How Writing Prompts Can Help Your Blog

When you start a writing blog, there’s only a couple ways to start interacting with other writers and readers:

  1. Depend on people you already know to follow links to your blog
  2. 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!

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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).

Why Prompts?

“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.

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Ah, mom.

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.

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Select Prompts

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.

Aether Prompts

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!

BlogBattle

1,000 word stories for this monthly challenge!  New challenges appear on the First Tuesday of every month.

Carrot Ranch

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.

Crimson’s Creative Challenge

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.

dVerse Poets

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.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge and Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge

#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!

Flash Fiction Challenge

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.

Frank J. Tassone’s Haikai Challenge

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!)

Friday Fictioneers

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.

I Write Her Weekly Haiku/Senryu Challenge

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!

Imprompt Prompts

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.

Just Start Writing

A prompt on most Mondays for 200-250 word works of any genre.

Kira’s Sunday Scribbles

A picture drawn by Kira for your inspiration!  Give a story or poem based off the art given.

Linda G. Hill Prompts

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.

Menage Monday

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!

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

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.

On-Line Writer’s Guild

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

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.

Reena’s Exploration Challenge

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!

Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge

A Monday prompt for Haikus!  A rather popular prompt to follow, this one will get you started well on poetry prompting.

Six Sentence Story

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.

Sunday Photo Fiction

A 200-word-or-less story based on a provided photo.  Popular around the town!

Tanka Tuesday

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.

Teensy Writing Contest

A seasonal contest wherein authors write something aimed at children.  There tends to be prizes!  Thanks to Chelsea Owens for pointing this one out.

Terrible Poetry Contest

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.

Three Line Challenge

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.

Three Things Challenge (3TC)

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).

Time to Write

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.

Tuesday Photo Challenge

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.

Twiglets

A short phrase or smattering of words is given on Tuesdays.  Respond with something short and sweet.  Moderately well-followed, curated through comment sharing.

Twittering Tales

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.

Weekend Writing Prompt

Sammi Cox’s Saturday prompt is great because the word length always changes.  The community is still growing, but the prompts are solid.

Weekly Smile

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.

What Pegman Saw

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.

Word of the Day Challenge

A daily prompt that gives a single word as a thought provoker.  Also posts the Kira’s Sunday Scribbles (mentioned above).

Write Now

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.

Yeah Write Challenges

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.

#writephoto

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.

100 Word Wednesday

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.

50 Word Challenge

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

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

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.

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95 thoughts on “How Writing Prompts Can Help Your Blog

  1. D. Wallace Peach says:

    What a great list, and I’m so happy to be included, though new to the prompt-offering community. I’ve seen a lot of these around and wish I could participate in them all. I agree that it’s a fun way to meet other bloggers, specifically writing bloggers. We find fans, become fans, and who knows, connect with future beta-readers, readers, and reviewers. All good stuff! I’m saving this post for later use. It’s a wonderful resource. 🙂 Happy Writing!

  2. Chelsea Owens says:

    Yay! I’m mentioned!!! And I’ve always wanted to enter some of those others you mentioned.

    (I need to make an editorial note, though. It IS about writing poetry terribly. Didn’t you read my How-To article? 😀 )

  3. joanne the geek says:

    Thanks for compiling that list.

    My blog has really taken off since I began writing story prompts. I now have more people following, reading, and liking my posts which is great. I’ve found I quite enjoy coming up with a narrative based on a word prompt. Sometimes I wish I had a few more words to play with. The Sammi Cox ones can be challenging especially if you only have around 17 words to write a story with. I might try a few of the others you suggested.

    I think the prompts are quite good writing exercises and are helping to improve my narrative style, and they’re also a lot of fun and introduced me to quite a few other writers. I would certainly recommend them for any blogger starting out as it would be a good way to build an audience and meet other writers.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I fiddled with doing my own thing for a long time, and I don’t know why I decided to start answering a prompt. After I did, I realized why people do them – not only was I compelled to read more prompt responses and find out how other people did it, I found my own blog started getting reads. I may eventually cut down on some prompts, but for now it’s both a great way to practice writing in a concise manner AND find other blogs.

      I haven’t done all of these yet – and I’m sure there are more out there – but all of them have participants.

  4. Alexander Elliott says:

    This is a great resource! I’ve never participated, mostly due to lack of time, but perhaps it’s time to spread my wings a bit. I certainly could use more friends and fans among fellow writers. The question is where to start?? The photo prompts really interest me the most.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I participate in a few of these, and others I’ve done a couple times.

