Pot Luck

There’s so much joy to be found in the serendipity of life. Take a small selection of randomly chosen words and that’s where this game begins! Pot luck writing prompts can produce the most unlikely combinations – and these make for writing fun.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Choose three words at random
  2. ‘Free flow’ your thoughts and ideas
  3. Choose a writing form
  4. Write!

Choose three words at random

Pot luck words can come from anywhere. The key, of course, is that they are chosen at random. Almost any word can work. Brand names or the names of certain individuals can sometimes feel too specific or loaded with meaning, so you may wish to avoid them. Short, commonly used words such as ‘and’ or ‘the’ may feel as though they offer less scope for creativity – but they can still have a role to play. There may be times when a word just doesn’t feel right. If so, go ahead and pick another one. What if your finger lands between two words? In this case, I tend to choose the word I feel most drawn to.

Where should you look for these three pot luck words? Here are some possible sources:

  • Open the first book you see, close your eyes and point at the page… there’s your first word prompt. Now flick further through the book and point again. Repeat this process a third time and you’ll have found all your words.
  • If you’re tech-savvy, the auto-correct feature on your smartphone can help with the ‘pot luck’ game. Open up a new message and start typing random letters. Type slowly, so that auto-correct can keep up with you. It’ll suggest words that it thinks you might be trying to write. Go with the first sensible word that pops up. If you have typed seven letters and haven’t been given anything you can use, then start again.

‘Free flow’ your thoughts and ideas

Once you’ve found your three words, take some time to jot down everything you can about the relationship between those three words. What thoughts or phrases come to mind when you consider those three words? Write about your words using all five senses (sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures) and your emotions too. These notes will give you valuable material to help shape your final piece of writing.

Choose a writing form

Now, it’s time to decide what form your creative piece will take. Will it be a poem, a short story, a letter…? If you’re not sure, take a look at this list of writing forms for inspiration.

My pot luck words for the poem below were ‘picked’ ‘point’ and ‘because’:


At this point, you may wish to get creating straightaway. Or, why not take a look at these writing tips and reminders for an extra helping hand?

Happy writing!

Explore my Write to Relax series for more ideas and inspiration.

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