How To Think Outside The Box With 200+ Writing Prompts

Blog_Devin_WritingPrompts-header Whether you've never heard of writing prompts or you're a huge fan of them like I am, you're going to love this post. If you're not familiar, they are basically writing ideas to spark your imagination while writing. Who doesn't love getting new ideas (especially when you're out of them)? Read on for fresh writing prompts to give you new ideas for your own writing.

How To Think Outside The Box With 200 Plus Writing Prompts via @devinberglund

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Why You Should Use Writing Prompts

You know those days when you write something and then you delete it all to try writing it again... And once you've written something, it still doesn't sound exactly how you want it to so you scratch the whole thing. This is the kind of situation when you should try out some writing prompts. They are meant to get you thinking about your project from another perspective. Writers who don't struggle to find writing ideas would also benefit from using these. You see, it gets you thinking in a different way. And thinking outside of the box will help you produce more creative ideas to give your content a unique perspective.

Sick of struggling for writing ideas? Get your 200+ writing prompts here.

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The Different Kinds Of Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are popular in the journaling and creative writing worlds, which opens the door to many different kinds of prompts. But in this post, you'll learn about three writing prompts that will help you in the content marketing world: You've got fill in the blank prompts,  question prompts, and prompts that tell you to look somewhere for your ideas. Here Are Some Different Kinds Of Writing Prompts This isn't to say that there aren't more out there that will help you, but these are the ones you'll focus on throughout this post. Here are a few examples of some writing prompts:

Fill In The Blank Prompts

{#} Ways To {Overcome Challenge}

Question Prompts

What is your content core?

Prompts That Direct You To Look Elsewhere For Your Ideas

Go to where your audience is. What questions are they asking?

Writing Prompts To Get You Writing

Here are several examples for each kind of writing prompt to help you come up with some awesome content:

Fill In The Blank Prompts:

  1. A list of ways that your product will help you with _____.
  2. Wish I'd known ____ before ____.
  3. What ____ means for {company or industry}.
  4. The best things I learned at ______.
  5. ______: I Learned The Tough Way.
  6. What happened on this day_____ {pick a number} years ago.
  7. 100 ____ that will ____ you be more awesome at what you do.
  8. We've been doing this wrong...
  9. Ask ____ {pick a number} people the same question and compile it into a collaborative blog post.
  10. Why this ____ {pick a speech video} speech teaches you all you need to know about ____.
  11. ____ {pick a number} _____ {type of videos} Videos That Will Help You ______.
  12. The ultimate guide to ______.
  13. Do _____ {number} Things By _____ {age}.
  14. What ____ {name of someone or something} Never Told You The Truth About ____.
  15. Why I'm going to quit ______.
  16. What are the goals for your next five years?
  17. ____ {number} Real People Share Their Biggest _______ {topic} Problems
  18. ____ {number} Ways To Track _____ {topic} Your _____ Without Going Crazy
  19. ____ {number} Blog Posts To Read When You're _____.
  20. This Trick Helped Me ____.
  21. What You Need To Know If You're _____.
  22. How I Went From ______ To _____.
  23. ____ {number} Empowering Ways To Track ____ Without ____.
  24. The Truth About ____.
  25. ___ {number} Crucial Things To Do If _____.
  26. ___ {number} ___ That Will ___.
  27. ___ {number} ___ Share The Top Tips They Give To _____.
  28. What Is ___, Anyway?
  29. Here's What Makes The Real Difference Between ____ And ____.
  30. Is Giving Up ____ A Good Way To ____.
  31. Here's Everything You Need To Know About ___.
  32. Why ___ Doesn't Want You To ___.
  33. Is This The Reason You Can't ___.
  34. The Exact Formula For ___.
  35. ___ {number} Ways ___ Can Help You ___.
  36. Why ___ Should Just Relax About ___.
  37. ___ {number} Ways To ___ Without ___.
  38. ___ {number} ___ {topic} Hacks To Add To Your Bag Of Tricks
  39. Real-Life Solutions For _____.
  40. Low-Cost Tools To Help With ____.
  41. Conquer Your Fear Of ___ With ___.
  42. ___ {number} ___ Ideas To Give A Try
  43. Must-Have ____ Tips To Have For ___
  44. ___ {year} ____ Trends
  45. ___ {number} DIY ___ Ideas
  46. ___ {number} ___ Budget Busters
  47. Easy ___ Tips For Your ___.
  48. Easy-To-Make ___ That Will ___.
  49. Must-Have-Tools For A ___.
  50. ___ On A Budget: Tips To ___.
  51. 1-Hour Tips For ___ That Will ___.
  52. ___ {Topic}: Easy Ways To ___.
  53. Spruce Up Your ___ With These Awesome ____ Tips.
  54. ___ {number} Things ___ (certain title for a person) Do.
  55. ___ {number} Rules That Are Stupid.
  56. ___ {number} Warning Signs That ___.
  57. The Heartbreaking Reality Of ___.
  58. ___ {number} Things That ___ {certain people title} Think About ___.

