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300+ One-Word Writing Prompts

Michael Kwan
Writing Prompts

A great creative writing exercise you can try when you're feeling stuck in the depths of writer's block is to start with just one word and see where it takes you. A single word may be the simplest of writing prompts, but it can also be the most open to original interpretation.

The Human Experience

As Carol Shields once wrote, great novels "shorten the distance between what is privately felt and universally known." There is nothing more universal than human emotion and thought; seeking to capture what it means to be human can make for some truly insightful writing.

  • Regret
    The Human Experience
  • Fulfilled
  • Family
  • Obsession
  • Tested
  • Overcome
  • Triumph
  • Passion
  • Jealousy
  • Deception
  • Tenacious
  • Duplicity
  • Loyalty
  • Routine
  • Elation
  • Ambition
  • Impress
  • Focus
  • Follower
  • Laughter
  • Trust
  • Ungrateful
  • Maybe
  • Granted
  • Melody
  • Nostalgic
  • Tradition
  • Expectation
  • Influence
  • Obligation
  • Care
  • Runaway
  • Isolation
  • Agony
  • Peace
  • Pause
  • Comfort
  • Unfamiliar
  • Lost
  • Sentimental
  • Saccharin
  • Forgiveness
  • Confusing
  • Exhaustion

A Time and a Place

While an entry in a personal journal or diary may focus on the immediate events of the day and the near future, you can also look beyond your immediate surroundings. Transport your narrative to another location or era with one of these single word writing prompts.

  • Thanksgiving
    A Time and a Place
  • Reunion
  • Darkness
  • Ruins
  • Summer
  • Teddy
  • Innocence
  • Retirement
  • Holidays
  • Camelot
  • Feudal
  • Samurai
  • Flyover
  • Kilimanjaro
  • Sunset
  • Ocean
  • Detention
  • Interstate
  • Suitcase
  • Breakup
  • BFF
  • Heaven
  • Limbo
  • Backstage
  • Wild
  • Classroom
  • Interstellar
  • Camp
  • Metropolis
  • Suburbia
  • Legend
  • Purgatory
  • Torrential
  • Winter
  • Cleopatra
  • Mayan
  • Monotony
  • Village
  • Stage
  • Outside
  • Basement
  • Office
  • Wasteland
  • Refuge
  • Heartland
  • Johannesburg
  • Nepal
  • Prehistoric
  • Renaissance

A Twisted Mother Tongue

The English language traces its origins back to a random mishmash of multiple languages, deriving and adopting terms from multiple sources. These prompts can add some worldly flair to your writing.

  • Gesundheit
    A Twisted Mother Tongue
  • Lingerie
  • Gambino
  • Padre
  • Gung-ho
  • Avatar
  • Aficionado
  • Consigliere
  • Milieu
  • Qigong
  • Guru
  • Necropolis
  • Dystopian
  • Fracas
  • Abacus
  • Pirouette
  • Anonymous
  • Führer
  • Protégé
  • Shaman
  • Wanderlust
  • Rouge
  • Mythos
  • Macramé
  • Muumuu
  • Kamikaze
  • Kanji
  • Iota
  • Affidavit
  • Zeitgeist
  • Origami
  • Raconteuse
  • Doppelgänger
  • Veranda
  • Muchacho
  • Schmooze
  • Kahuna
  • Übermensch
  • Ronin
  • Clique
  • Boudoir

The Hybrid Theory

While the term is also used to describe a large leather suitcase, a portmanteau is a word that is formed when you combine two different words together. This can result in some rather striking and stimulating language.

  • Zedonk
    The Hybrid Theory - Zendonk
  • Workaholic
  • Shopaholic
  • Docudrama
  • Bromance
  • Glamping
  • Manspreading
  • Jazzercise
  • Hangry
  • Funtacular
  • Sexting
  • Bennifer
  • Animatronic
  • Californication
  • Snowpocalypse
  • Jeggings
  • Edutainment
  • Netizen
  • Mathlete
  • McMansion
  • Gerrymandering
  • Sharknado
  • Threenager
  • Travelogue
  • Vlog
  • Synth-pop
  • Blaxploitation
  • Yorkipoo
  • Blogosphere
  • Guesstimate
  • Webisode
  • Nontroversy
  • Meritocracy
  • Chillax
  • Solopreneur
  • Sexcapade
  • Paratrooper
  • Podcast
  • Cronut
  • Staycation
  • Frenemies
  • Bollywood
  • Frankenfruit

The Five Senses

A subtle aroma can elicit strong memories of the past and few things are quite as satisfying as the perfect morsel of food. Humans experience the world through all five senses, and depicting those sensations through words is a noble endeavor for any writer, author or journalist.

  • Warmth
    The Five Senses
  • Blinded
  • Quiet
  • Chills
  • Stuffed
  • Breath
  • Floral
  • Spotted
  • Putrid
  • Starving
  • Crunch
  • Juicy
  • Growling
  • Silence
  • Hum
  • Belched
  • Bubbly
  • Stale
  • Tingling
  • Pressure
  • Shine
  • Bland
  • Murmur
  • Dusty
  • Smooth
  • Prickly
  • Lush
  • Azure
  • Dizzying
  • Beauty
  • Burnt
  • Clean
  • Music
  • Searing
  • Homeostasis
  • Wrinkle
  • Squirm
  • Smoky
  • Gray
  • Billowy
  • Sniff
  • Crimson
  • Blush
  • Curls
  • Squishy
  • Distant
  • Supple

Everyday Objects

The greatest inspiration can sometimes be derived from the banalest of circumstances. Consider how you can elevate the mundane to the sublime, starting with these everyday, one-word writing prompts.

  • Remote
    Everyday Objects - Sunglasses
  • Letter
  • Lawnmower
  • Daffodil
  • Sunglasses
  • Hanger
  • Chopsticks
  • Loafers
  • Crosswalk
  • Chalkboard
  • Key
  • Cane
  • Skateboard
  • Armchair
  • Rotary
  • Postcard
  • Wagon
  • Tricycle
  • Marker
  • Desk
  • Lunchbox
  • Locket
  • Label
  • Flannel
  • Abacus
  • Dresser
  • Stockings
  • Mirror
  • Padlock
  • Hairbrush
  • Handlebar
  • Flask
  • Yardstick
  • Emoji
  • Petal
  • Outlet
  • Microphone
  • Flashlight
  • Alarm
  • Notepad

Is This Just Fantasy?

Illuminating the complexities and nuances of common, everyday life can lead to some incredible revelations. On the other hand, exploring the fantastical and paranormal where all notions of accepted reality are completely thrown out the window can lead to truly remarkable narratives.

  • Muggle
    Telekinesis
  • Mutant
  • Telekinesis
  • Cursed
  • Dazzled
  • Wormhole
  • Hybrid
  • Metamorphosis
  • Pantheon
  • Dreamscape
  • Astral
  • Precognition
  • Prophecy
  • Warlock
  • Pegasus
  • Jackalope
  • Ritual
  • Rivendell
  • Troll
  • Creature
  • Apparition
  • Neptune
  • Anubis
  • Tempest
  • Shape-shifter
  • Worship
  • Photograph
  • Float
  • Conjuring
  • Superhero
  • Undead
  • Wonderland
  • Dragon
  • Shadow
  • Epic
  • Zealot
  • Mirrorverse
  • Lilliputian
  • Luck
  • Sacrifice
  • Supersonic

One Word After Another

When drawing a blank on ideas, the right writing prompts can help kids, students and adults alike get those creative juices flowing. Sometimes, all it takes is a single word to inspire the beginning of an incredible story or thoughtful essay.

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300+ One-Word Writing Prompts