Creative writing prompts that you can do in 10 minutes

Writers write

What can you write in 10 minutes or less? Let’s find out! For a quick creative writing exercise, try one of the 21 writing prompts below, excerpted from Chronicle Books’ 642 Tiny Things to Write About. Each prompt was created by a writing teacher at the San Francisco Writers Grotto to be done in 10 minutes or less. For a bigger creative challenge, do one writing prompt a day for 21 days.

21 creative writing prompts from 642 Tiny Things to Write About:

Write a eulogy for a sandwich, to be delivered while eating it.

Write the ad for an expensive new drug that improves bad posture. Now, list the possible side effects.

Think about your day so far (even if it’s still morning). What’s the highlight at this point?

Write the first communication sent back to Earth after humans land on Mars.

Finish this sentence: The smell of an orange reminds me of….

A genie grants you three tiny wishes. What are they?

It’s 1849, and you’re headed West along the Oregon Trail. Describe the safety features of your state-of-the-art covered wagon.

Write the passenger safety instructions card for a time-travel machine.

An undercover spy is about to impersonate you in all aspects of your life. Write instructions.

Write your life story in five sentences.

It’s 2018. Where did you last see your jetpack on Saturday?

Which is the oldest tree in your neighborhood, and what has it seen?

At a banquet in Kazakhstan, you are greeted as a guest of honor and served the traditional sheep’s eyeball. Respectfully, you decline. You are then offered the sheep’s tongue, instead. What’s your excuse this time?

Fill in the blank and keep going. “I really ought to eat more_____.”

Aloha! You’re a lost tourist on a locals-only beach in Hawaii. Talk your way out of a night mugging, using only surfer slang and sea turtle metaphors.

Find a photo and write what’s not in the picture.

As a talking Chihuahua, what would you tell your humans about the new crying baby who now lives with you?

Pick a place you’ve never been to. Explain why you are moving there.

What piece of advice do you most often give and least often follow?

If you were given one extra hour today and you weren’t allowed to use it for anything you’d normally do (e.g.; eat, sleep, etc.), what would you do with that hour?

How’s it going? Write the honest answer.

Check out Chronicle Books’ 642 Tiny Things to Write AboutWant to improve your creative writing? Start with these TED-Ed Lessons: How to write fiction that comes aliveHow fiction can change reality and How to build a fictional world.

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Featured image from the TED-Ed Animation: Three anti-social skills to improve your writing.



  1. Akash

    The advice i give most and follow least is understanding the importance of time.When I am surrounded by my class mates , I start giving them a lecture on why should he /she utilize time but I think I hardly follow this myself .I do all sorts of planning and thinking but when it comes to execution I find myself lagging a way behind what I’ve set out to do. Hopefully I’ll improve on it.

    • Lewis

      As we gather today to say goodbye to this sandwich we will take time to remember all of its parts that made him the sandwich he was! First we taste the tangy excitement of the onion followed quickly by the rush of Bacon,Lettuce, Tomato, Followed by the slightest blush of Mustard and Mao m this sandwich be blessed and digest happily hereafter…….amen!

  2. Akhssass

    It might be a good idea if students write the story of their names. or the story of a scar in their body.

  3. Priya

    Pick a place I’ve never been to
    I would choose New Zealand and move there when I get old. The reason being , old age , monotonous routine and old practices , city life , politics , war and what not .. The huge change to move to one e. Of the cleanest places in the world and begin an new adventure and perusing hobbies Would bring back the spark in my life.. My grandchildren would look at me like never before and long to visit and spend time with all new refreshingly enthusiastic grandma.. What more could I ask for !!

    • sarahjane dooley

      This was exactly what I thought and tried to do now that I am old. Unfortunately, New Zealand will not accept old people (anyone over 50!)because the country does not want to be responsible for the cost of an aging population. With socialized medicine, aging immigrants would be a burden on their society.

      • jackie

        I moved to NZ. The pollution in Auckland was horrendous. Every ex pat I met had the sad, hungry, homesick look about them. Got out as soon as we could – 7 months and looked 10 years older. Spent a fortune.

        The kiwis were really lovely though. But, yeah, sad to say, you did yourself a huge favour.

  4. Ha! I love these! And young writers especially love silly prompts. My class once wrote from the POV of an innanimate object. They made me write from the POV of a dog’s tail! I have a whole post I recenlty wrote on my site that gives 7 more writing games to play in the classroom.

  5. Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after
    going through some of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll
    be book-marking it and checking back frequently!

  6. Universe707

    Question: Three wishes a genie grants me..what are they?

    Ans: The first wish is..give me magical powers that I can spread peace in the world by destroying the evil,like superman or Spider-Man :D

    My second wish would be..give me so much money that I became a bank itself to lend money to poor and improve the world to be peaceful

    Third wish: Give me three more wishes

  7. Jarryd Figs

    This is great. I’ll be using these in my classroom.

  8. Katrina

    Cool I used them for my kids writing homework get idea!

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