Creative writing prompts are excellent tools for writers who are feeling uninspired or who simply want to tackle a new writing challenge. Today’s creative writing prompts focus on nature.
For centuries, writers have been composing poems that celebrate nature, stories that explore it, and essays that analyze it.
Nature is a huge source of inspiration for all creative people. You can find it heavily featured in film, television, art, and music.
Creative Writing Prompts
You can use these creative writing prompts in any way you choose. Sketch a scene, write a poem, draft a story, or compose an essay. The purpose of these prompts is to inspire you, so take the images they bring to your mind and run with them. And have fun!
A young girl and her mother walk to the edge of a field, kneel down in the grass, and plant a tree.
The protagonist wakes up in a seemingly endless field of wildflowers in full bloom with no idea how he or she got there.
Write a piece using the following image: a smashed flower on the sidewalk.
A family of five from a large, urban city decides to spend their one-week vacation camping.
An elderly couple traveling through the desert spend an evening stargazing and sharing memories of their lives.
A woman is working in her garden when she discovers an unusual egg.
Write a piece using the following image: a clearing deep in the woods where sunlight filters through the overhead lattice of tree leaves.
Some people are hiking in the woods when they are suddenly surrounded by hundreds of butterflies.
A person who lives in a metropolitan apartment connects with nature through the birds that come to the window.
Write a piece using the following image: an owl soaring through the night sky.
A well-to-do family from the city that has lost all their wealth except an old, run-down farmhouse in the country. They are forced to move into it and learn to live humbly.
Two adolescents, a sister and brother, are visiting their relatives’ farm and witness a sow giving birth.
Again, you can use these creative writing prompts to write anything at — poems, stories, songs, essays, blog posts, or just sit down and start freewriting.
Somebody once asked Warren Buffett about his secret to success. Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said,
Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will…
When I first found this quote of Buffett’s two years ago, something was wrong.
It was Dec. 2014. I’d found my dream job. Some days, I would be there, sitting at my dream job, and I would think, “My god what if I’m still here in 40 years? I don’t want to die like this…”
Something wasn’t right. I’d followed the prescription. Good grades. Leadership. Recommendations. College. Dream Job. I was a winner. I’d finished the race. Here I was in the land of dreams. But something was terribly, terribly wrong.
Every day, from my dream job desk, I looked out into their eyes. Empty, empty eyes.
There were no answers.
In January of 2015, I found Buffett’s quote. I decided to read. I was going to read and read and read and never stop until I got some damn answers.
I didn’t quite make 500 pages a day, but, in these last two years, I’ve read over 400 books cover to cover. That decision to start reading was one of the most important decisions in my life.
Books gave me the courage to travel. Books gave me the conviction to quit my job. Books gave me role models and heroes and meaning in a world where I had none.
I want to say reading 200 books a year is an amazing thing. But the truth is, it’s not. Anybody can do it.
All it takes is some simple math and the right tools.
1. Do not quit before you start
When average Joe hears the advice “Read 500 pages like this every day,” his snap reaction is to say, “No way! That’s impossible!”
Joe will then go on to make up reasons to justify his belief without doing any deep thinking at all. These might include “I’m too busy,” “I’m not smart enough,” or “Books just aren’t for me.”
But what if we go a little deeper? For example, what does it actually take to read 200 books a year? Two years ago, I stopped to do the simple math. Here’s what I found: Reading 200 books a year isn’t hard at all.
It’s just like Buffett says. Anyone can do it, but most people won’t.
2. Do the simple math
How much time does it take to read 200 books a year?
First, let’s look at two quick statistics:
The average American reads 200–400 words per minute (Since you’re on Medium, I’m going to assume you read 400 wpm like me)
Typical non-fiction books have ~50,000 words
Now, all we need are some quick calculations…
200 books * 50,000 words/book = 10 million words
10 million words/400 wpm = 25,000 minutes
25,000 minutes/60 = 417 hours
That’s all there is to it. To read 200 books, simply spend 417 hours a year reading.
