Story ideas are the fuel that powers your writing process.

In a 2009 article written for the American Psychological Association, creativity researcher Jonathan Plucker, PhD says that having a book or voice memo repository of ideas results in both more creativity and better productivity. Rather than falling prey to a blank page and having nowhere to go, some gentle instructions on what to do next can actually provide direction and momentum.

Key Takeaways

  • Learning how to write from a prompt is worth your time.
  • In business, story is one of the most powerful tools we have.
  • Often, a short story helps readers or listeners connect more deeply with a message.
  • When you know how to tell a good story, you’ll have an easier time creating a special bond with your audience.

Rather than falling prey to writer’s block and having nowhere to go, having story starters can help create writing inspiration and momentum.

Let’s go over how prompts for both short stories and articles help you publish quickly and well.

How Creative Writing Prompts Jumpstart Your Routine

A writing prompt creates guardrails. The reason writer’s block is so sneaky is that there is too much freedom. When you’re able to write about any topic in any way, the number of options can quickly start to overwhelm us.

When you have a writing prompt, you’re forced to focus. In fiction, a writing prompt might be about a next-door neighbor, a dream vacation, an alternate universe, or what a main character discovers in a new scene. We’re probably not writing about topics like those in business, but the mechanics needed to tell a fantasy story succinctly apply to business anecdotes, too.

How to Best Use a Writing Prompt

The objective of a writing prompt is to get you to start writing. Look for prompts that will align with your writing style, and can draw examples from your own life. If you can write about a time in your everyday life where the prompt applies, that’s a sign you should pursue it.

The prompts below cover the following topics:

  • Industry perspectives: Questions about or related to business and your career
  • Personal recommendations & curiosities: Items currently on your mind or that come to mind first
  • Social journalism prompts: Ideas for writing that researches an outside topic or person
  • Personal experiences: Personal anecdotes from past moments in your life
  • Tips and advice: Prompts designed to birth articles that are action-focused or insightful
  • Handy headline formulas: Prompts formatted as done-for-you headlines that can apply to any subject matter.

Writing is an ideas game. Comb through these prompts from time and time, and if an answer comes to you quickly or easily, run with it! Let’s do this.

No. 1: Industry Creative Writing Prompts

Writing is a great way to connect to your professional aspirations and grow your personal brand. But sometimes it can be hard to read the label from inside the jar.

Take a moment to inventory how much you actually know about your industry! If you have experience in your field, valuable insights, or important commentary on trends, these can all become future articles. Here are a few prompts to get you started.

  • Write a story about something you disagree with in your industry.
  • Write about what is definitely broken in your industry.
  • Write about takeaways or additional tips you wish more people knew about in your field.
  • Write a story about how your background or past experiences have helped you succeed in your industry.
  • Write a story about something you love in your industry.
  • What questions should people new to your industry be asking themselves to grow their career and fulfill their dreams in today’s society?
  • How did the leaders of your organization get started?
  • Write the same story about your industry from more than one perspective.
  • Share a short story about what absolutely still works well in your industry.
  • What positive, productive conversations are being held in your field?
  • What negative, toxic conversations are being held in your field?
  • What parts of your industry have reached a turning point?
  • Write about the last person who gave you amazing career advice.
  • Write a story about what those who are new to your field should know first.
  • What does [insert trending topic] mean for your industry?
  • Why will [insert trending topic] fail?
  • What perspectives have served you for the entire life of your career?
  • Share a horror story about your industry.
  • Write as though you were explaining something in your industry to your best friend.
  • What’s the misconception people have about your business, industry, or profession?
  • What websites, authors, or thinkers in your industry should be following if they want to get better and stay in the know?
  • What are the best tools to learn and master in your industry?
  • What’s your industry’s biggest controversy or hot topic at the moment? What’s your take on it?
  • Write about a time you fell short in your career, and what you learned from it.
  • What breaks your heart about what you do?
  • Write a story about how what you do lights you up.

No. 2: Personal Recommendation Creative Writing Prompts

Everyone loves a good online recommendation. In fact, research has shown that 84% of adults say online recommendations are as persuasive as a referral from a trusted friend.

If you have a strong recommendation or insight, we want to hear about it. We can’t unless you sit down and write your recommendations in the first place! Try one of these prompts to find new writing inspiration.

  • What are some of your favorite books, articles, videos, or podcasts? Why
  • How do you motivate yourself when you’re the only person working on something?
  • Which products, programs, or services do you swear by?
  • What are your go-to tips for productivity or work/life balance? Write it as though you were explaining these tips to a family member.
  • Take us into a first-person view of your world. What is the behind-the-scenes look at your day?
  • When and where do you get your best writing ideas?
  • If someone in your audience could only read one book in the next 30 days, which one would you recommend? Why?
  • Why do you love writing and talking about certain topics more than others?
  • What’s the most interesting piece of scientific research you’ve read recently?
  • What should people know about being the oldest person in a room? The youngest person?
  • What’s a foreign country you think everyone should visit?
  • What is a bonkers statistic you’ve read about recently?
  • What inspires you or motivates you to jump out of bed in the morning or see things in a new light?
  • Write about a time you learned something that surprised you.
  • Who is a role model of yours, and why?
  • What’s happening in the world right now and what is your opinion on it?
  • What’s the best customer service experience you’ve had and what did you learn?

