DIY Creative Writing Prompts to Obliterate Writer's Block

Writing prompts. Image by Monoar Rahman Rony from Pixabay

Generate Your Own Unlimited, Creative Writing Prompts to Tackle any Topic

Good writing prompts can be an extremely effective productivity tool for a whole class of creative writing problems, from blogging to college essays, speeches, social media post ideas and even marketing campaign strategies. Especially when writer's block pays an unwelcome visit.

It's commonplace to go in search of 3rd party writing prompts for creative inspiration because being short of topics ideas, by definition, means being short of creative writing prompts too. But it doesn't have to be like that...

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What if I told you that you can break out of the creative doldrums quickly and efficiently all by yourself? Sound too good to be true?

There's actually one extremely effective strategy you can use to overcome writer's block that's based on solid science. We all have essentially unlimited creative capacity, if only we know how to unlock it.

Check out this quick overview that explores the science behind how your creative brain works.

For now, let's get on with generating our own DIY creative writing prompts.

1. Gather Seed Concepts

In order to create DIY writing prompts that are related to the niche topic you want to write about, it's important to start with a small set of highly relevant seed concepts. Good seed concepts should consist of one or two words that are unambiguously related to the intended niche topic of your content.

Let's pretend, for example, that we want to generate writing prompts for a new recipe blog post about cooking/preparing healthy food. We might come up with the following list (for best results, come up with 5 seed concepts):

  • healthy recipe
  • wholesome cooking
  • good food
  • balanced diet
  • nutritious meal

Add these seed concepts (replace them with ones that are relevant to your topic) to a new ideation.

If you haven't already, create a free ideate bot account in order to add your own seed concepts to a new ideation.

Seed concepts for creative writing prompts
Seed concepts for creative writing prompts​​​​​

Sometimes it takes a little bit of thought to come up with seed concepts that are both focused but also distinct. It helps to think about different aspects of the subject matter.

I went after words like cooking, diet, nutrition and meals - all related aspects of the same overall subject matter.

2. Configure Topic Settings

Topics define the overall niche(s) in which your seed concepts are held. Given that our particular example is about recipes relating to health, I've opted to include three topics as shown here.

Topic settings define the niche topic(s) for your writing prompts
Topic settings define the niche topic(s) for your writing prompts

Choosing relevant topic(s) is crucial because the language and semantic meaning of the writing prompts will, in no small part, be dictated by the topics themselves.

Luckily there are topics available for any subject you care to write about, with more being added all the time.

3. Choose the Type of Writing Prompt & Creativity Levels

Not all writing prompts are created equal. You may be a journalist or reporter looking for ideas for the news. The types of prompts you are looking for in this case are most likely quite different from, say, a food blogger (as in our current example).

Since we're thinking about creating a recipe type article, I've gone ahead and selected the following types.

Choose from a selection of different writing prompt styles
Choose from a selection of different writing prompt styles

The Creativity Level can also play a crucial role in the type of writing prompts generated by this ideation process.

Like most things in life, there's a trade-off. A low creativity level will provide better focus. The prompts will be more specific to your seed concepts but, ultimately, less creative. By contrast, a high creativity level results in plenty of off-the-wall type prompts that might lead to far more creative ideas but also a lot more ideas that have less relevance.

Deciding on the right level comes down to whether you are in the market for more generic, creative ideas (high creativity), or whether you need prompts with more focus for a very specific purpose (low creativity).

I've gone with a middle of the range 5 out of 10.

4. Build a List of Great Titles From Your Writing Prompts

Once the ideation data has been submitted, you now have access to a whole bunch of writing prompts that are focused on exactly the right niche topics you're after. 

Turning writing prompts into fantastic ideas and titles is something anyone and everyone can do incredibly well. Learn more about the storyteller in your brain and the semantic map in your mind.

In fact, I learned something new about acai bowls from the very first writing prompt I got out of my example ideation.

Two great blog post ideas from a single writing prompt
Two great blog post ideas from a single writing prompt

As you can see, the first writing prompt:

  • Prior Information Acai Bowls Nosh of Healthy Recipe

Led instantly to two great article ideas (from a food blogger's perspective):

  • Why Making Acai Bowls Might Improve Your Health
  • Why Acai Bowls Should Form Part of a Nutritious Diet

With those two ideas saved and banked, it's super easy to add more and more writing prompts (up to 50 for free accounts).

Writing prompts are presented a handful at a time in order to better engage the storyteller and allow it to come up with unique and creative new associations and ideas.

Here's another super important point to remember.

Writing prompts are purposefully obscure because they need to prevent your brain from understanding the semantic intent of each idea instantly.

In other words, when a prompt is flashed at your brain, the storyteller goes to work and confabulates a new idea around the concepts it has been fed. If your logical brain already knows the meaning of the prompt it will override and negate this creative process.

It's a bit of a skill (knack) to step back and allow your brain the freedom to be incredibly creative. It almost feels counter-intuitive to take your hands off the reigns and trust that creative ideas will simply manifest themselves.

Fortunately, fantastic results are so quick to appear and so obviously more creative (because you are finally feeding your brain the semantic concepts it needs to fire on all cylinders) that you won't have to worry about writer's block ever again.