Warm up to Write: 4 Strategies + 20 Prompts

When I begin working on a new project, I am filled with excitement. Ideas come easily. Words flow. I get in the writing groove, working on my project almost daily.

And then . . . a vacation happens . . . school starts or ends . . . friends call  . . . something (anything) happens and that great momentum I had going . . . vanishes. I skip a day or two of writing. Then a week. Then two weeks.

I forget where I am in my story and even who the characters are.

I want to get going again, but with each day that I skip, getting back to my story gets even harder.

Have you ever had this problem?

It’s tough to build up that momentum again, to fall back in love with your story, but you can. The key is to do a little warm-up (or maybe a lot of warming up). In either case, warming up your writing muscles works.

It works to get you back into a story you’ve neglected, but it also works every time you sit down to write by helping you get ready to get those words flowing.

Benefits of Warming up to Write

1) You can turn off that inner critic and let your imagination loose. This isn’t writing that anyone will see unless you want to share it, so go for it. Play with your words. Don’t expect your best writing to happen here and have fun.

2) It gets your imagination going.

3) It’s great practice. You can play with different points of view, descriptive techniques, voice, genres, and really anything you can think of when it comes to writing. Warming up gives you a place to play and explore.

How do you Warmup for Writing?

1) Schedule warmup time into your writing time. Plan on ten or fifteen minutes at the beginning of every writing session to get your writing muscles ready to go. This might be every day, or maybe a few times a week, but be sure to give yourself some writing warmup playtime.

2) Once you’ve scheduled your writing time, write. Do the warmup. Open up a notebook or turn on your computer and get the “black on the white.”

To warmup, I do one of two things: journal or use a prompt.

3) Journaling – this is exactly how it sounds. I open up my journal and “chat” in writing. I talk about my day, frustrations I’ve had, weird things that have happened, really anything that pops into my head. This somehow “clears space” in my head for my creative work.

4) Writing prompts and exercises – When I don’t feel like journaling, I use writing prompts. I have books with writing prompts in them, and I’ve included a list of writing prompts and exercises below.  In response to a prompt, try to write for at least five-ten minutes without stopping. Sometimes it’s tough, but I’m always ready to hit my story when I’m done. Warming up does really work to “grease” the writing muscles.

Twenty Writing Warmup Ideas

Journaling prompts:

1) Write about feeling caged.

2) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? Why?

3) Describe, in great detail, the most mundane part of your day. Use as many senses as you can.

4) Write about the monsters in your closet.

5) Write about your greatest humiliation.

First line prompts:

1) “I am….”

2) “Everyday the hummingbird comes back to my window, watching me….”

3) “They always call me __________…”

4) “I’ve killed four people, and it was the last one that made me….”

5) “When the moon is full….”

Descriptive prompts:

1) Describe the taste of chocolate. Don’t use the words sweet, creamy, or delicious.

2) Describe the smell of winter.

3) Describe holding a baby’s hand.

4) Describe the most peaceful place you’ve ever been (or could imagine being).

5) Show “ugly.”

Fiction prompts – for these, focus on the main character of your current story. Describe your character:

1) learning to dance

2) brushing their teeth.

3) getting woken up in the middle of the night.

4) driving their car – what kind of car? how do they drive?

5) seeing their love interest for the first time.


The next time you sit down to write, give yourself five or ten minutes to warm up. See if it helps you to get more writing done in your writing session.

Do you find warming up helpful? How do you warmup? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy writing,


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