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29 Sad Writing Prompts to Help You Release and Heal

An excellent list of Sad Writing Prompts to Help You Release, Heal and Grow for any Age Student, Journaler, or Writer— You see, journaling is a wonderful and highly accessible tool that can help anyone process their emotions. (The same is true for writing in various forms and genres.) Now, our new list of sad writing prompts can help you or your kids. Take a look and please use these writing ideas.

Sad Writing Prompts

Journaling or Writing with Our Sad Writing Prompts List of Ideas

It’s true that sadness can be a tough feeling for kids and adults alike.


Journaling is a really good tool and habit that can help anyone process their emotions. Plus — get this — fiction writing is yet another powerful means of processing and moving emotions. Yep. It’s true.

Getting Started Quick Guide

While you use these journal prompts…

It can be helpful to reflect on the meaning of catharsis and encourage your students to fully express themselves. Definition of Catharsis: the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.

Yes! Creative outlets are soooooo useful and important to teach to the younger generations in order to help them better process and move their feelings.

Although these prompts are mostly written for the emotional maturity of middle schoolers and up, you could adapt the list of sad writing prompts to be more accessible to younger students. Or… simply use whichever ones your know your students are ready for at this time.


Keep in mind that the list of sad writing prompts outlined below can be used in a variety of ways. Some ways to use these sad writing ideas include using them for your class’s journal entries, story writing, or writing practice, offering them as a therapeutic resource for your students, or using them within a personal journal (perhaps even in yours!).

After the list of sad writing prompts, I share with you a few more great ways you could use this list of sad writing prompts with students. Be sure to check it out.

Ok, without further ado, here is the list of good and helpful writing ideas and prompts for you.

29 Sad Writing Prompts to Process Emotion

Take a look at and please use this powerful, helpful, and (yes!) creative mix of sad writing prompts and ideas. They are excellent, and I hope you find them valuable.

  1. What makes depression different from sadness? Have you ever felt depressed? What comes to mind when you think of it?
  2. Do you have any insecurities about the way you look, act, dress, or speak? Has anyone made fun of you for them? Write about how that makes you feel. If you want, include a letter you’ll never send to the people who have made fun of you.
  3. Have you ever grieved the death of a pet? Write about your pet, what they meant to you, and what it was like to lose them. Write them a eulogy, if desired.
  4. Have you ever felt sad on behalf of a stranger? Who were they? What were they going through?
  5. Not everyone has solid relationships with their whole family. Write about a time a family member let you down and how it made you feel.
  6. How do you feel about crying? Does it make you relieved, mad, scared, frustrated, embarrassed, or another emotion when you cry? Does it depend based on the situation?
  7. Write about a time you were sad as a short fictional story where your guardian angel wasn’t able to be there to protect you.
  8. Do you ever feel more like the main character’s best friend, or even a person in the background of the story, rather than the main character? What emotions does that invoke for you?
  9. If you could have a time that was counting down to when everyone in your life would pass away, but you couldn’t change the time, would you like to see it? Why or why not?
  10. Is there anyone you wish you had more time with? What was your relationship like before it got cut short?
  11. Do you ever feel like you don’t have the cool things your friends have, like a new video game, cool clothes, a cell phone, or an expensive home? If so, write about the emotions you feel when you notice the differences.
  12. If you had to make yourself cry while you were acting, what would you think of and why?
  13. Imagine the ghost of someone you miss came through your front door and you got to have a conversation with them. What would you say?
  14. Have you or your family ever seen therapists to process life events? Write about what that experience was like.
  15. Sad Writing TopicsWrite a book idea from the perspective of a young woman who’s in a love triangle that would make your readers cry.
  16. Write a story about moving from where you live to a small town in Alaska. Then, show, don’t tell, how your entire life would change.
  17. Write a short story where your house gets struck by lightning. How would you feel about it?
  18. Write a fantasy love letter where your main character knows they are going to lose the person they’re in love with, for whatever reason.
  19. Write about a time someone stole, lost, or broke something that you cared about. Did you express to them that you were upset?
  20. Write about how natural disasters, diseases, wars, and other tragedies have affected human civilization. Do you feel like you can make any difference?
  21. Write about the ways people mistreat our planet (chopping down trees in the Amazon, starting forest fires, littering, etc.) How does it make you feel?
  22. Do you feel comfortable letting other people see that you are sad or do you hide it from other people when you’re not doing well? Why do you think that is?
  23. Write a poem from the perspective of an abandoned house that misses the people who used to live in it.
  24. What is a mean thing that a friend or family member has said to you that has stuck with you? Why did it hurt so much?
  25. What are some things that you know have happened in your family tree that you hope never happen to you? Why are they so significant?
  26. Is there anything that makes you feel anxious just to talk about? Write about why that is and what other emotions come with the anxiety.
  27. Have you ever had a friend or family member move away, or have you ever moved away from them? Write about what it was like to not have them close by anymore.
  28. Draw a picture that represents what sadness feels like to you. Write or draw things that make you sad in the picture.
  29. What books, movies, and songs make you cry? Do you like it when that happens or do you avoid them and why?

I hope you found this list of sad writing prompts helpful.

A Few Closing Thoughts on Writing about Sadness

These creative writing prompts might make you and your students get out a box of tissues, but that can be a good thing! It’s amazing the power that a pen holds.

Plus… Your students will hopefully grow to understand why writing is such a good outlet for sadness (hence the theme for this blog post of sad writing prompts).

While many of these sad writing prompts are related to personal topics, you can ask if any of your students would like to:

  • Share their answers to get them out of their system
  • Create art that represents their answers to the prompts, or even
  • Rip up the page they wrote on and throw it in the recycling bin

Finally, you could talk to your kids about how creating out of our pain can bring beauty out of otherwise bad experiences, and how sharing can help us connect with one another.

No doubt your students will take any one of these lessons with them for the rest of their lives! So use them with your kids today. I hope they use these sad writing prompts and find great value in them. Take good care and be well.

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Writing Prompts to Process Sadness

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