When you’re staring down the barrel of writer’s block, it can feel like anything would be easier than accumulating a hundred words on a page.

  • Inspiration has gone into hibernation
  • “Having a good idea” seems as likely as “seeing a unicorn”
  • Pairing a few consonants with a vowel or two feels like pushing a boulder uphill

In case this sounds familiar—or in case you have your own “I just don’t know where to start writing today” story—I want to introduce you to your new bestie.

Aspiring Author, meet my good friend Writing Prompt.

A “prompt” is anything that nudges, assists or encourages us toward an outcome or behavior. In this case, the outcome we’re looking for is, well, writing.

And yes, prompts work even when you’ve got a clinical case of The Block.

Writing prompts work their magic by relieving you of the duty of having even one single idea of your own.

Open up a world you might not have explored. They throw the innovative part of your brain a curve ball. They get the juices of your imagination flowing, with very little effort.

Sound good? Here’s how it works.

  • Choose a prompt from the list below.
  • Set the timer on your phone for five or seven minutes.
  • Type or write the prompt on the first line of the page—and then finish the sentence it starts.
  • Keep writing, until you run out of steam or ideas. (This may be one sentence, or twenty. You may even write on that first prompt all the way until the timer goes off.)
  • If your writing momentum slows before the timer goes off, start over. Write the same prompt again, and finish the sentence again.
  • Keep writing until the timer goes off.

Then, choose a second prompt from the list below, set the timer again, and start all over.

Sound easy? It actually is!

So here are 75 juicy prompts to inspire you out of writer’s block!

  • I remember…
  • What I can’t write about is…
  • What I remember about my mother is…
  • What I remember about my father is…
  • One secret I still keep is…
  • My first memory is…
  • If only…
  • What I should have said was…
  • Never again will I…
  • Love was…
  • The look on her face…
  • My people…
  • How could I forget…
  • Today I know…
  • In your arms, I…
  • I did my best, but…
  • If you were me, you…
  • What he said to me was…
  • The only advice I have is…
  • What my heart knows is…
  • I tried to be perfect, but…
  • I’ll never know…
  • We were a perfect family, except…
  • On that fateful day…
  • What I’ve held in for too long is…
  • My greatest fear is/was…
  • Why did I…
  • Who would have thought…
  • Twenty years ago…
  • Love tastes like…
  • What I should have known was…
  • What I can’t tell you is…
  • The journey began with…
  • How could I have known that…
  • The smell of…
  • You remind me of…
  • If I could start over…
  • Lying there…
  • Regret feels like…
  • It’s been years, but…
  • What you said to me was…
  • I love you, but…
  • My dream is/was…
  • Facing the unknown, I…
  • She/He/You turned to me and…
  • The lesson was…
  • I remember a song…
  • The smell of…
  • I used to hide…
  • Darkness is…
  • If I could, I would…
  • Through the wall I heard…
  • When we kissed…
  • Everything changed when…
  • They didn’t like that I…
  • The best idea I ever had…
  • The worst idea I ever had…
  • If memory serves…
  • If I could start over…
  • I’d pay any price to…
  • You need to know…
  • Healing is…
  • Everyday I…
  • I wish…
  • After a decade…
  • How I learned to…
  • I am from…
  • I can still feel…
  • I never want to forget…
  • May you…
  • The last thing I remember is…
  • It took everything to…
  • I’m afraid to remember…
  • When you looked at me I knew…
  • Out the window I could see…

Seem too simple? Wondering if using these prompts will really help you?

Here are some benefits of using writing prompts to inspire your work:

  • Prompts make it easy to start writing. You don’t have to wonder “what should I write about today?” Just choose a prompt and get going. Bye-bye writer’s block!
  • The act of writing begets more writing. Once you start, it’s easier to keep writing. Ideas start coming out of the woodwork. It’s common for writers to feel like there are suddenly too many ideas! “How will I capture them all??”
  • When you write, you feel like a writer. For those of us who hear the call of a book dream, feeling like a writer is everything. And there’s no better way to feel like a writer than to write everyday.

These prompts are most effective when you use them as a practice. So consider making an agreement with yourself to try a new one every day.

Pick a prompt in the morning, while you’re having your morning coffee. (Or every evening, after the kids have gone to bed.)

Setting—and keeping—this kind of goal can reap benefits that go beyond the page. More confidence, a stronger identity as a writer, and the knowledge that you’re taking action toward your writing goals every day? These outcomes are priceless. Let these writing prompts help nudge you along the way!

Kelly Notaras is the founder of kn literary arts and the author of THE BOOK YOU WERE BORN TO WRITE: Everything You Need to (Finally) Get Your Wisdom Onto the Page and Into the World, published by Hay House. An editor for 20 years, she’s worked at HarperCollins, Penguin, Hyperion and Sounds True. She speaks regularly at the Hay House Writer’s Workshops and offers consultation by appointment. Find out more about how she can help you with your book.