Question Prompts:

  1. What are some things people in your field want to know?
  2. What are positive conversations about things in your field being held?
  3. What are negative conversations that are being held in your field?
  4. What trends are big in your niche or field right now?
  5. What plugins and apps help you do your job better?
  6. What is your core content?
  7. If you could interview a person in your niche, who would it be?
  8. How'd you get started in your career?
  9. If you could interview a person in your niche, who would it be?
  10. How'd you get started in your career?
  11. What didn't work for you?
  12. What questions do you get? Compile it into your FAQ.
  13. What makes my company different?
  14. What is something that you enjoy every day?
  15. What adventures do you experience in your career?
  16. What are your top distractions and how do you deal with them?
  17. What's your motto for your company or blog?
  18. What's a current frustration of yours?
  19. What advice has stuck with you for a long time? Who gave you that advice?
  20. What's a day in the life of ___ {you} look like?
  21. Who is the one person that you definitely couldn't live without?
  22. What books would you recommend your followers to read?
  23. What would you tell someone who wants to go into your career?
  24. What is the toughest thing about being a ___ {your job title}?
  25. How To Make Your Products Look Appealing?

Prompts That Direct You To Look Elsewhere For Your Ideas:

  1. What are your competitors writing about? Take a look at three of yours and combine them together and create something amazing-er than they make.
  2. Look for keywords and let them be your guide.
  3. What are your customers' pain points and how can your product help them? Go find out what they are saying their problems are.
  4. Take a look at your top content in your analytics and write more like those or even revamp your old posts.
  5. Is there a change I could make in the next 24 hours...
  6. Look through all the comments on your blog and answer comments in blog post form.
  7. At the end of the year, list your posts by category and publish that as a post.
  8. Search out your brand persona on social media and find out what questions they are asking. Use them as blog prompts.
  9. Search on Twitter search and on Google Trends.
  10. Why customers are going elsewhere (put a spin on it to make it positive.)
  11. Social media tips for your industry.
  12. Take an unrelated topic and somehow tie it into your niche.
  13. Profile readers or customers.
  14. Q&A interview with your team.
  15. Write your own manifesto.
  16. Write a parody post.
  17. Read forums to find writing prompt ideas.
  18. Write a truth vs lie post.
  19. What The Worse Customers Can Teach You About...
Get the rest of your writing prompts in your free kit now!

Want To Create Your Own Writing Prompts?

Sometimes it can be tough to take other people's suggestions and customize them so that your ideas can shine through brightly. So I am going to show you how to create your own writing prompts because sometimes all you need is to find the ideas yourself. If you follow these steps, I promise you'll find a handful of new creative ideas.

