When you start a writing blog, there’s only a couple ways to start interacting with other writers and readers:
- Depend on people you already know to follow links to your blog
- Start using your blog to interact with other bloggers
If you’ve got #1 set because you’re a Twitter star, congrats! That’s awesome!
Most of us, however, have to (or want to) deal with #2, and a great way to do that is through the use of prompts.
If you’re not convinced, keep reading – otherwise, scroll down to find a list of active prompts (curated by me and checked at least monthly for dead links).
“Aren’t prompts just limiting my creativity?” you may say.
To you, my fine friend, I must admit that it’s possible! Sometimes I answer a prompt and feel like the sliver of garbage I spewed out would have been better left with my other thoughts that go completely forgotten. You may, as well, be a person who isn’t blogging for interaction and, instead, want to just have a place to send your mom when you come up with something.
But prompts can give you an in on something it’s hard to find otherwise – other great blogs. Just reading some of the responses to the prompt – usually in the comments – can lead you to other blogs to follow. You can comment on these blogs and start talking with people. Most of the blogs I follow were found by sifting through prompts and finding some of the authors I enjoyed reading most.
As well, you can respond to the prompt. If you leave a comment along with all the others, a permanent link to your blog will show up on another page – a page that probably has more viewers than a fresh, new blog does! Other people may take a liking to your work if they click on it, and they may leave comments for you.
A lot of the prompt-followers are some of the most die-hard bloggers, and that’s something you’ll want in your back pocket to encourage you during the hard times when the blog isn’t growing and giving your brain those sweet, sweet dopamine hits.
Unfortunately, I cannot cover all the bases – if I could, I would probably be a computer!* Anyway, here are some blogs that post prompts and a brief description of how those work. Prompts on hiatus and legacy prompts are listed at the bottom.
An weekly image prompt with a real (real!?) prize for the best speculative fiction story at the end of the year. These stories should be short enough (100 words) to fit on the image prompt – I suggest looking at past entries and winners!
1,000 word stories for this monthly challenge! New challenges appear on the First Tuesday of every month.
99 words – no more no less – for this amazing Thursday flash fiction prompt based off a word or small group of words. This blog gives you everything: a large community with a tight-knit feel, a round-up based on a submission form, and even a yearly competition.
A smaller writing challenge blog that’s just starting out (as of January 2019), join this if you want to grow with the site. It’ll probably do great, since it’s attracting several microinfluencers.
A set of poetry prompts that comes out on a well-defined schedule. Tons of people join in, so it’s a great place for poets to go for extra challenges.
#FOWC, well established, is a moderately popular challenge. This one gives you a word that must be used in the post. No word limits on this one! Curation is done through tags.
Similarly, the Flash Fiction Challenge (#FFFC) has no word limits, but there is a photo to spur your creativity. Thanks to MyForeverBlog for pointing this one out!
Joanne the Geek sponsors this monthly challenge. Get in on it now and be one of the founding participants!
Foto Flash Fiction Challenge (NEW to the list as of 7/21/2019)
An In-Linkz curated flash fiction challenge for stories of 500 words or less. Be inspired by the posted photo and give it a whirl! The blogger is mostly a photoblogger, so this is a great way to branch out and meet new people.
I’ve seen some fantastic entries for this syllabic poetry challenge that goes live every Monday. The current set of regular participants are some very high quality writers, so join in!
(You’ll need to follow Frank J. Tassone to easily find the challenge, or you’ll need to use this link to find the challenges. His blog isn’t organized for you to easily find the challenges – otherwise I’d have gotten this link up earlier!)
Limit your tales to 100 words as you respond to a photo prompt. Uses an In-Linkz linkup to quickly show you who else has posted that week.
Using only a haiku or senryu, respond to an intriguing stock photo. New challenges every Tuesday. I think this one looks hard, so go here if you want to stretch your abilities!
A daily prompt site with very light curation. Participants and friends do comment, but it’s very low pressure. This is great for people who might not want a community to join so much as a challenge.
A prompt on most Mondays for 200-250 word works of any genre.
A picture drawn by Kira for your inspiration! Give a story or poem based off the art given.
Linda G. Hill has the weekly Stream of Consciousness Saturday and One-Liner Wednesday. There is the monthly Coloring challenge, and Just-Jot-It Januaries happen throughout the month of January each year.
A contest for flash fiction between 100 and 250 words with a rotating judgeship. The prompts are a combination of picture, phrase, or words, depending on what the judge wants. Winners will be touted on Twitter or other social media. Contest only lasts one day, though – Monday – so get those writing engines revved!
A different kind of prompt with different rules appear nearly every day on this site! If you don’t know what kind of prompt you want to do, this is a good place to play around.
A list of three prompts that you can mix and match between – try to get all three if you can! This prompt has been rather long-lived, so you can depend on the creator of the OLWG to keep you going.
Putting My Feet in the Dirt gives a new prompt for every day by posting a monthly plan on the first of the month. At the end of the month, Michelle Cook organizes your posts for a round-up.
A phrase or word prompt that has no word count or format rules. Currently a smaller set of regular respondents – join this if you want to get into a tight community, and follow Reena regardless because of her raw talent!
A Monday prompt for Haikus! A rather popular prompt to follow, this one will get you started well on poetry prompting.
A Thursday prompt word sparks a story measured in sentences – not words or characters – which gives this prompt a rather interesting feel.
Song Lyric Sunday (NEW to the list as of 7/21/2019)
Everyone’s been wanting it, and now it’s finally here! A music-based inspiration prompt! Curated and invented by the reliable Fandango.
