Writing Prompts
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The Story of My Life – Writing Prompts – Memoir- 10 Things that Sparked Childhood Creativity

Writing Prompts



Last week I had to go downtown for a doctor’s appointment. After my appointment, instead of heading back home on the subway, I decided to walk a few blocks to our huge shopping center downtown, the Eaton Center. I thought I’d grab myself a latte and have a wander into one of our biggest bookstores – Chapters/Indigo, and  have a look around some of the bookshelves. I rarely get out to the bookstores now that it’s become so easy to order what I want directly online, but there’s nothing like being inside the actual bookstore.

Once upon a time a book store was just for books, but now there are home sections filled with pillows, mugs, frames and whatnot. But my favorite part is the stationery section where I happened to get lost in for almost two hours! Did I mention I’m addicted to shopping for journals, notebooks and all their ilk? Well, I found a few notebooks and various other books and items I wanted and realized I’d have to lug all those things home. So I purchased the notebooks and one journal that offered writing prompts, and made a list of the other things I wanted, wrote them down and when I got home I ordered them online to be delivered.


I had initially picked up a big, thick book called 500 Writing Prompts. I thought it was a great book to create posts with when my writers block sets in. And then I found another similar notebook titled, The Story of My Life, which is another book offering writing prompts, except they all have to do with answering from our personal experience. I had to get that one. I brought that little gem home and ordered the bigger book along with all the other writing goodies I wanted online. The damage I did in the store was heavy enough to carry on my walk to the subway.


So today I’ve chosen to share one of the prompts I randomly chose to fill out in The Story of My Life journal and share it here with you. The beauty of these prompts is that one question can spark a flood of memories. These prompt journals are inspiring and are helpful with aiding us to write about the first thing that comes to our mind without over-thinking.


Below is the question asked:


Top 10 Time! – List the things you did as a child to express your creativity. What drew you to each one?


  1. I created an imaginary world where I could slip into when I felt sad or scared.

  2. I wrote poems since the time I learned how to write. I wish I’d kept some of them. Writing became my secret outlet where I could express my pent-up emotions. I shared them with nobody.

  3. I loved to make up sentimental cards and write love notes to give to loved ones.

  4. I listened to music and sang along to all the lyrics as I took myself into the lyrics. My first idol was Barbra Streisand, and she remains my most favorite icon today.

  5. I loved to bake in my Easy Bake Oven. Sadly, I still suck at baking today.

  6. I loved to play ‘house’ with my friends. We’d put on costumes (usually taken from our mother’s closet), and I was always the mother. It was fun playing house because it was peaceful with no drama, acting out the way I envisioned parents should be with their children.

  7. I was addicted to the TV show Bewitched. I’d watch Samantha intently, hoping to learn how to crinkle my nose to make  myself  be able to disappear and make magic happen.

  8. I used to invent games to play with my siblings, particularly on weekends where we were forced to spend at our grandparents’ house. I was always bored and restless.

  9. I was obsessed with a fascination of high-heeeled shoes. I’d try on my mother’s shoes and clomp around in them pretending I was a beautiful model. This obsession began at age 3.

  10. I would make believe things were better than they were or not as they seemed. I’d cry when my mother went away on her leisure trips, but I never let anyone know how sad I was. I would pretend she was just gone for the day then for the night as each day passed until she’d come home.


Do any of you enjoy using writing prompts?



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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.


  • Stevie Turner

    Wow! I also created an imaginary world, wrote poems, was addicted to Bewitched, and loved clomping about in my auntie’s high heeled stilettos when we visited! I loved the Eaton Center when we visited Toronto back in 2013. I bought a sweatshirt with ‘Roots’ on the front.

  • marianbeaman

    Several of these catch my fancy, but #9 prompted me to remember a photo I found this year in Aunt Ruthie’s stash: a picture of me in dark curls, holding a doll, and wearing fancy shoes at age 5: the story of my life in a nutshell. Great post, Debby!

  • D. Wallace Peach

    Bookstores are dangerous places. I go there with cash only, no plastic. That book sound perfect for you, and what a fun prompt for eliciting memories to write about. I do like prompts, but usually the visual sort. And I can’t use those beautiful journals because they’re too pretty to write in. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Lol Diana, do I hear you about bookstores. Funny how we get inspired differently with prompts- you with visuals, and me with words. 🙂

  • Tina Frisco

    This is wonderful, Deb! I’ve never used writing prompts. I get a knot in the pit of my stomach whenever I see one. I think it’s reminiscent of Sister Mary Agnes and her stern demands 🙂 I write when spirit moves me, although I can see the benefit of using prompts when the mind is blank. You showed great restraint in not buying out Chapters, girlfriend 🙂 ?

    • dgkaye

      LOl T. I know, I was like a kid in a candy store. Glad to say I never had one of those Sister May Agnes characters in my life. 🙂 <3

  • John Maberry

    Never was much into my mother’s high heels, but I did like Bewitched (she was kind of cute for a witch). But writing prompts are great. We use them every week in the Gila Writers Group. Trains you to write fast (four ten minute writes after reading a page of prompts). But you can find your own. Just read the news, quotes, etc. Listen to conversations people freely share (TMI sometimes) in cafes, etc. I’ve made prompts into short blog pieces that may wind up as short stories–like the Fountain!