I know, I know. If your brain is like mine, it probably saw “417 hours” and immediately tried to shut off. Most people only work 40 hours a week! How can we possibly read for 417 hours?
Don’t let your monkey brain turn you away yet. Let’s do a quick reframe for what 417 hours really means…
3. Find the time
Wowsers, 417 hours. That sure feels like a lot. But what does 417 hours really mean? Let’s try to get some more perspective.
Here’s how much time a single American spends on social media and TV in a year:
608 hours on social media
1642 hours on TV
Wow. That’s 2250 hours a year spent on TRASH. If those hours were spent reading instead, you could be reading over 1,000 books a year!
Here’s the simple truth behind reading a lot of books: It’s not that hard. We have all the time we need. The scary part—the part we all ignore—is that we are too addicted, too weak, and too distracted to do what we all know is important…
All it takes to start reading a lot more is to take “empty time” spent Twitter-stalking celebrities or watching Desperate Housewives and convert some of it to reading time.
The theory is simple. It’s the execution that’s hard.
We all know reading is important. We all know we should do more of it. But we don’t. The main reason this happens is a failure to execute.
I’m not so perfect at it yet, but here are some tactics that have helped me get results.
I. Use environmental design
If you were quitting cocaine, would you keep it lying around the house? Of course not. Media is designed to be addictive. Moving away from media addiction can be as difficult as quitting drugs.
The biggest bang-for-buck changes here are environmental.
If you want to read, make sure (1) you remove all distractions from your environment and (2) you make books as easy to access as possible.
As an example, here’s my immediate environment:
I travel a lot. That doesn’t stop me from reading. The picture on the left is of my “bookshelf” in Thailand. I try to keep books everywhere so I can just pick one up and start reading.
The picture on the right is my smartphone desktop. Notice there are only two apps. One of them—the Kindle app—is for reading. The other is for habits… Which brings me to my next point.
II. Upload habits
Willpower is not a good tool for lifestyle change. It always fails you when you need it most. Instead of relying on strength of mind, build a fortress of habits—these are what will keep you resilient in tough times.
If you’re not familiar with habit science, my favorite book on the subject is Tynan’s Superhuman by Habit. It’s infinitely practical, and practical is all I care about.
Getting good at habit formation took me years. Many of the mistakes I made were avoidable. If I could go back, I’d find a habit coach. Here’s how I see it. One game-changing idea from a good book is worth thousands of dollars. If a coach helps you read ONE more good book a year, you already get your money’s worth.
When it comes to reading, be a jack of all trades, not a specialist.
If your goal is to read more, you can’t be picky about where you read or what mediums you use. I read paper books. I read on my phone. I listen to audiobooks. And I do these things everywhere—on park benches, in buses, in the toilet… Wherever I can.
Make your reading opportunistic. If you have a chance, take it. If you don’t have a chance, find one.
I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.
— Orhan Pamuk
If I hadn’t started reading, perhaps I’d still be at my dream job. Perhaps I’d still be at my desk, taking peeks at the clock and wondering if that was how I was going to die…
If you’re looking for answers, give reading a try. You may find much, much more than what you were looking for.
People who read books have their own reading habits independent of the book format they like. Pages of paper books can be folded and highlighted, whereas notes can be jotted down on pages of an ebook (that don’t destroy the actual page) and highlighted as well. Someone may like to read in bath and another in bed. Riveted has identified ten types of book readers – but there are more.
Careful Page Turner. Books are so precious objects for this type of reader that even after reading a book, it looks like new.
Page folder. Books are full of memories and important things to note and remember. Every earmarked page has something to say to this reader.
Highlighter. Earmarking pages is not enough for this type of reader who wants to underline and highlight terms and lines.
Ebook user. Computers, tablets, ereaders and smartphones have users (unlike books that have readers), who read electronic books from the screen.
Paperback reader. In countries where ebooks have taken a large market share, sales of paperbacks has fallen, but there are still plenty paperback readers. Paperbacks are the classic choice of travelers, largely replaced today by ereader devices.
