What can you write in 10 minutes or less? Let’s find out! For a quick creative writing exercise, try one of the 21 writing prompts below, excerpted from Chronicle Books’ 642 Tiny Things to Write About. Each prompt was created by a writing teacher at the San Francisco Writers Grotto to be done in 10 minutes or less. For a bigger creative challenge, do one writing prompt a day for 21 days.
21 short writing prompts:
Write a eulogy for a sandwich, to be delivered while eating it.
Write the ad for an expensive new drug that improves bad posture. Now, list the possible side effects.
Think about your day so far (even if it’s still morning). What’s the highlight at this point?
Write the first communication sent back to Earth after humans land on Mars.
Finish this sentence: The smell of an orange reminds me of….
A genie grants you three tiny wishes. What are they?
It’s 1849, and you’re headed West along the Oregon Trail. Describe the safety features of your state-of-the-art covered wagon.
Write the passenger safety instructions card for a time-travel machine.
An undercover spy is about to impersonate you in all aspects of your life. Write instructions.
Write your life story in five sentences.
It’s 2018. Where did you last see your jetpack on Saturday?
Which is the oldest tree in your neighborhood, and what has it seen?
At a banquet in Kazakhstan, you are greeted as a guest of honor and served the traditional sheep’s eyeball. Respectfully, you decline. You are then offered the sheep’s tongue, instead. What’s your excuse this time?
Fill in the blank and keep going. “I really ought to eat more_____.”
Aloha! You’re a lost tourist on a locals-only beach in Hawaii. Talk your way out of a night mugging, using only surfer slang and sea turtle metaphors.
Find a photo and write what’s not in the picture.
As a talking Chihuahua, what would you tell your humans about the new crying baby who now lives with you?
Pick a place you’ve never been to. Explain why you are moving there.
What piece of advice do you most often give and least often follow?
If you were given one extra hour today and you weren’t allowed to use it for anything you’d normally do (e.g.; eat, sleep, etc.), what would you do with that hour?
How’s it going? Write the honest answer.
For more writing prompts like these, check out 642 Tiny Things to Write About. Want to improve your creative writing? Start with these TED-Ed Lessons: How to write fiction that comes alive, How fiction can change reality; and How to build a fictional world.
Featured image from the TED-Ed Animation: Three anti-social skills to improve your writing