I despise writing prompts

And writing exercises, and writing warm-ups.

Okay, I don’t actually hate these, I just loathe them. It’s the same way I feel about fibre supplements. Necessary on occasion, but icky. Here’s how I deal with them (the prompts, not the fibre).

1. I hate having to acknowledge that I have hit the wall, and now need a way to get going. Actually reaching for the prompt exercise feels like I’ve admitted I’m a crap writer and can’t think my way out of a fucking box.

2. I resentfully google ‘writing prompts’, ‘writing exercises’ and finally ‘writing warm-ups’ and select one at random. Almost without exception, the site is cheerful and upbeat. They promise to get your creative juices flowing, so that amazing story within will burst out (apparently fewer people have seen Alien than I thought). I’m already pissed that I need to write but not work on my stories; the cheerfulness is just grating.

3. When I find a site I think I can bear, I read past the first paragraph (my previous standard for judging the sites) and dubiously examine the first option. If it’s stream of consciousness, I toss it. Twenty lines of “I hate this, this is fucking stupid”* isn’t going to help. Anything autobiographical I also toss. If I wanted to write about my cat or my favourite colour, or my saddest memory, I would.  And probably do, at some point. But unless the idea is to make me so bored my subconscious finally puts me out of my misery and give me a cool idea for my story**, I will pass.

4. Find an exercise that uses terms or concepts I don’t quite understand and google them. This will help pass twenty minutes or so, and not a single word will be written.

5. Write a blog post about how much I hate writing exercises. 300+ words written. Yay.

Anyway, here are some writing exercise sites I didn’t completely hate.

Writers Exercise Generator

Writing Forward: Fiction Writing Exercises

Writers’ Digest


*trust me, when I’m in a pissy mood, it’ll be twenty lines of resentment and swearing.

**I will hold this in reserve, for when the idea of torturing myself seem like a fun time.


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