Writing Prompts for When You Can’t Write Due to a Global Crisis

May 11, 2020 § 14 Comments

julie-bio-pic-cropBy Julie Vick

Can’t seem to get much writing done during the pandemic? Here are some writing prompts that probably won’t help:

  • Write a letter to your younger self. Find a way to casually suggest that you start learning how to cut your own hair.
  • Plan a trip to a different room in your house. Write a detailed packing list.
  • Imagine a character that could actually finish something they start. Write some instructions on how one would do that exactly.
  • Write about one of the hardest times of your life. You know, other than right now.
  • Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a quarantine from the plague. Write a historical essay about that time that focuses on Shakespeare’s wife.
  • Lie on the floor for a while. Think about all the writing you could do if you got up.
  • Find a photo on Instagram that depicts a family baking profiteroles in matching hand-knitted sweaters. List five possible hermit crab structures that could convey the importance of not staging unrealistic scenes at a time like this.
  • Imagine someone has hit refresh on the The New York Times page 20 times in the last hour and on the 21st time, the page does not reload. Describe the type of cake they should eat.
  • Write a manifesto about how any writing rejection should only be delivered at a time when the writer is emotionally prepared to deal with it.
  • Outline a braided essay that interweaves musings on sourdough starters and Tiger King tattoos.
  • Describe the taste and smell of the food you would make if you could just locate a single packet of yeast.
  • Write an ode to Netflix, Hulu, or the My Little Pony video that has kept your child entertained for the last hour.
  • Retitle 10 famous memoirs into things that could apply to this time in your life. Just don’t use “Eat, Play, Zoom”—that one’s already spoken for.
  • Write one word. Any word. See? You can still write!



Julie Vick’s writing has appeared in New Yorker Daily Shouts, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Electric Literature. She is an English Instructor at the University of Colorado Denver. Follow her on Twitter @vickjulie. / https://twitter.com/vickjulie

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