A 200-word-or-less story based on a provided photo. Popular around the town!
A form poetry prompt every Tuesday, this prompt is great for beginning poets. The community is friendly, and it’s big enough that someone is sure to stumble upon your stuff too! Excellent instructions are provided, especially since the prompt has gotten popular enough to require a submission form.
A seasonal contest wherein authors write something aimed at children. There tends to be prizes! Thanks to Chelsea Owens for pointing this one out.
No, it’s not just about writing poetry poorly – it’s also about writing a poem with a terrible subject, like crappy bosses or other poopy things. A weekly contest on Saturdays, the participants and winners are announced on Fridays.
A 100-word flash challenge that must be completed in three lines – no more no less! This is a photo challenge that posts on Thursdays.
A daily prompt that I see come on my feed quite often. Paula provides three words that may not seem related for you to weave into a quick tale. (Previously run by The Haunted Wordsmith).
Rachel Poli’s popular, and you’ll get prompts with a lot of variety from her site. It’s a little more difficult to see comments and get involved, but they’re great prompts nonetheless.
A VERY popular prompt set, this would be a great place to jump in to generate hoopla quickly. Run by a photographer, you’re sure to get great prompts.
A short phrase or smattering of words is given on Tuesdays. Respond with something short and sweet. Moderately well-followed, curated through comment sharing.
A picture prompt that requires a response so short that it’s Tweetable! A really popular prompt, and one you can use to expand your presence on Twitter as well as WordPress.
Sammi Cox’s Saturday prompt is great because the word length always changes. The community is still growing, but the prompts are solid.
A weekly challenge posted on Thursdays by Trent on Trent’s World. Response posts must be dedicated to things that make you smile. Well curated, and VERY positive. Thanks to Marsha Writes for pointing out this challenge.
What Do You See? (Had difficulty accessing 7/21/2019 – Will Move to Hiatus if Still Nonfunctional as of 8/21/2019)
A weekly photo prompt where you can write anything you want (within reason, of course!) in response. Curation is done through pingbacks/comments.
Unlike any other prompt I’ve come across! This one chooses a location on Google Maps and encourages you to take tours and write about the place.
A daily prompt that gives a single word as a thought provoker. Also posts the Kira’s Sunday Scribbles (mentioned above).
Though not yet very well followed (at least not on WP), the posters are regular and happen to sport a very nice-looking site. The prompts come in the form of phrases.
A set of true contests, one of which has a cash prize, winners of the various challenges are announced weekly. Uses InLinkz software to collect submissions.
A popular Thursday photo prompt with excellent curation. A ton of people participate, so you’ll be seen out and about on this fantastic blog.
A photo based prompt, 100 Word Wednesday is a mid-week prompt from Bikurgurl. Use tags 100WW or #100WW to help people find your response.
This page is hard to navigate; to find the most recent challenge, you’ll need to have some reading glasses on and scroll through the recent posts on the left side of the page. However, every Thursday a new prompt from Kristian surfaces, and the participants seem to have fun! The Haunted Wordsmith makes roundups.
On Hiatus prompts are those that have missed 3 or more predicted prompt postings (or a month without a post, if it’s a monthly or biweekly posting) when I check up on them. The dates are the dates I decided to move them into the Hiatus category, not the dates they went on Hiatus.
Tell Tale Thursday (On Hiatus as of 7/21/2019 – Will be moved to Legacy as of 8/21/2019 if no change)
In-Linkz curated prompt for fiction up to 250 words.
Daily Inklings (On Hiatus as of 7/21/2019 – Will be moved to Legacy as of 8/21/2019 if no change)
If you were to look at these prompts as a Wheel-of-Fortune category, you’d get something like ‘common phrases’ or ‘weird things.’ These prompts can be any form of writing – it just asks for a blog post, not necessarily a story or a poem.
Speculative Writing Challenge (On Hiatus as of 6/1/2019 – Will be moved to Legacy as of 10/31/2019 if no change)
A monthly challenge, this photo is intended to make you give a bit more effort than the usual flash-fiction prompts.
Legacy prompts are those prompts that have either been on hiatus for a couple months without indication of return, or those prompts which announced an end date. They are saved here for posterity’s sake and may return to active use if the author chooses to update them. However, I won’t check these links as often – if your prompt is in here and you need it taken out, give me a comment.
Don Massenzio’s Stock Photo Challenge (Legacy as of 7/21/2019)
A sadly short-lived photo challenge. The photos are all royalty free, so you can feel good that research has been done to give you something you’re allowed to use.
Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers (Legacy as of 1/2019)
Ending in January 2019, this epic, long-lived photo challenge series still exists in the form of a flash-fiction archive. Even though it’s over, you can still comb it for inspiration.
Wacky Weekend Challenge (Legacy as of 4/6/2019)
This prompt was run by the Dark Netizen. Check out his blog and follow in case he revamps the challenge!
(5) Word Weekly Writing Challenge (Legacy as of 3/13/2019)
Challenge responses must contain all FIVE words given in the prompt, but you aren’t limited to poetry, prose, or (unless self-imposed) word count. Prompts are posted on Mondays.
See you around!
So come along, choose a prompt – or two! – and join in. If you join one of the prompts I participate in, you’ll probably see my little icon slithering around the comments on your site!
*HRR is, sadly, not a computer as of 21 July 2019. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that this fateful transformation has occurred prior to your current reading.