  • Christy B

    I’m envious of your time in the bookstore – I have to limit those outings or I’ll never get any work done as time seems to fly by there 😉 I like writing prompts, especially when I’m in the mood to write but don’t have a topic.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Christy. Believe me, I don’t get into a bookstore very often, good thing! Lol. 🙂 I love prompts, they get the juices and the memories flowing. 🙂 <3

  • balroop2013

    I love beautiful journals…they inspire my thoughts even without a prompt! I had a few when I used my golden cross pen to complement them. Digital world, smartphones and iPads have robbed me of all that joy. I also love writing prompts, some are really thought-provoking.
    Lovely post Deb! 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks B. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than writing my thoughts in long-hand then entering them into a computer. Old habits die hard. 🙂 x

  • olganm

    Thanks, Debby. I’ve always wanted to crinkle my nose too (or move my ears, something my father could do). Prompts are a personal thing and I find, for me, something a person might say in passing, or something I read or see might work as well, but they can be useful at times. I agree with your feelings about stationery, although these days I try and restrain myself. 😉

    • dgkaye

      Hi Olga. It’s funny how impressionable we are as children. And I agree, prompts can come from anything we’ve heard that resonates with us. But for those of us who don’t get out enough, a writing prompt journal is a fun thing to have. And yes, the trick is to restrain ourselves in a book store. Good thing I don’t get there very often. 🙂 x

  • Mabel Kwong

    What a lovely time in the book store for you, Debbie. I could just imagine you wondering around ogling at everything. Stationary and notebooks can be so pretty, and also so hard to resist. There is something inspiring about a new journal or notebook, especially when they have motivational messages that come along with them. I have a notebook that has a quote on each page for every week. Something to think about.

    The first prompt caught my eye, and I think that’s because of the introvert in me. So often I like to disappear from reality and create a world in my mind – where there are no crowds, no loud noises, a place where I wander til my heart’s content and I can think what I want to think 🙂 That said, this post of yours is already a prompt for me to write something here 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Hi Mabel. Us writers are easy marks for pretty journals. I also think many writers are introverts, and my imagination began at a young age to escape family discord.
      I’m glad to hear this prompt also inspired you. Thanks for sharing here. 🙂 x

      • Mabel Kwong

        There’s something special about pretty journals. A new beginning, a new outlook with a positive view. I’m definitely an introvert, and writing is my best way of expression 🙂

  • Adele Marie

    I too have a stationary obsession, can’t get enough notebooks, pens and beautiful notes. Your prompt made some memories surface for me too. I loved to paint but would get frustrated when I couldn’t get the exact picture. I had a spirograph too and loved making pictures with that. Imaginary friends and also two friends from the farms up the road we used to try and make rafts to sail on the river. xxx

  • Chuck

    I’ve never heard of writing prompt notebooks. I’ve always had a journal, but I’m not faithful in writing in it. They remind me of some the writing courses I took. The instructor would give us a prompt and off we would go. Then the prompts started to get harder when we had to use point of view, etc. Great brain workout and exercise for writing.

  • Jeri Walker (@JeriWB)

    I love writing prompts and have collected quite a stockpile of them from my teaching and workshop days. My posts on 52 memoir prompts has close to 25,000 views now. It’s the rockstar of my blog, and I should post more prompts to see if they will get good traffic as well.

  • L. T. Garvin, Author

    Great post, Debby. I have a stack of beautiful journals that I never write in, ha ha…I have no idea why. I usually write in plain, old school notebooks. Maybe I think I’m saving those journals for something special. I invented imaginery worlds also, both my sisters were quite a bit older, and I spent a lot of time by myself growing up, so I guess imagination was mandatory. Bewitched, you say, I loved that show! I never got the nose thing down, though 😀

    • dgkaye

      HI Lana. It seems many love to collect journals then find them too pretty to write in, lol. But these writing prompts journals are made just for that.
      I write my books and blogs and longhand before they’re transferred to the computer. Needless to say, I have tons of those spiral notebooks for that. I take the pretty journal notebooks on vacation. As for Bewitched, I’m beginning to think many of us were captivated by her. 🙂 xx

  • Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    Sounds like we were much alike at that age, Debby. I loved bewitched too! Sad, that you had a careless mother who only thought about herself and wasn’t there for you. My mum has always been a diamond, even though she had a very tough childhood herself. She never let that make her resentful or unkind, quite the opposite.

  • Hugh's Views and News

    I couldn’t live or write without writing prompts, Debby. ‘Glimpses’ would never have been published and the stories in it that did not require a writing prompt would still be in a file on my computer. They are still there now, but at least they get to go out every now and again when somebody reads the book.
    Lovely memories, although 2 hours lost in the stationery department sounds almost like a trip to Narnia. I worked in the stationery department in Selfridges for a few years and it was certainly a great department to work in.
    Weekend hugs to you.

