1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

Fifty Quick Writing Prompts

Writing Ideas for Journals and Essays

By

Fifty Quick Writing Prompts

Are you stuck for something to write about? Maybe you're scratching your head trying to come up with a fresh idea for a personal essay--a narrative or an extended description. Or perhaps you're in the habit of keeping a journal, but today, for some reason, you can't think of a single thing to say.

Here's something that may help: a list of 50 brief writing prompts. Not full-blown essay topics, just hints, snippets, cues, and clues to prod your memory, kick the writer's block, and get you started.

Take a minute or two to look over the list. Then pick one prompt that brings to mind a particular image, experience, or idea. Start writing (or freewriting) and see where it takes you. If after a few minutes you hit a dead end, don't panic: simply return to the list and try again.

Tip: To view this list without ads, click on the print icon near the top of the page.


  1. Everyone else was laughing.
  2. On the other side of that door
  3. Late again
  4. What I've always wanted
  5. A sound I'd never heard before
  6. What if . . .
  7. The last time I saw him
  8. At that moment I should have left.
  9. Just a brief encounter
  10. I knew how it felt to be an outsider.


  11. Hidden away in the back of a drawer
  12. What I should have said
  13. Waking up in a strange room
  14. There were signs of trouble.
  15. Keeping a secret
  16. All I have left is this photo.
  17. It wasn't really stealing.
  18. A place I pass by every day
  19. Nobody can explain what happened next.
  20. Staring at my reflection


  21. I should have lied.
  22. Then the lights went out.
  23. Some might say it's a weakness.
  24. Not again!
  25. Where I'd go to hide out from everyone
  26. But that's not my real name.
  27. Her side of the story
  28. Nobody believed us.
  29. It was time to change schools again.
  30. We climbed to the top.


  31. The one thing I'll never forget
  32. Follow these rules and we'll get along fine.
  33. It may not be worth anything.
  34. Never again
  35. On the other side of the street
  36. My father used to tell me
  37. When nobody was looking
  38. If I could do it over again
  39. Of course it was illegal.
  40. It wasn't my idea.


  41. Everyone was staring at me.
  42. It was a stupid thing to say.
  43. Hiding under my bed
  44. If I tell you the truth
  45. My secret collection
  46. Footsteps in the dark
  47. The first cut is the deepest.
  48. Trouble, big trouble
  49. Laughing uncontrollably
  50. It was just a game to them.

If you're still having trouble coming up with something to write about, see

  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. Grammar & Composition
  4. Composing Essays
  5. Topic Suggestions
  6. Fifty Quick Writing Prompts - Writing Ideas for Journals and Essays - Topic Suggestions - Kicking the Writer's Block

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.