      If you want to start doing prompts, I’d choose one popular one (you can tell which ones those are by how many entries they have) and one that’s a little on the sly. See how you like each one and their feel. If you don’t like either, you can easily quit.

      Also, read some of the entries, look at some of those comments. That’s how I decided to start my first prompt (Carrot Ranch).

      If you’re interested in the photos, I’d try Sunday Photo Fiction or #writephoto first.

  5. Sue Vincent says:

    Thanks for the mention of the writephoto challenge…and for not only beating me to a post I keep meaning to write, but for doing it far more comprehensively than I could have managed 🙂

  6. Kat Myrman says:

    This is a great list. I’m always looking for inspiration. Thanks also for mentioning my challenge, twittering Tales. Challenges drop every Tuesday completer with a roundup of the previous week’s challenge results (including a link to each author’page). I think challenges are a great way to expand your connection to other bloggers.

  7. Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life. says:

    Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    Shared by Colleen Chesebro this post by H.R.R. Gorman shares the benefits of rising to the various challenges on WordPress that are also included. I would add that if you are an author who would like to encourage readers to come to your blog, this is a great way to do that too. As well as being fun. I am managing one or two a week and it is also a great way to develop other forms of writing.. #recommended

  8. Ritu says:

    You are so right here! I have build much of my blog and following through some of these very prompts.
    The beauty is you can do as many or as few as you want!
    I know I have at least one every day that I would take part in weekly and the interaction really built up!

  9. Michele Jones says:

    Great list. I following participate in a couple of these writing prompts. They do help in many ways. I’m always looking for ways to keep creative, so your post was perfect.

    If you don’t do a prompt, give it a try. You might like it., and some are super challenging.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I do several of these, but a new goal I have is to try a few more every week. Each community is so different and unique, so you can’t now for sure if you’d like it until you try!

  10. Miriam Hurdle says:

    A great job of finding all the challenges and the blogs, Gorman. I have participated quite a few over the years and it’s a great way to connect. Everyone should keep your post handy.

  11. myforever77 says:

    Followed you here from your comment on one of my posts, you are so correct; what a way to receive followers also ideas born from the prompts.
    I have learned much I was unaware of all the different bloggers offering prompts.
    Thank you so much for all these opportunities, now to sharpen my imagination and see what I can come up with.

  12. Hélène - Willow Poetry says:

    What a treasure chest of writing prompts. Thank you so much for all these links. Especially for the mention, 🙂.
    Sumiting for prompts has helped me in ny own writing ✍️ .
    I bookmarked this post.

  13. crimsonprose says:

    I thank you for including CCC in your list of blog prompts. Myself, I was resistant to prompts for the first six years of blogging, and only got involved through Sammi as a means of retaining my followers’ interest in crimsonprose while I’m otherwise engaged in prepping my e-book (quint) for Kindle. No one warned me of the extra work involved, not helped by my more recent follows of Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt and What Pegman Saw.
    But fun. And definitely not wasted time. I’ve discovered I have a talent for poetry and micro-fiction. And I’d thought my talents restricted to mega-word novels!

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I’ve done my best to make this post as comprehensive as I can. It updates every so often, and I try to make sure the contests/prompts are ongoing every once in a while.

      But yes! Prompts are fantastic. I’m considering hosting one, but I’m not sure what kind of niche I would be able to fill. Something to consider, eh?

      • crimsonprose says:

        Indeed. I’m a keen photographer, so got me, photos were the obvious. As to a new niche, gosh, I’d say The Haunted Wordsmith has stolen them all! She does run several, and they tend to change often. I wish you well with finding a new one.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I pride myself on keeping up with a fairly detailed collection. A couple of these probably need to move into the ‘hiatus’ status, but I try to check all the links at least once a month.

      (Also, definitely my most read post, so I have to keep it up ;)!)

  14. Aak fictionspawn says:

    Quite a list! I’ve never tried any prompt, I guess because I ask the same question your fictive friend asked. But hey, never say never. I do know a lot of great stuff comes out of the prompts. I’m actually dreaming about the inktober project, which is about illustrations rather than writing, but I just don’t have time… It’s supposed to be one illustration a day all of October. Not this year either, it seems. Some day I will. Some year.

    • H.R.R. Gorman says:

      I can’t draw either fast or well (though I think I’m not ‘the worst’)! The main thing about prompts is it makes it easy for new bloggers to get exposure. You’re pretty well established with your groove, so it’s probably not that useful anymore.

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