Get out your kitchen timer – It’s Freewriting Prompts!


So you want to write something but you don’t know how or where to start?  I’m a big proponent of freewriting:  pick out a person, place and thing, and then set and start your timer for five minutes and write.  Don’t worry about typos, verb tense, just writing.  The peeps in my writer’s group love this exercise as it gets the mind working in flash time.  It is always fun to read back the shorts we all wrote in such a short time, too.

So, it’s no wonder when I came across Stacey O’Neil’s site, I jumped up and down when I saw she posted a freewriting prompt article she found on Writer’s Digest.  I liked the ideas so much, I thought I’d post them here.

Grab a kitchen timer and kick-start your creativity with these 10-minute freewriting prompts.

  1. Turn on the TV or radio – the station doesn’t matter – and listen for just a few seconds. Write down the first phrase you hear, and let that serve as your prompt. How you use it is up to you: It can be the first line of your story, a bit of dialogue for a character, or whatever you wish.
  2. You discover a loose floorboard in the corner of your attic or the back of your closet. Without too much effort you’re able to pry the board loose. What do you find underneath? Something frightening? Something nostalgic? Let you imagination delve into the details – what it looks or smells like, reasons you think it might be there, emotions it stirs in you, etc.
  3. Imagine the best (or worst) possible thing you could receive as a gift from someone. Write about opening the package and discovering what’s inside.
  4. Think of a favorite accessory or piece of clothing from your past – a hat, scarf, glove, belt buckle, or anything else that evokes vivid memories. Freewrite based on images that come to mind.
  5.  Recall a place from your childhood that intrigued or frightened you. Describe the details you remember about that location – were there things about it that you always wondered about? An unopened door, an untaken path or darkened patch of woods? Write about what might have awaited you there.
  6. Your phone rings in the middle of the night. Reveal what happens in the next ten minutes.
  7. Pick a minor character from a favorite movie or TV show, and explore the main plot from that character’s point of view. Write about the aspects of the story that only he/she would’ve known.
  8. Plan the perfect crime. You have ten minutes.
  9. Describe the first time you drove a car (or the first time you remember riding in one). What kind of car was it? Who was with you? Include sights, smells and sensations.
  10. You find a bomb in an unlikely place. The timer says – you guessed it – ten minutes. Now what?
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