Develop a Routine
1. Find a time at least once a week where you can set aside at least 30 minutes to write.
2. Find a place where you won’t be interrupted, indoors or outdoors. Don’t choose a place where you regularly do something else like play games or sleep. A work space is preferable.
3. Decide if you prefer to type on a computer or write on paper.
4. Start with some free writing. Don’t worry about the quality; just write continuously for a few minutes. Babble onto the page.
5. Choose an exercise from the list below and write for 10 minutes. Remember, keep writing. Don’t stop for more than a few seconds. You can always edit later.
6. After 10 minutes decide if you want to keep writing or take a brief break, 2-5 minutes.
7. Choose a new exercise. Repeat the process 3-4 times.
8. Read over what you’ve written. Do any of these pieces stand out to you? Are there any that you’d like to develop further? If so, keep developing them. (See Developing an Idea below).
1. Pick someone you know. Now imagine they’re about to go on a trip. Where are they going? Is it a vacation or for work? What could go wrong on this trip? How would they handle it?
2. Take a newspaper or magazine and look for an article you find appealing. Consider the primary people in the events of the article. Who had the most to gain or lose? Who had the most control over the outcome? Imagine how these characters first met, how they interacted over the course of the event(s). Write a story about that.
3. Grab a random book from your shelf, or a library, and open it to a page in the middle of the book. Take the first sentence you find (with more than 4 words) and develop an idea around it. For example I just opened a book and got “Once you have printed the photo deliver it with the memo ID number.” This sounds like an order, so there’s a professional hierarchy. What is this a photo of, and why does the “memo ID number” matter? What is the memo about? Maybe the characters are spying on someone, secretly stealing information.
4. Listen to music without words. Movie soundtracks are a great example. Close your eyes and imagine a scene that would pair well with the music. Write a story around that scene.
5. Finish this sentence, “What I really want to write about is-”
There are a lot of writing prompts out there. These are just a few examples.