Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompts

(August 2021)

  1. There can be many different kinds of turning points in a person’s life—major events or experiences that change our lives or the way we perceive ourselves, the world, or the people around us. Take some time to think about what experiences or events in your life so far have had the greatest impact on you or left the deepest impression upon your memory. Choose one of these events and write a nonfiction piece that depicts for readers what happened during this moment of your life and explores how it affected you. What happened? How did you feel? What did you think before and after? How did it change you or your life? What did you learn from what happened?

  2. Oftentimes, the objects we surround ourselves with are significant not because of what they are but because of the memories that we associate with them. Choose an object that you own—a piece of clothing, for example, something from your childhood that you still have, or a souvenir from some place that you visited. Write a nonfiction piece that conveys to readers why this object is memorable or important to you. What is it? Where or how did you get it? What emotions or memories does it evoke in you and why?

  3. As things in our lives become routine, it’s easy to stop noticing the little details. Driving to work every morning, walking to class—choose something in your life that you often have to do. For the next few times you do this, pay close attention to what’s going on around you. Take notes on what you see, hear, smell, etc. What kind of people do you see along the way? What changes from day to day and what stays the same? Write a nonfiction piece that strings together moments from each of these experiences.

  4. Words have power. The things we say can affect others just as much as the things we do, just as the words of those around us can change us. Praise from a teacher can raise our confidence. Criticism from a friend can make us rethink our choices. A simple “thank you” can let someone know that she or he is appreciated. Write about something that you said or that someone else said to you that had an impact on your life. What was said? When and where were you? Why were these words important? How did things change because of them?

Example Creative Nonfiction