Hardcover lover. Book, music and movie industries have something in common: they can sell the same product many times to same customers, only in different package. Hardcover books have retained their market share despite ebooks (or paperbacks) that often are priced lower than hardcover products.
Library Hermit. With an endless supply of free books (and nowadays also the internet), it is easy to understand why some people like to spend hours in libraries.
Story Hoarder. A reader starts reading a story, but something makes him or her jump to the next book without finishing the first one. Some readers have he ability to jump from one story to the next without difficulties. I can do it with nonfiction books, but not with fiction.
Parallel computing. It is possible to read a book and listen to radio or (kind of) watch television at the same time, but playing a video game or cooking is difficult while reading a book. If you like to multitask, here is a tip for you: audiobooks. Another option is to download an app to your phone or tablet and let it read aloud an ebook for you.
Bedtime page turner. For some readers, it may be impossible to sleep before reading a little while, at least.
I can think of many additional types of readers, such as people who take a book along to a beach or park, and people who listen to audiobooks when they drive or commute. The emergence of ebooks has made books as a medium a flexible part of our lives, allowing us to enjoy them in many ways and in many places.
Most of us writers first fell in love with the written word when we were children. Stories carried us on fantastical adventures. Words danced and soared through our imaginations. Many of us never grew out of the poems and stories we first cherished. We continue to enjoy them, and we pass them on to our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Today’s writing prompts celebrate children’s literature and pay tribute to the young and the young at heart.
These writing prompts are filled with childlike wonder. Use them to write a poem, a story, or anything else that comes to mind.
Children’s stories sometimes try to help kids solve difficult problems. Write a story about children overcoming nightmares, getting potty trained, wetting the bed, losing a pet or grandparent, or attending the first day of school.
At the height of human technological development, a special child is born who can communicate telepathically with computers and other mechanical and electronic devices.
Write a poem using the following image: a child sitting alone on a bench in a schoolyard.
After learning his or her parents are struggling to make ends meet, a child prodigy decides to fix the family’s finances.
Write a story about a child and his or her imaginary friend.
A child living on a farm or ranch can hear the thoughts of animals—both the livestock and the local wildlife.
Write a poem using the following image: a child giving another child a piggyback ride.
While digging in the garden, a child finds a magic ring that makes any wish come true.
It’s important for children to learn the alphabet. Write an ABC book. You can write a separate vignette for each letter, write a story linking them all together, or write a nonsense rhyme for each one.
Some Tips for Using These Writing Prompts:
Children’s writing uses simple language and made-up words.
Nothing speaks to children like bright, vivid images and lively characters.
Use rhyme and other musical devices and choose words that are fun to say.
Do you still read children’s poems and stories? Do you remember the ones you loved best as a child? Have you ever tried writing for kids? Do these creative writing prompts inspire you? Share your thoughts in the comments, and keep writing!
Don’t believe all that hype about government interference that is designed to foster an Amazon monopoly of the ebook business. What the six major publishers were alleged to have done was collude in fixing prices that, if true, was a desperate act that they must have known would fall afoul of anti-trust laws.
The new ploy by book publishers is to characterize Amazon as a monopoly poised to take over and dictate terms and run rampant over those who create ebook content. That is like saying Starbucks is a monopoly because it currently dominates the coffee retail business.
As an author who introduced the SONY reader, the very first reading device at the 2007 Las Vegas Consumer Electronics show to what was then an indifferent audience, I felt certain that one day e-readers would dominate the marketplace. I thought SONY was really on to something and would one day be the imaginative leader of the ebook industry.
Soon after the SONY launch, Amazon introduced the Kindle and followed through with verve and imagination to become, as we speak, the dominant force in ebook content and sales. I was an evangelist for these devices largely because of the ease of purchase, clarity and wide variety of available content and, above all, convenience, especially for those of us to whom reading is an important part of our lives.
