Writing Prompts – Why They Suck!

Do a Google search for the term Writing Prompts, visit the first 100 sites, and look around.

What’s missing on practically every site? Take your time. I’ll wait.


If you answered, “Hey, those sites have absolutely no interaction with the people they’re supposed to help,” you are  correct.

And I find this amazing. People looking for writing prompts want inspiration. They want to crush writer’s block. They want to feel better about their writing. They want someone on the other end to say, “Hey there. I recognize your comment. I value it enough to respond.  Show me more” (and mean it)

These one-way prompt sites do little to address these desires, and I believe they don’t because only timely, hassle-free, human interaction can fill this void (requiring registration to comment is not an invitation, by the way; it’s a comment-reducing hoop to jump through.)

Take a look at the last 10 Creative Copy Challenges. How many comments do you see? How much encouragement do you see? How much community spirit exists? It’s this two-way spirited conversation that makes the CCC so helpful and special.

Yes, this is a rant. But hundreds of thousands of writing prompt sites exist to help writers, and I don’t believe they live up to their mission statements. What a shame for writers in need…but what a blessing for us, no!

Writing Prompts Sites That DON’T Suck:
(If you do writing prompts right, let us know. We’ll add it here:

  1. Fictionista Workshop
  2. Write Me
  3. Writer’s Digest (although I believe you should drop the forum registration process)

10 Comments on “Writing Prompts – Why They Suck!”

  1. MZMackay says:

    Hey Shane!  I was involved with a non-profit writer’s community called the Fictionista Workshop the past couple of months, and we ran a daily writing prompt program called WitFit.  The program offered daily prompts, one word prompt and a secondary multimedia prompt.  The participants e-mailed their pieces, and the admin team posted the entries into the comments section.  While we did not allow “comments-to-comments,” we provided links to the participant’s webpage, blog, fanfiction profile or fictionpress profile for readers to comment on and review.

    This decision was made to protect the partcipants, who may, or may not be participating with receiving some form of critique in mind. 

    The community is mostly women-based, and is an offshoot of the fanfiction writing community (stop rolling your eyes).  The community was created primarily to support authors who wished to further improve, develop or maybe move forward to original work.

    Don’t know if this warrants further mention here, but I just thought I’d point you in the direction of like-minded place on the web. Here’s the link http://www.fictionistaworkshop.com/category/witfit/.

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @MZMackay: Initial review – looks good. Community involvement, admin on the ball. I’ll review it more later and probably add it to the list of good prompt sites. 😉

      • MZMackay says:

        Hey Shane!  Thanks for putting the FW link up.  I am sure they’ll appreciate it.  I don’t work with them anymore on the admin side, but still appreciate your checking them out.

  2. Anne Maybus says:

    Shane I love the way you work here.  Thank you for welcoming me.  I have posted about this site on my blog.  http://cleverstreak.com/2011/02/writing-prompts-clearing-the-blocks/

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Anne M: Thank you for the post, and you are right. Your business writing will improve as a result of constant prompt challenges.

  3. Jace McCoy says:

    Sup Shane, I think you forgot like the best one on the net. They have some of the best prompts I’ve ever seen. Some really creative ones.
    Writers Digest Writing Prompts
    and then the replies and former writing prompts are in the forum
    WD Writing Prompts Forum

    • Shane Arthur says:

      @Jace: Hey. I just have not added them yet. Although, even WD could have more involvement with their community…and drop the registration in my humble opinion. I noticed several of their promptly prompts had zero comments, and although their forum does have large participation, you still have to register, which is a barrier I’d wish would go bye-bye. Thanks buddy.

  4. This is so true! It is WORK to run and moderate a writing site. Writers – at least those who post online – WANT to be read and they want feedback. Unfortunately, they don’t always want to return the favor. They don’t live by the Golden Rule.
    I enjoyed Writing.com. The writing skill of its members is all across the board, and you have a few bad apples and a few really super nice people who have no idea how to be heard above the noise. On the whole, though, it’s a friendly and supportive community with really active involvement from the owners and their designated Moderators, and that keeps things moving and interesting. They’ve built in rewards for commenting and mentoring, so that helps to keep contributors from just posting their own work and saying, “Look at me!” (A few contributors actually need to learn HOW to say, “Hey there! Look at me!” more often – because it’s a large community and if you’re not immediately noticed, it’s no one’s fault but your own. You HAVE to venture out and make new friends.) I’m not as active there as I once was, but I would recommend it if you’re looking for a friendly community of writers AND readers.

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