sacrificial acts.
3. Write About What’s Around You
Get inspired by ordinary objects in your home.
1. Find a small object in your junk drawer (stapler remover, chewed-up pen cap, paperweight, etc) and write about how it could be used as a weapon to kill.
2. Imagine you have to hide documents essential to national security somewhere in your office or bedroom and write a story about wherever you think is the best place.
3. If the room you’re in has windows, write a story in which the room is exactly the same but with no windows, and vice versa.
4. Imagine you’re cleaning out your desk and find a secret message carved or written on the bottom of one drawer.
5. Open a book in your office, turn to a random page, blindly point to a word, and use it as the very first word of your story.
6. Find a photo of yourself and write a narrative about the photographer in that moment.
7. Pick a room in your house and recount a story, real or fictional, about how a particular object in that room came to be there.
8. Mentally (or physically, if you want to) rearrange all the furniture in your office or bedroom and write about how that changes the overall mood of the room.
9. Search your coat pockets for old recipes, notes, or trinkets and write a story centered around something you find. (If you find nothing, write about why you empty your pockets so frequently.)
10. Pick a small item from your desk drawer and write about a character who carries it around as a talisman.
4. Let Your Reading Inspire Your Writing
Use your favorite books as a launching pad to create something original.
1. Write a scene borrowing the protagonist of a book you’ve read, but cast as a different gender.
2. Research an author you enjoy, then combine his/her life with the life of a character from one of his/her books to create a new character.
3. Take a familiar scene from a book and rewrite it, adding yourself in as a character (spectator, narrator, background figure, etc).
4. Reset a scene from a book in a drastically different time period.
5. Write a different story using the same title as a familiar book.
6. If the book you’re using has a first person narrator, rewrite a scene either from the perspective of another character or in the third person.
7. Write about a fictional person who has an intense reaction (either positive or negative) to a book you’ve read.
8. Write a story using only words found in the first and last sentences of each chapter of a book.
9. Take a book you know well and write an alternate ending that is the exact opposite of the real ending (whatever you think “opposite” means).
10. If the book you’re using has a third person narrator, rewrite a scene in the first person (as one of the author’s characters or a new character).
5. Take a Plot and Write It Multiple Ways
Take a well-defined prompt and write it multiple times, each with a different ending.
1. Write about a Japanese steakhouse chef who accidentally cuts him/herself while cooking in front of a family.
2. Write about a painter who is commissioned by a family member to paint a dead man/woman using no pictures, only descriptions from other people.
3. Write about a group of truckers who all frequent the same truck stops and form a book club for when they see each other again.
4. Write about a seasoned model who shows up to her agency one day with inexplicable cuts all over her legs.
5. Write about two strangers who each grab one end of extremely rare record at the same time in a secondhand vinyl shop.
6. Write about a manic-depressive linguist who conveys his/her emotions to friends using words from other languages that aren’t translatable into English.
7. Write about a group of whalers who accidentally discover mermaids the size of blue whales.
8. Write about someone who mistakenly picks the lock to the wrong apartment at two in the morning when trying to get into a friend’s apartment.
9. Write about a strictly Shakespearian actor who loses all of his/her money and has to take modern comedic roles to stay afloat.
10. And finally: Write about a writer struggling with long-term writer’s block who desperately searches the internet for ideas and prompts.