Barnes and Noble, a super successful big-box book chain, apparently saw the advantages of getting into the ebook business early on, created an infrastructure and then, in an act of counter-productive bean cutting, abandoned its ebook business entirely. I remember meeting Steve Riggio, Barnes and Noble’s chief honcho, at the home of the late Bill Riley, one of his board members, and politely chastising him for getting out of that business.
Sure, it was light cocktail chatter, but I could tell that he was contemplating getting back into ebooks. It must have soon become apparent that in order to survive, Riggio had to get into that business, and Barnes and Noble did indeed with its excellent reader, the Nook. Unfortunately, they were late and are now playing catch-up. But to dismiss the Nook as a competitor to the Kindle is to sell Barnes and Noble short. Early on, they revolutionized the book business with their big-box stores and merchandising techniques and will undoubtedly ratchet up the ebook competition.
Then there is Kobo, a Canadian company trying to earn its bones in the business. They have to be counted as a future factor in the competition. There are others, as well, trying to crack into the coming e-reader bonanza.
The introduction of Apple’s iPad gave the publishers, as they might have seen it, leverage to fix their ebook prices. You couldn’t blame them since the challenges posed by ebooks are a very real threat to the profitable print publishing business. I have a feeling they believed that Apple would, like everything they touched, eventually dominate the e-book business as well, hence their alleged collusion.
Although I am an Apple guy and a great admirer and loyal user of their products, I did not think that the iPad would dominate the book business. It doesn’t and, in my opinion, will not. My opinion is based on the fact that the tablet concept is too distractive for the customer, to whom reading is a centerpiece of their leisure activities.
Marketers use a cute term called “immersive reading.” It is redundant. All book reading is immersive and requires from its devotees time and, above all, mental concentration.
Somewhere I read that the great Steve Jobs thought that reading, meaning the content that is defined as “books,” would decline against the onslaught of other cyber activities, which he seemed to deem more important. Indeed, he must have fashioned his foray into the book business with that in mind. With a million distractions now available on the iPad, the so-called “immersive reader” is relegated to be merely one of the pack, with “book” content hardly in the same exclusive domain of a solo device.
I am well aware that Amazon is having great success with its “Fire” tablet. My sense is that it will have exceptional value to Apps Aficionados but might not to book content readers. In my view, those who are repetitive “immersive” readers of all ages will stick with the solo reading device.
What could be a worry for Amazon, Nook, and Kobo would be if Apple decides to come out with its own solo reading device.
I have not dealt with the plight of the author, the creator of the content without which the traditional publishing business would have to close its doors. What could happen is that authors might find it more advantageous to create their own self-publishing business models, which has been my choice, join together to create cooperative ventures, or throw their oar in with numerous enterprises serving authors who have the means to self-publish with all the bells and whistles of traditional publishers.
As it stands now, the publishers are busy scratching their heads and trying to come up with measures to assure their future viability. Someone, perhaps far outside the publishing box or an enterprising author might come up with a business plan that will make economic sense. We shall see.
Fear not. Readers must read. Writers must write. It has always been thus. And creative minds will prevail to eventually figure out ways to bring the two together in ways profitable to each.
Warren Adleris the author of 32 novels and short story collections. His books are published in 25 languages worldwide and several have been adapted to movies, including “The War of the Roses” and “Random Hearts.”
Download a free copy of Warren Adler’s The Children of the Roses.
First Edition Design Publishing, the industry’s largest distributor of eBooks, submits eBook titles to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, SONY, Kobo and to over 100,000 distribution points and booksellers in more than 100 countries. They format eBooks for every type of ereader device on the market.
Sony’s Reader Store UK ebook website has been launched offering a range of books in the epub format.
The company said that ebooks on the Sony Reader Store site range from new authors to best sellers and classics and can be read on a wide range of devices, including Mac, PC and Android tablets as well as the Sony Reader.
People can download an app at the Reader Store or from Android’s Google Play or access the site directly using Sony’s Reader with Wifi. As well as books, some of which are free, customers can download newspapers.