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Writing Prompts for Programmers

The most effective way I know to improve your writing is to do freewriting exercises regularly. — Peter Elbow


  • What is a tool that you have been using lately?
  • What tool would you miss the most if it were to disappear?
  • What is the first thing that you look to do when setting up a new computer?
  • What is a process that has been painful recently? How might you fix it?
  • What is a product that you think should exist?
  • What is a programming pattern that you have been appreciating lately?
  • What is a programming pattern that you have been avoiding lately?
  • Is there any value in bikeshedding? Why or why not?
  • How would you compare two solutions to a problem?
  • What are three strategies for reversing a list of strings?

How to use these prompts

These prompts were curated for freewriting, an exercise to help you get started writing. To start, follow these steps:

  1. Pick a prompt that piques your interest
  2. Grab a pen and paper or open a text editor
  3. Set a timer for 5, 10, or 15 minutes
  4. Write until the timer goes off

Once you are done, it’s up to you: stop or continue, discard or publish. The goal was to write and strengthen those muscles, and you’ve succeeded!