Creative writing can be an incredibly rewarding hobby for adults. Whether you’re an aspiring writer looking to practice your craft or simply wish to tap into your imagination for fun, prompts are a great way to get started. Below are 39 creative writing prompts specifically for adult writers spanning a variety of genres and styles.
Getting Started with Creative Writing
Before diving into the prompts, let’s start with a few tips to help you make the most out of the creative writing process as an adult:
Set Aside Time Specifically for Writing
Treat creative writing like an important appointment in your calendar that you cannot miss. Even 15-30 minutes per day can make a big difference over time.
Find a Comfortable and Inspiring Location
Whether it’s your favorite café, a desk in your home office, or out in nature, choose an environment that fuels your creative juices.
Don’t Worry About Perfection
The first draft is just you telling yourself the story. No one else needs to read it. Focus on getting words on the paper first.
Explore Different Genres
From sci-fi to romance, variety keeps things exciting and flexes different creative muscles. With the basics covered, read on for 39 prompts specifically for adults spanning fiction and nonfiction.
Fiction Writing Prompts
Fiction empowers you to use your wildest imagination. Here are 19 creative writing prompts to spark fiction pieces:
1. Rewrite a Fairytale
Take a classic like Cinderella or Snow White and rewrite it with a unique twist. Change the setting, genre, or perspective.
2. Picture Yourself as a Historical Figure
3. Get Transported to a Dystopian World
Overnight, society descends into chaos and anarchy with no law enforcement or consequences. Write a story about a day in your life.
4. You’re the Last Person on Earth
A deadly virus has wiped out humanity, except for you. Where are you? What’s your plan for survival? How do you handle the loneliness?
5. Rewind Your Life 10 Years
Go back 10 years in time with all the knowledge you have today. Write about the different life decisions you make.
6. A Genie Grants You 3 Wishes
With no limitations or twists, what 3 things do you wish for and why? How do they change your life?
7. You’re Immortal
You stop aging in your 20s and cannot die. Over the next 500 years, what adventures do you go on? Who do you meet along the way?
8. Write Fan Fiction
Pick characters from a favorite movie, TV show, book, etc, and write an original story about them. Don’t hold back! Go wherever your imagination takes you.
9. You Meet Your Future Self
You come face to face with an older version of yourself from 30 years. What wisdom and life lessons does your future self share that change the way you live starting today?
10. Aliens Make First Contact
An alien race lands on the White House lawn wishing to open diplomatic relations. Write about the meeting from the alien delegation’s perspective. What happens?
11. Your Pet Starts Talking
You wake up and suddenly realize your dog, cat, or other pet can speak and understand you perfectly. How does your relationship change? What hijinks ensue? What secrets do you learn?
12. You Switch Bodies with Someone
Go to bed as yourself but wake up inside another person’s body. Whose body is it? Spouse? Celebrity? Stranger? Why did the switch happen? And how do you handle it?
13. A Message from the Future
A note arrives claiming to be from your future self 10 years from now. It provides predictions and advice about the decade ahead. Write about the message’s contents and your reaction to it.
14. You Have a Clone
A clone of you is created by a mad scientist. What does your clone look and act like? How does that change your life when you meet them?
You wake up with an amazing new superpower. What is your superpower? How do you discover it? And what (mis)adventures do you get into with it over the next few days?
16. You’re Invisible
You obtain a magic invisibility cloak allowing you to move about unseen. Write a story about your experience using it for an entire day. Where do you go? What do you observe? What secrets and insights do you uncover?
17. Historical Time Travel
You get sent back in time by 100+ years. Where and when are you? How do you build a life for yourself in that era without any modern resources or knowledge?
18. Narrate as an Object
Pick an object such as a dollar bill, diamond ring, toy doll, etc. Write a first person narrative about your life as that object. What places have you been? What are you used for? How do you feel?
19. Neighbors from Hell
You end up with neighbors who do increasingly bizarre and disturbing things to frustrate or irritate you. Detail the neighborly war of escalation playing out.
Nonfiction Writing Prompts
Nonfiction helps process emotions, reflect, and share life experiences. Here are 20 nonfiction creative writing prompts:
20. Write About a Proud Moment
Recall an experience or achievement that gave you immense pride and confidence. Capture all the emotions and details.
21. A Crushing Disappointment
Write about a time expectations spectacularly collapsed leaving you devastated. How did you eventually process and bounce back from the letdown?
