A picture is worth a thousand words, or so the saying goes. When it comes to writing, sometimes it’s hard to get started. You may have a lot of ideas in your head, but when it comes time to put them down on paper (or screen), they all seem to disappear. That’s where visual prompts can help! In this blog post, we will discuss 10 different visual prompts that can help you get started with your writing.
125 Visual Writing Prompts
Here are 125 visual writing prompts to stimulate your creativity. You can use them to develop ideas for your writing, or you can just look at them!
You can use the prompts to brainstorm ideas for your novels, poems, or nonfiction, or you can just look at them!
NB, if you don’t have a relevant picture to hand, it’s the work of a moment to enter the prompt that works well for you into Google Images search and discover one perfect for your needs.
- A photograph of a person you love
- A photograph of a place you love
- A photograph of someone who loves you
- A black and white picture of someone you don’t recognize
- Someone important in your life right now
- A baby with an ice cream cone in his hand
- An old man with a long white beard sitting on his porch in his rocking chair, watching the sunset over the water
- An old man sitting on his porch smoking a pipe
- A woman reading a book in the park
- A man holding a woman’s hand as they walk down the street together and having a dialogue
- A person in a costume
- A black and white photo of a woman’s hand
- A photo of two people playing chess at a table outside in the park on a sunny day
- A photo of a group of friends sitting at a table drinking coffee together, laughing and smiling at each other
- Someone riding a bicycle along a forest path
- A sad person
- A happy person
- An angry person
- A confused person
- A person who’s scared/anxious
- A person who’s in love
- A photo of a place that’s meaningful to you and your family/friends
- A photo from your past that shows where you came from
- A beach full of shells, but none of them are the same size or shape
- A room full of boxes
- A dark room full of stars
- A scene of an abandoned house that’s falling apart from neglect
- A room in your house
- A park
- A field full of sheep
- A lake in Switzerland
- A city of millions
- An African desert
- An empty swimming pool filled with leaves and trash from your garden (e.g. branches or garbage)
- A place that’s special to you but not your hometown
- A picture of your dream house or apartment
- A photo of a moment when everything was perfect (or at least perfect for you)
- A photo from your childhood that still has meaning for you today
- A photo from the present that shows where you’re going next
- A photo from the future that inspires your dreams (scene, activity, emotions, etc.)
- The moment you saw your crush on someone else, and it felt like your heart was ripped out of your chest and trampled underfoot
- The last rainbow you saw
- A full moon
- A beautiful sunset
- The first snowfall of winter
- A rainbow over a lake
- A stormy night sky with thunder and lightning
- A full moon in the middle of the day
- The moon and stars reflected in the water at night, seen through a window with a curtain gently blowing in the wind.
- The sky turning pink in the early evening
- The last text message you sent
- A picture represents what you want to accomplish in life: education, career goals, and so on (maybe it’s a high school diploma or a business suit).
- A photo of something that made you who you’re today
- An empty birdcage
- A pair of scissors with a small piece of paper wedged between them
- A book with the pages torn out in various places
- An old photo album
- A dirty muffin paper from two days ago that’s still sitting on your desk because you haven’t gotten around to throwing it away yet (or maybe it’s been there longer – we don’t judge).
- A shipwreck on the shore of a deserted island
- A snow globe with two people inside
- A book with torn-out pages
- A bouquet in a vase made entirely of wood
- A clock that doesn’t work
- A glass of water without ice cubes
- A hot air balloon made only of wood and paper
- A house made entirely of ice cream cones and ice cream cups
- A pair of shoes made of sandpaper and leather (if you’re into that sort of thing)
- An apple that’s been sliced, but the slices are still connected by the stem and still look like an apple when they’re side by side (Because they ARE apples!)
- A well-made bed without sheets
- A slice of bread and a glass of milk
- A flower in the middle of a field
- A tree branch in front of the sky
- An old typewriter
- A camera lying on the floor
- An empty chair by the window
- A house made of candy bars
- An empty box on a table
- A red umbrella
- A pair of skates
- A window with a view of the ocean
- A pair of headphones
- A bathtub full of soap bubbles
- An old record player (that works)
- A modern library book that you’re dying to read
- A picture frame with a photo from your childhood
- A bottle of nail polish you’ve been meaning to try out
- Your favorite pair of comfy socks
- A photo of a smoothie you’re sipping.
- A photo of your favorite book
- A stack of books
- A photo of the last meal you enjoyed or an upcoming meal (or snack!) that looks delicious!
- A computer
- A cell phone
- A pile of leaves
- A flower garden in full bloom
- A dirty window
- A birthday cake with burning candles
- An empty water bottle on the ground
- An airplane flying overhead
- Your favorite piece of clothing at this moment
- An empty plate on a table in a restaurant waiting for someone to come back and eat their food off it.
- An empty chair in front of an open window with rain falling from it
- A photo of an old car that reminds you of your childhood.
- A very tall building
- A cactus in the desert
- A bird in a cage that’s too small for it
- A bird in flight looking at you with closed eyes
- An eagle
- A picture of your favorite animal or your favorite animal that’s not a pet.
- A picture of your favorite place in the world or a new place you want to visit soon.
- A cat in a hat wearing a cake as a hat (or vice versa).
- A small dog sitting on a couch
- A panther
- A fly
- Colorful butterflies
- A snake in hibernation
- A bear
- A shark
- A lionfish
These visual writing prompt suggestions are meant to stimulate your creativity, but they’re also good practice for writing. They’ll help you develop new techniques and get the most out of your writing.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect! If you get stuck on one of the photo prompts, just move on to another – there are 125 of them here! Or if you feel inspired by a particular visual writing prompt – for example, because it gave you a picture prompt for a book or story – just write it down.
The most important thing is that what happens here today will later be transformed into something beautiful: whether that’s words or pictures or music or dance…
How to Use Visual Writing Prompts
A Picture prompt is a great way to gather ideas for your writing. You can use picture writing prompts for a short story, novel, or poem. You can also use a visual writing prompt to write dialogue in your story.
Picture Writing Prompts for a Dialogue
- Write a story based on the picture writing prompts of your choice.
- Write a dialogue between the people in this photo.
- What’re they saying to each other?
- How are they feeling?
- What do you think is happening before and after this moment?
- Can you write the first paragraph of a story based on this picture?
Practice With a Random Picture Writing Prompt
When writing the first sentence, don’t worry about spelling or grammar; just write whatever comes to mind. When you’re done, move on to the second sentence, and so on.
Write as Much as You Can in Three Minutes
This exercise gets you thinking creatively and quickly – it’s not a test!
Make sure you write in a notebook or on your laptop so you don’t feel pressured about what it’ll look like when you’re done (and, if possible, try not to look back at what you’ve written when the time is up).
You’ll be amazed at how much can come out of this exercise when you put it into practice!