6 Steps to Doing Your Own Writing Prompt Challenge

Last post I talked about my experience doing a 365-day writing prompt challenge. To sum it up, it was tough, but incredibly rewarding.

Writing every day for a year helped me ignore my inner critic and just write like crazy without needing to spend minutes (or hours) staring at a blank page. It also results in a heck of a lot of little stories ripe for the ol’ polish-and-publish (I’m sure it’s an industry term).

If you’ve found yourself stuck looking for something new to write, or you just want to have a day-to-day writing warm-up without constantly searching online for specific writing prompts, this post is for you.

So, without further ado…

How To Do Your Own “Hat Trick” Writing Prompt Challenge

1. Make a huge list of situations, settings, character archetypes, items, or whatever else comes to your mind.

At first, I used a physical hat full of paper slips, but that method got unwieldy after awhile. Later, I wrote them all up digitally.

If you want an example of writing prompt categories, feel free to look at some of the ones I’ve used. Alternatively, if you’re interested, I could post my writing prompt list in the comments. Let me know if you’d like me to show my hand!

2. Prepare a timer for 15 minutes.

Or however long works for you. Later in the challenge I stopped using the timer because I just felt natural in my ability to write for approximately 15 minutes. That said, there were certainly days I wrote for a shorter time, and some days I wrote and wrote and wrote.

You can use any kind of timer to keep yourself accountable. I used online-stopwatch.com on the count down setting.

3. Pick your three prompts at random.

You could draw three slips of paper from a fancy writing hat (hence, “hat trick”), or write the categories digitally, randomize them with a random list generator, and pick the top three. Either method works like a charm, whether you’re an analog or digital type of writer..

4. Start the timer (immediately!).

Don’t sit and think about the categories or what you’ll write about. Start the timer and go. The stress of the deadline will pull your Muse to the fore.


Just do it. Do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams! Etc.

6. (Optional) Post your shiny new story online.

I recommend doing the challenge publicly because it worked for me, but if you’ve got the discipline to do it offline, go for it. Your story won’t be perfect, but it’ll be yours, straight from your beautiful brain. And who knows? Maybe it’ll be something you want to explore in a longer story or a novel. I know I’ve got more than a few of those in my archives.

There are dozens of blog-type platforms you could do this (WordPress works just dandy for me), or you could use social media like Facebook if you’re not worried about scandalizing Grandma with your sexy mummies in space prompt.


That’s it–simple as that. Now get out there and PROMPT. You’ll be happy you did. I sure am.




In my next post, I’ll provide a big list of some of my favourite prompts, as well as group together some of the recurring worlds that have cropped up over the year. We’re talkin’ cowboy wizards, sky pirates, meta detectives, and more.

Stay tuned, readers and writers!

– H.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s