New month, fresh motivation. Looking for a starting point, or some inspiration for your work? We’ve assembled a list of prompts for creative encouragement.

The following prompts should be broad enough to apply to all writing genres. Non-writing mediums can make use of them, too: just swap out the word “write” for “draw” or “choreograph” or whatever is your generative verb of choice. We recommend not overthinking it. Set your phone to airplane mode, silence your inner editor, and go!

  • Think of the oldest item of clothing that you own. First, describe it physically, in terms of color, material, etc. Try also to incorporate senses besides sight and touch (the sound it makes, a taste or smell the color evokes). Next, write about a specific memory in which it played a part.
  • Write a recipe for a non-food item—e.g., an experience, a feeling, a magical power, etc.
  • Write a scene or prose poem in which a secret, or some previously withheld information, is revealed.
  • Enter your first and last name into an anagram generator. Use one or more of the results as a starting point for a piece of writing.
  • Think of a fictional character—either one of your own invention, or from a work that you admire—and imagine a list of their most treasured belongings. Describe these belongings in great detail or use to create a list poem.
  • Write about silence, either in the sense of an absence of noise, or the act of silencing, or being silenced.
  • Describe a situation (fictional or drawn from your life) in which an apparently negative situation later proved to be positive. Or vice versa.
  • Take an existing piece of your writing in which characters are interacting. Look for places where you used adverbs, and try replacing them with physical gestures. Try similar replacements in a poem.
  • Make a map of your childhood neighborhood, without regard to accuracy or scale. Can be any combination of drawing or writing. Find one particular spot on the map and describe an event (either real, or imagined) that took place there.
  • Write a book review of a book you’ve yet to write or critique a poem that doesn’t exist.

Did you miss earlier prompts lists? Here they are.

Like what you’ve written? Put it away for a week, then revisit, and revise, revise, revise. When it’s ready to go, submit. If you have feedback, or ideas for prompts, please get in touch.

[Art: ‘Silos and Fence’, by Submittable team member Ben Bloch]

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Got high-quality writing or artwork related to publishing or digital media? Consider submitting it to our blog. Thanks!



  • Lawrence

    Dear Barb Ristine – I once sent off a submission with the inclusion of a poverty plea. I mentioned my four starving children and a wife anxiously tightening a wet dishcloth over her whitened knuckles. The rejection came by post – with a toffee taped to it.