34 Writing Prompts about the Past

We all have our own past. Our memories and experiences make us who we are! We can look at the past to learn from our actions. In our busy days, life moves quickly, and the past can become, well, a thing of the past.

How to use:

The past doesn’t always have to stay in the past! These prompts are here to help you dig up the past and get writing! Take some time to reflect and find out what the past means to you.

The 34 Prompts:

  1. What would you do if you could go back 5 years as your current self?
  2. What time period in the past would you most like to visit? Why?
  3. What time period would you least like to visit? Why?
  4. The words “past” and “passed” may sound similar, but have different meanings. How are they different?
  5. Do you believe the phrase “the past stays in the past”? Why or why not?
  6. Would you rather live in the past or the future?
  7. Would you rather visit 10 years in the past or 10 years in the future?
  8. Would you rather live 50 years in the past or 50 years in the future?
  9. Would you rather live 100 years in the past or 100 years in the future?
  10. Would you rather visit 1000 years in the past or 1000 years in the future?
  11. If you could use a time machine to travel to the past, would you?
  12. Which of the past presidents would you most like to have dinner with?
  13. Which person from the past would you most like to meet? What would you ask them?
  14. What is something we use every day that didn’t exist 50 years ago?
  15. What do you think people wore in the past?
  16. Did people talk differently in the past? Why or why not?
  17. Do you think the animals that live now lived in the past? Why or why not?
  18. What do you think people did in the past for entertainment?
  19. How do you think people communicated before the telephone and internet were invented?
  20. Why do you think we call it “the past”?
  21. When in the past do you think cars were invented? How can we know?
  22. If you could go back to any point in time, what would you do differently? Where would you go?
  23. What do you think it means when people say they are “stuck in the past”?
  24. The Ghost of Christmas Past is a character from A Christmas Carol. What do you think the Ghost of Christmas Past looks and acts like?
  25. How can we learn from the past?
  26. What is the different between past, present, and future?
  27. Write a story about waking up as a completely different person in the past.
  28. Pretend you are the Ghost of Christmas Past. What would you do and say to the other characters in A Christmas Carol?
  29. Write about how you would build your very own time machine.
  30. Do you think that time traveling to the past can affect the future?
  31. Pick a past period of time and write about what kind of music they listened to.
  32. How was being a kid and going to school different in the past?
  33. Pretend you got into your time machine, and it took you to the past instead of the future.
  34. How do we know what happened in the past?

Interested in more?

Our website is full of writing and reading resources for all ages. Oh and handy tools like our story starter generator!

And writing prompts? You better believe we’ve got thousands of them on every topic under the sun. Speaking of, have some prompts about the sun! Or perhaps you’re more interested in a writing topic as nuanced as ambition. Whatever the case, we’ve got you covered.

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. We love to hear your ideas and suggestions, whether it is for past prompts or for future ideas! 🙂