Writing Tip: Taking Prompts to the Next Level

Photo 6I hope those creative juices are flowing with all the writing prompts I have seen for National Poetry Month all over social media. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with your own ideas, so take the prompts as an opportunity to motivate you to write and engage with other poets. But if you are still staring at blank pages, there are some ways to loosen up those brain cells from the chaos of every day.

If you are given a word, you don’t always have to use it literally or use the exact word at all. CTU’s Day 1 prompt was the word “FOOL” and the responses to it were used brilliantly by many who participated. Poems were written about a “fool for love” and a sad story about a lonely jester. Maybe we could use fool to describe an inanimate object instead. Perhaps spring can be a “fool” for letting winter smother her with bitter cold. There are many other FOOL-ish words to use: Foolhardily, Tomfoolery, Befooled etc. Don’t limit your writing to the word – scribble outside the lines if you must.

“Strange Habits” prompt is coming up for Day 10. Don’t think you have any? Then they don’t have to be yours. Think of someone you know or a stranger you have encountered with an odd habit. Perhaps you have one of those pets with a peculiar way of sleeping or eating. Perhaps a vine or tree in your back yard grows in the strangest way. There are many bizarre things we encounter in life, so don’t limit the thought of this prompt to yourself.


Day 18 brings – Newspaper Blackout Poetry. This prompt gives you the words and you just have to find the right ones to use. If you are one of the rare few who still read a newspaper, grab a black pen or marker and make a poem out of random words in an article by coloring over the rest. Grab a visual clipping of an article from the Net and use Photoshop or another drawing app or program to create it that way. Don’t just stop there…if you have some artistic skills, make something colorful with it.

Check out these Instagram accounts to see how they do it:



The 12 Word Story Prompt is not for the amateur writer. It can be a challenge to come with a poem of power using just 12 words. There is a literary legend passed around that Ernest Hemingway wrote a short story using only six words: For sale: baby shoes, never worn. How true it is we shall never know, as it hasn’t been really proven and many articles still disqualify the myth. But it is still used to encourage writers to compose a compelling short story. What can you come up with for this challenge?

Writing Prompts are a great way to inspire the writer in you. But don’t just limit the challenge to one month; use words, phrases and simple thoughts to encourage yourself to write every day. And when you encounter prompts, don’t be afraid to be the one to take it to the next level. Write to stand out from the rest of the crowd. There’s no shame in thinking outside of the box.

Written by: Donna J. Sanders

Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.

Find out more about her here:




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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders

Categories: Writing Tips

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2 replies


  1. Writing Tip: Taking Prompts to the Next Level – TheRaven6825
  2. Writing Tip: Taking Prompts to the Next Level — Creative Talents Unleashed – 3mmablog

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