Guest Post: Books to Get the Words Flowing

This week’s guest post is from writer Cara Aley.  She has recommendations for books to read that should prove inspiring.

Top 5 Prompt Books to Get the Words Flowing

Even the best of writers feel bereft of ideas at times, and we all know how frustrating that can be. A dry spell, writer’s block—whatever you feel you might be experiencing (or want to get ahead of experiencing and be prepared for), never fear. These five prompt books will help jostle those great ideas out of hiding in that noggin of yours.

Free yourself of the agitation of writer’s block and get yourself a prompt book or two.


Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubauer

This book provides over 1,000 exercises to inspire your writing. The title indicates that each exercise only takes about ten minutes, but also that you can do the work ten different ways with unique outcomes.

Author Neubauer makes the great recommendation that you do an exercise like this once daily so that you don’t lose the momentum of idea generation and writing.

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: Easy Exercises to Get You Writing by Martha Alderson

This books is fabulously full of helpful prompts, whether you are just starting a project or in the middle of one. For those in the middle of a writing project, Alderson “helps…with…imaginative prompts, such as: Create an obstacle that interferes with the protagonist’s goal and describe how that scene unfolds moment-by-moment. Provide sensory details of the story world and what your main character is doing at this very moment. Scan earlier scenes for examples of the protagonist’s chief character flaw and develop it. He or she will need to overcome this flaw in order to achieve his or her ultimate goal.” These are the kinds of tips that will take your writing that is in process to the next level.

There are also plenty of exercises for those who are not in the middle of a project.

Don’t underestimate the value of other’s ideas in generating new ones for yourself!


The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron

Jack Heffron, a former editor from Writer’s Digest, put this together and it has been on the best-sellers list for years. With over 400 exercises and prompts for new writing topics, you’ll have plenty of inspiration at your fingertips!

The Pocket Muse I and II by Monica Wood

These books have such wonderful ideas to get your mind moving, a couple of examples being ‘Write about someone who misinterprets a compliment’ and ‘Write about a friendship you failed.’

Wood gives tips on how your writing space should look and feel, and that it should be a dedicated space outside of your immediate surroundings, and full of natural light.

The Write-Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubauer

This book is for all ages, and has 366 different exercises leveraging great imagery and ideas in order to get your writing juices flowing.

Here is an online example of one of the great exercises this book has to offer.

So whether you’re feeling uninspired and need a bit of a goose to get you back in the game, or you are simply looking for some fun or insightful inspiration to fuel your current project, check out one of these great prompt books. You should start to feel the blockage start to dissipate almost instantaneously!

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who writes about everything from matters of online reputation management for to digital marketing solutions for small businesses. She is currently VP of Operations for Two Degrees, a one-for-one food company, but has also spent many years in digital marketing on the agency side.

One comment

  1. mary brady says:

    I still like the book I once mentioned & that BLH said she used in high school. The title is “What If…” & it’s by, uhm, two women.

    Anyway, there are REALLY quick & catchy exercises in this book, such as: ‘write ten opening sentences for a short story.’
    Stuff like this can tip you into writing an entire story before you know it.

    Another book I liked was ‘Immediate Fiction’ by Jerry Newman(?)–the title is correct, for sure. He, too, is a big advocate of ‘conflict.’ Something must ALWAYS be hassling your protagonist somehow. If the story drags, go back & identify the conflict–it should be in each chapter. for sure, possibly every page if you want a ‘page-tuner.’

    No one wants to read about a person whose life is going well. Everyone wants to read about a person who is in Big Trouble & must find a way out–& SOON.

    I cannot tell if this guest blogger also writes fiction. The stuff
    she writes for a living sounds deadly–no fun at all! I do hope she writes fiction on the side…

    L&K, MaryB

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