  • robbiesinspiration

    A great post, Debby. I have never thought of, or hear of for that matter, writing prompts until I found Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo blog. From her I learned about these things and met lots of other bloggers who use writing prompts. I really enjoy them now.

  • Soul Gifts

    Childhood memories 🙂 When we lived in Finland we had huge windows. Birds often flew into them and died from the impact. Us kids would hold funerals for them – the whole shebang. My brother was the priest, my sister and I chief mourners. Our yard was littered with little graves complete with crosses made from sticks. The other abiding memory is having an ant eating competition with one our neighbours kids. We poked a stick into the nest and licked them off. I won. I can still taste them when i think about it 🙂 definite lemony tang…

      • Soul Gifts

        Seriously – probably hundreds. I used to follow in Mum’s footsteps too after she’d done the rounds of spraying flies. I found the dead ones on the window sills and ate them! It took her a while to work out what happened to all the dead bodies. Ugh 🙁

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Natalie. I’m so glad to have piqued your interest. I love writing prompts. You never know where those short sparks of ideas can lead. <3

      • Natalie Ducey

        Debby, I’ve just recently started using prompts. Fascinating how the creativity unfolds. I have a habit of editing as I write, but I’m slowly breaking that nasty little tendency! ❤️

        • dgkaye

          Fabulous Natalie, lovely to hear you’re using the prompts.Yes, so important not to go back and edit until you’re done,tempting as it is. That’s another reasons I’m glad I write in longhand, I just keep the pen gliding along and look back when I’m done. That’s how I write my books too. 🙂 <3

  • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    I think my own “writing prompts” come from some of the comments on each of my posts. I don’t really think of them as “prompts” but, after reading this post, I realize that they do serve that function. Interesting to learn you like to use prompts – but I can’t believe you ever experience writer’s block.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD/EFD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • dgkaye

      It’s surprising what can become a prompt for us M. Comments are stimulating because they’re conversation, I think people like you and I thrive on conversation. 🙂 Yes, I am sometimes plagued by the dreaded writer’s block, but I’m armed now, lol. 🙂 <3

      • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

        I’m shocked – lol. And here I was thinking you leapt ALL tall buildings in a single bound. 🙂

        Good to know you’re human — *and* that you understand how to jump start your engine when it stalls. (But maybe you could interpret a short spate of writer’s block as a cue to take some YOU time!)

        • dgkaye

          Lol, you do make me laugh. Yup, it does happen to the best of us sometimes, but those prompts are like inserting a fresh battery! Time out you say? Hmmm, what would that be like? I’ve threatened to do so many a vacation, but am seriously contemplating for next winter. (Oy, so far away, lol.) You make me smile my friend. <3 xoxo

  • Mary Smith

    Great post, Debby. I’m always looking for prompts to use on a creative writing course I teach and this is very helpful. I also spent ages trying to twitch my nose like Samanatha convinced if I could only master that I’d be able to do magic.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Mary. Glad this post gave you a good idea for the writing course. And, I’m astounded by how many here also loved Samantha and her twitch. 🙂 x

  • Shallow Reflections

    I love this Debby. It really made me think about the creative things I did as a child. I’ve used writing prompts a few times and found them very helpful, but had not thought of using them as a means to accessing memories. You’ve brought up quite a few reading yours. I loved Bewitched too! And I made my own doll house out of a cardboard box, complete with furnishings. There is no end to what we can write about if we are stuck with prompts like these.

    • dgkaye

      Hi Molly. So glad you enjoy the prompts, I love them. This prompt journal is fun for memoir writers, and the other is great for general writing prompts. It really comes in handy to stimulate the imagination. Yes, possibilities are endless. 🙂

  • shehannemoore

    On the catch up here today. This is an amazing post Debby. I so wish we had known each other growing up. I loved Bewitched. We all wanted to b be Samantha and wiggle our noses. Such a clever prog. BUT shoes? My lord my nan had wonderful shoes. I used to love walking up and down her hallway in them, imagining I was a model…. Anyway wonderful post. xxxxxxxxxx

  • elainemansfield

    Wonderful. We have one remaining bookstore in Ithaca, NY, an owner financed coop since you know what’s happened to all independent bookstores. We have a Barnes and Noble and a few used bookstores, too, but I love the independent Buffalo St. Books. (I remember the Eaton Center from trips to Toronto.)
    I’ve attended a writing class for 8+ years. The woman teacher offers writing prompts (sparks) for in class writing and also for short pieces we can bring from home (perfect place to write first drafts for blogs). I began the class to write my grief. It took a few years to realize I was also writing a book. I’m always working on new material there, including pieces I’m submitting to competitions and journals and what may be a new book. As always, I go with the spark that grabs me and run with it.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much for sharing Elaine. Writing prompts come in many forms whether instructional, from a book or purely from life’s observations. Often a prompt can take us well into writing a book if continue to go deep. 🙂 x

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