Working through Writer’s Block with Writing Prompts

Writing is a skill, and just like any other skill, it’s one that is improved over time, through constant work and dedication, and through the practice of always challenging yourself and seeing how far your writing can take you. But just like any other endeavor, there are certain challenges that writers inevitably face, with one of them being writer’s block.

Anyone who has ever tried to get some writing done, be it for recreational or academic purposes, has experienced writing block. Some would argue that there are actually many kinds of writer’s block, stemming from either the inability to come up with an idea on what to write about, or the inability to commit to an idea, or even just the inability to focus. As such, there are many different strategies presented for combating writer’s block as well. One easy way that’s proven quite effective is the use of writing prompts.

Writing prompts are often used in Creative Writing classes to give students an idea of what to write about, but even when you’re just writing recreationally, they can still be a big help. You’ll find several sources of writing prompts online, but for a more convenient option, you can actually start using your smartphone. As the operators of Free Casino Hunter have said, growth in mobile internet is one of the most powerful trends on the internet landscape today, and this has prompted many writers to begin turning to their phones for help with their projects. We now have apps such as Writeometer, which help writers keep track of writing goals with daily notifications and progress charts, even several choices of word processors so we can work on our projects right off of our phones. Among the most helpful, however, are the apps that help writers decide *what* to write about.

If you’re having trouble coming up with a plot for your next short story, you may want to try the following apps:

1 Writing Prompts and Exercises

Created by JG Applications, the Writing Prompts and Exercises app gives users several choices for easy inspiration. When starting up the app, users can choose to be presented with a “Random First Line”, “Random Subject”, “Random Character”, or a “Random Plot”, making it an easy go-to app for those without the slightest idea what to write about. The prompts are taken from WritingExercises.co.uk, and can be accessed even without an internet connection.

2. Writing Prompts

The premise behind ARC Apps’ Writing Prompts app is quite simple: they want to give users prompts that can be used regardless of how far along a story they may be. As such, the prompts presented by the app are short and sweet, including lines like “You keep your suitcase with you at all times; its contents are very valuable.” and “You stare out the car’s side window at the brightly lit downtown storefronts when an item catches your attention.”

3. Story Plot Generator

Also created by ARC Apps, the Story Plot Generator app is unique in that it allows you to choose the genre that you want your next project to be. The free version of the app has options for Action/Thriller, Misfortune/Drama, SciFi/Space, Murder Scene, Fantasy/Magic, Horror/Suspense, and Romance, while PRO users get access to prompts for Superheroes and Apocalypse stories. Each genre then has the following items: Situation, such as “You are buried underground”; Detail, such as “You have a note with a time and date scribbled on it”; Complication, such as “You are cold [or warm] and have no weapon”; and Objective, such as “You must regain your memory”. With these building blocks, writers can create complex stories, and see how far their writing skill can take them.

Writing prompt apps like these can even see further use with the help of character generators, which provide writers with the details and backstory of characters if they’re having trouble fleshing their own characters out. It’s important, however, to veer away from these generators as often as you can. These should serve as a guide, and never a crutch.

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About suehealy

Literary Manager at the Finborough Theatre and associate lecturer in playwriting at the universities of Lincoln and Portsmouth, Irish playwright Sue Healy has a PhD in modern theatre history. Her most recent stage play Imaginationship (2018) has just finished a sell-out, extended run at the Finborough Theatre and is headed to the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in August. Cow (2017) was staged at the Etcetera Theatre and Brazen (2016) ran at the King’s Head, funded by Arts Council England. Her work has been performed at the Criterion, Hackney Attic, Claremorris Festival (New Writing Award winner), Brighton Festival (the Sussex Playwrights’ Award Winner) and Sterts Theatre and has been developed by the Abbey Theatre, Dublin and support by the Peggy Ramsay Award. Her nine radio-plays have broadcast on BBC Radio 4 (Opening Lines winner), WLRfm and KCLR96fm. She has won prizes for her prose including the Molly Keane and HISSAC Awards and the Escalator Prize. A UEA Creative Writing MA alumna, Sue spent eleven years in Budapest editing Hungary A.M. Sue also tutors Creative Writing at CityLit. View all posts by suehealy

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