Here are the secrets to coming up with new #writing ideas! #amwriting

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Here's How You Can Create Your Own Writing Prompts

There are plenty of different places to look for writing prompts. One of my personal favorite places to look for prompts is in magazines. (Especially in health magazines.) Cosmopolitan has been cited as a great headline source by headline masters. Why not use headlines to spark your writing ideas? They make great prompt ideas. Any kind of magazine or magazine's website works, too. Look in a variety of magazines (stretch to different genres as well): health, beauty, sports, cars, and home living magazines. When you look outside your niche and into other niches, you might find something new that you wouldn't have seen somewhere else. And that will strengthen your writing. Honestly, you'll learn a lot from those headline writers. They are good at what they do. Picasso was known for saying:
Good artists copy, great artists steal.
So mirror that in your own life as a writer. Don't just copy the ideas. Steal them and make them your own. Make sure you don't get distracted if you're creating your own prompts. It can be so easy to spend the rest of the day on the internet looking at nothing—in the name of research. You know where that bunny hole leads. And it doesn't lead to productivity or getting your projects done.

It can be so easy to waste time on the internet in the name of research.

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Here are your writing prompt creation steps: 1. First off, make a huge list of topics and ideas that you'd like to write about. Keep those handy by downloading the spreadsheet that accompanies this post, or in a tool like Evernote. Pro tip for coming with writing prompts 2. Go to a magazine website or look at an actual magazine. 3. Find headlines that catch your attention. 4. When you find a headline that sounds catchy, look at it. What makes it catchy? I am going to choose this headline as my writing prompt idea example: "12 Ways To Take Your Pushups To The Next Level"Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 9.14.50 AM Now, if you remember from our other post, "Here Are The 101 Catchy Blog Title Formulas That Will Boost Traffic By 438%", we talked about blog post headlines that have numbers in them do better than ones without. Now, there are plenty of ways that we could use the idea above to inspire our own writing. My example from above: 12 Ways To Take Your Pushups To The Next Level This will sorta turn into a fun "fill in the blank" game with topics that interest you. 5. Rework the headline you chose into your own blog prompt. Look at your list of topics and things that you want to write about. All you have to do now is take out some words and insert some of your own. Magazines are really good at writing their headlines, so start practicing and let them help you come up with your own writing prompts. Examples of fill-in-the-blank writing prompts
Here are a few variations:
  • __ {number} Ways To Take Your ____ To The Next Level
  • __ {number} Steps To ___ Your ____ ____ ____
And what do they look like when you add your own style and flair to them?
  • 23 Ways To Take Your Customer Service To The Next Level
  • 17 Steps To Write Your Best Content Ever
After you've done that, it's time to figure out what the steps are that are going to help your readers solve their problems. 6. Create a huge database of ideas like this. After creating a ton of exciting prompt ideas, write them all down in a writing prompt library. You can store your writing ideas in a notebook, in an Evernote note or even in a Google Docs or Sheets doc. (I've created an Excel document for you to use and that is included in the bundle that complements this post.) It will look something like this: creative writing prompts library google sheets

How Should You Use The Writing Prompt Library?

All you have to do is fill in these questions:
  1. List your prompts.
  2. In what blog category will the blog prompts fit?
  3. Do you have a keyword for it yet?
  4. When do you want to publish the post?
If you find something else that you'd like to track in your Writing Prompt Library, add to the columns at the top and then track away.

Now You're Ready To Rock And Write...

How awesome is it to have all these ideas? And don't you just love that "magazine headline" secret to finding new writing prompts? I know it can be hard to come up with ideas of your own. So if you are still struggling to find things to write about or are still trying to get unstuck, make sure you download the writing prompts tear sheet to get 200+ writing prompts and your writing prompt library.

Get a bunch of great ideas with this 200+ writing prompts tear sheet.

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About the Author

Devin Joubert is the Creative Director at Life Writing Wanderlust. She loves writing, blogging, seeing the world, and finding the magic in everyday life. She previously worked at CoSchedule as a content marketer.