Writing Prompts are Dumb and a Waste of Time

Writing Prompts: Zombies and Mystic creatures by Kellepics CC0 Public domain from Pixabay

What do you feel about writing prompts? Sometimes I use them, other times I don’t. I never knew they would stir up so much trouble.


What Prompts you?

The Non-Fiction Novelist, Larry Kahaner pulls no punches with his views. Suggesting “why not just start working on your short story, book, blog or whatever you’re trying to churn out? That’s how you get your creat­ive spark ignited”

Is he correct? That is a good question. My friend, Marilyn Davis is a firm believ­er that everything should have a plan and that is where you start. There are times when I agree, but there are also times when I believe in free writing as the only way to get the juices going and get you piece moving. There are times when I have forgot­ten something vital when writing to a plan. I have also done the same with free writing. I wish there were a cure to forget­ting the vital part.

His question, are you wasting your time getting your engine revved by setting out a plan?

This is an inter­est­ing question. I am truth­fully in neither camp. I like a plan, but I also like to get going. Much depends on the day and task at hand. I do add a prompt if I think of an idea to be used later in the essay, even when free writing. I would love to hear your view my readers.


Zombie Prompts


Larry Kahaner intro­duces the topic (includ­ing an elegant picture):

His belief: No matter how much you’re going to hate me for saying this, writing prompts are dumb. Further, he doesn’t know any working writers who use them. Further, he questions why would you spend time and energy on something that you’re not going to use, something that’s supposed to ‘get your creat­ive juices flowing’ and then toss aside?


Why not just start working on your short story, book, blog or whatever you’re trying to churn out? That’s how you get your creat­ive spark ignited.

I know, I know… many new writers feel naked without the cloak of writing prompts.

Source: Writing Prompts are Dumb and a Waste of Time

What do you think?


  1. To tell you the truth there is a time and place for everything. Some writers love writing prompts others don’t. I myself have only used then when I was in high school. But, they can be very helpful to some writers.

    • Brendamarie, To me it depends on what I am writing (and perhaps the day I am writing it on). I love to perform free-writing exercises and do that most days, just writing freely on a topic, without research, without prompts, and without any obstacle but rarely, if ever, do I publish those items in a raw form (if at all). I have developed a person­al rule that under my post there should be three of four sub-topics upon which I write a small or large amount, sometimes this is in the mind but at other times the only start­ing thoughts are a set of bullet points.

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