Creative writing is fun! And those who are creative writers know it. But sometimes it can be hard, especially when you’re writing something long, something innovative or something super tricky. Creating, especially creating with words, takes serious thought energy, time and usually some amount of writerly skill. Oh yeah, and sometimes some solid writing prompts to get you started. 

Of course, there’s no right way to write. But just like you can tell the difference between your 10 yr old nephew’s painting and a masterpiece you see in a museum of fine arts (of course, maybe not), you can tell when someone’s pretty good at creative writing.

But how do they get there? What makes a J.K. Rowling or Douglas Adams? Well, just like the artist who made it to the fancy museum, they probably practiced.

So, without further ado, I give you TheRightMargin’s official* guide on how to use fun writing exercises** that spark the imagination and hone the skill of creative writing:


Warning: Only use when you are: experiencing writer’s block, intent on honing your writing technique, collaborating on a writing project, in need of new short story material to impress your creative writing professor–or really, if you are at all a human being that likes to write creatively.

First, choose one of the following prompts:

  • Write a short story about anything, but without any adjectives or adverbs.
  • Find a friend, do a quick brainstorm about 2 characters who know each other (ie. 2 sisters living on a floating island) and then write a story through letters to each other (you writing in the voice of one character and your friend, the other.)
  • Imagine an alien from another world dropped in on you. What would it find striking about the world, your environment and you? What would it be curious about? And how would you explain, in detail, the answers to the questions it might ask you? (You can assume you can communicate with it–or not!)
  • Take an interesting word in the dictionary. Whether you know it or not, create a new definition for it. Use it in a few sentences, maybe in a story or two. Rinse and repeat until you’ve made Webster proud.
  • You’re sitting behind someone in class, and as you’re staring at the back of the person’s head you notice something. Write about what you noticed.
  • Imagine a world where the intelligent form of life, whatever they look like, definitely lack at least one of the 5 senses. For instance, imagine a society that couldn’t touch things, or smell things or see things, etc. Create a story around this new world and new species you’ve created. Perhaps, they too are facing some sort of world crisis (think global warming, overpopulation or impending war)?
  • You get the idea. Make your own prompt!

Second, sit down with your favorite writing setup, brain food and beverage. And write! We recommend writing for at least 30 minutes so you give yourself time to start settling in.

And should you feel slightly more inspired, enlightened, artistic or even just amused, well, then our work here is done!

*So not official. But it sounds better that way.

**Note from our UX designer Christine Lee: I also highly recommend the book 642 Things to Write About if you are craving more of these creative writing prompts.

Ready to finally finish your novel? Join TheRightMargin – We’ll show you how.