22. Time You Showed Great Bravery
What’s the boldest, most courageous thing you’ve ever done? Capture all the fear and uncertainty you pushed through in that defining moment.
23. Life Before the Internet
How was daily life different in those pre-internet days? What highs or inconveniences have faded away that the younger generation can’t imagine?
24. The Perfect Day Off
Map out what an ideal relaxing day away from responsibilities and obligations looks like for you, hour by hour. What do you savor in those serene moments?
25. Write Your Own Eulogy
Summarize the highlights and legacy you hope to leave. Is there an inspiring message or key takeaway you want shared at your memorial?
26. Interview Your Grandparents
What stories or slices of family history are you able to uncover from your grandparents’ childhood and early lives? Capture the anecdotes while you still can.
27. An Impactful Teacher
Write an appreciation for a teacher who helped instill an important life lesson or passion within you. What specifically did they say or do that was so influential?
28. Special Childhood Memories
Describe favorite moments growing up that hold sentimental value like holiday traditions, beloved toys, or iconic family trips. Capture the nostalgic details.
29. Music That Shaped You
Pick 3 songs, albums or artists that defined different phases of your coming of age journey. Explain the personal significance each holds.
30. Bad Career Advice
Write cautionary tales about the worst pieces of career “wisdom” in hindsight that led you astray. What blind spots or myths tripped you up?
31. Relationship Deal Breakers
Everyone has non negotiable musts and absolute red flags when dating and choosing a life partner. Write about your personal list of deal breakers that cannot be compromised.
32. Cultural Customs
Spotlight a unique tradition, celebration, cuisine or symbol that has special meaning in your family heritage or ethnicity. Share its origins and importance.
33. Recreate a Dream
Pick an especially vivid, weird, or metaphorical dream and write out all the details you remember as if retelling a movie plot. Analyze what meanings or messages your subconscious could have been sending.
34. Overcoming Health Challenges
If you or a loved one endured a major illness, injury or disability, write about the emotional journey back to wholeness and new normalcy. Share advice for someone with a fresh diagnosis.
35. Recipe for Happiness
Create a recipe style guideline explaining your personal ingredients for enduring happiness and fulfillment. What specific life elements in what doses work for you?
36. Things You’d Tell Your 25 Year Old Self
What wisdom have you gained over the years that you wish you could instill in your younger self? Is there key advice you’d share to set Past You up for success?
37. The Story Behind My Name
Were you named after someone special? Is there a reason behind why your parents chose that specific name for you? Share its history and meaning.
38. Experience with Grief
Write about a loss that left you devastated. How did you emotionally deal in the short and long run? What helped or hurt your ability to process it?
39. The Person Who Changed My Life
Who is the one person who steered your trajectory or fundamentally changed your perspective? Describe precisely how they reshaped your path or priorities.
Whether you are looking to flex your fiction muscles or reflect deeper on life experiences, these 39 creative writing prompts provide plenty of fuel to spark your imagination and fill the page. Don’t overthink it just set a timer and start writing stream of consciousness style wherever the prompt leads you. Repeating this exercise leads to surprise self-discoveries, improved writing ability over time, and priceless raw material to potentially inspire future stories. Don’t keep your creativity confined use these prompts as a fun way to unleash everything brimming inside. Wherever your pen takes you, enjoy the journey!
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I want to write but don’t have any good ideas to start with?
Use a writing prompt! Prompts help get you out of your head by providing an outside stimulus to spark creativity. Over time, they flex your imaginative muscles until coming up with new writing ideas becomes second nature.
Do I need to be a skilled writer already to benefit from prompts?
Not at all! Creative prompts work for every experience level by focusing more on free-flowing ideas and imagination over mechanics. Don’t worry about perfect sentences or formatting just write.
How long should my response to a prompt be?
However long feels enjoyable! Both short vignettes and multi-page stories fulfill the purpose. Generally aim for at least 250+ words to fully develop an initial burst of inspiration.
What do I do if I start writing but then get stuck halfway through a prompt?
First, celebrate getting started and logging those early words. Then, revisit where you became stuck. End your session there or pivot the storyline into a totally new direction freed from assumptions.
Where can I find more prompts if I want them on an ongoing basis?
Online sites like creativewritingprompts.com and many blogging sites offer prompts, or you can use AI writing assistants to provide you with additional prompts tailored to your interests. The options are endless!
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