No. 3: Curated Creative Writing Prompts

Piggybacking on someone else’s authority, failures, or successes is an easy way to hone your writing inspiration without having to have a wildly fascinating life yourself.

  • Who is an interesting public figure, artist, or writer that every single person should know about? Why?
  • What are some fascinating stories from history that don’t get told enough?
  • Who did you recently talk to and find incredibly interesting?
  • Who’s an athlete that overcame extraordinary circumstances to become a champion or medalist? Share this same story, but in your own words.
  • Which circumstances and decisions most influence a person’s whole life: Relationships, health, and/or career?
  • What is a small, interesting detail about a public figure’s daily routine worth sharing?
  • What upcoming technologies or innovations are so weird they sound like science fiction or take us to a fantasy world?
  • What mainstream advice or assumption has actually been debunked by science?
  • Write a diary entry about an aspect of life (Personal finance, friendships, travel) that is different for different generations of people.
  • Where do people often begin to lie to themselves about a certain topic in their everyday life? Why?
  • How does [Trend or complex framework] actually work?
  • Do a little time travel. What happened on this day [#] years ago? What’s changed since then?
  • Write a story about how current events have shifted our perceptions and priorities regarding [Insert area of life here].

No. 4: Personal Experience Creative Writing Prompts

I separated this category from personal recommendations, because these prompts focus specifically on stories or lessons learned from your past.

Whether it be the recent past, or something that happened years or decades ago, most of us have a treasure trove of stories worth telling. The challenge is to get these moments out of our heads and onto a screen during designated writing time; these creative writing prompts will help.

  • What teacher do you remember the most as a little boy or girl, and why? How did their tutelage impact your life?
  • When was the first time you did [Insert experience here]?
  • When was the last time you did [Insert experience here]?
  • What are you afraid of? How do you manage or avoid this fear?
  • What are you working on this coming week in your everyday life to better move toward your goals?
  • What was the best thing that happened to you last week/month/year?
  • What was an unexpected challenge you struggled with last week/month/year?
  • What lie did you believe growing up that turned out to be completely untrue? What happened or changed as a result of that revelation?
  • What insights did you learn at an early age that have helped you over the years?
  • Recall one of the most difficult conversations you’ve ever had.
  • What’s the best investment you’ve ever made in your life?
  • Who are some of your mentors, and what lessons did they teach you?
  • What is something you appreciate about your best friends, or one best friend in particular?
  • Write a story about a time you faked something.
  • Was there ever a time you should have said “no,” but didn’t? What happened as a result?
  • What’s something you’ve never talked about publicly before?
  • What is the most expensive lesson you’ve ever learned?

No. 5: Tips & Advice Creative Writing Prompts

If you’re focused on writing more action-oriented posts or articles, it can be helpful to have prompts that specifically aim to improve your reader’s day or life. Tips and advice can draw from If you’re focused on writing more action-oriented posts or articles, it can be helpful to have prompts that specifically aim to improve your reader’s day or life. Tips and advice can draw from personal experiences, or just be a collection of curated how-tos, but the end goal of the article is that the reader can start taking action now.

  • Write about how you do work behind-the-scenes? Why does this approach work well for you?
  • What’s a change readers could make in 24 hours or less to improve their day?
  • What do you do to improve your process and get better over time?
  • What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made recently, and what did you learn?
  • What do you wish you knew [#] years ago that you know now?
  • What are [#] ways to overcome [Challenge or obstacle]?
  • What do you wish you’d known before [Event, setback, or success]?
  • What’s an action that someone could take now around [Area of life] to get moving in the right direction?
  • What “invisible obstacles” often appear that hold people back when trying to achieve [Goal in area of life]?
  • How can someone still make progress even if they don’t have enough time? Enough money? Enough experience?
  • What is a personal anecdote you come back to again and again? Why?
  • What is a common enemy both you and your reader have? Why?
  • What are some of your most reliable, compelling, or bizarre productivity tips?
  • How do you approach your [Health/Personal Finance/Career/Relationship], and how can others determine an approach that would work well for their unique circumstances?

No. 6: Miscellaneous Creative Writing Prompts

Lastly, here are a few formulaic writing prompts that can help you punch up designated writing time. Tell short stories and develop your writing process so that you can clear away writer’s block when it arises.

  • What trick or approach has helped you [Results or goals]?
  • What is the dirty little secret about [Topic or industry]?
  • What small tweaks make all the difference between [Group A] and [Group B]?
  • Why should [Category of people] relax about [Common belief or concern]?
  • Why should [Category of people] pay more attention to [Common belief or concern]?
  • How can people conquer their fear of [Fear] using [Type of solution]?
  • What is something [Person, group of people, or school] never told you the truth about?
  • What is the heartbreaking reality of [Topic]?
  • What are [#] warning signs of [Bad outcome]?
  • Why did you fall in love with [Experience/person/place/industry]?

Final Takeaways

Writing is a glorious gift. But there are times when feeling dry on ideas can knock the wind out of your sails before you even start.

Build a bank of prompts along the way, and you’ll find it much easier to drum up inspiration on command. ◆

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏼

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