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Scotland's Stories writing prompt: Hope for the world

A story writing prompt inspired by our Scotland's Stories: Hope campaign.

Language: English

Last updated: 25 March 2024

You can also access this prompt in Gaelic.

Scottish Book Trust is asking people all over Scotland to submit their true, personal stories on this year’s theme of Hope. 

Use this writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing. You can submit your piece here for the chance to be featured in a free book, produced by Scottish Book Trust, that will be distributed around the country during Book Week Scotland 2024. 

If you've used one of our prompts to kickstart your creativity, we'd love to read what you've written! You have up to 1000 words to share your story, but you don’t need to use them all. Make sure you submit your piece to Scotland’s Stories by 7 June to see it published on our website (and maybe even in this year’s Book Week Scotland book!).

Hope for the world

Hope is the promise of a brighter future. It’s not blind faith that things will work out in the end – it’s the trust we place in ourselves and those around us, that the choices we make in difficult moments will lead us to better times. 

Our hopes for the world are deeply connected to those we love. We imagine the world as a better place for them or for future generations. These hopes give us the drive to affect change in our lifetime, working for causes or communities that matter, both to us and the world itself. 

Hope is not a lottery ticket you can sit on the sofa and clutch, feeling lucky. It is an axe you break down doors with in an emergency. [...] To hope is to give yourself to the future – and that commitment to the future is what makes the present inhabitable.

- Rebecca Solnit


On a sheet of paper write down the names of the people that mean the most to you. Make a list of the topics you know they care about. Conservation, animal welfare, tackling poverty, aid to those affected by conflict, climate change, gender equality, trans awareness. Keep writing for around 5 minutes. 

If you’re struggling to think about the bigger issues affecting the world today, you can focus on smaller hopes you have for the person you are writing your letter to. Maybe you just want to see a bit more empathy, kindness or patience in the world they live in. 


Look back over the list you have just created. Focus on specific moments in which these issues have come up with the people that mean the most to you. Do you have strong memories where you recognised just how important they were to them? Did they inspire you to learn more about it or challenge you on some of your own beliefs? Spend around 10–15 minutes fleshing out a few of these memories. 

Now think about how the world could look in 10, 20, 30 years’ time. Take yourself to that moment and reflect on what you, your loved ones or the community(s) you belong to have achieved. How did you get there? And what impact is that having on the world now and how will it impact the future? Immerse yourself in that vision of the future; think about what it looks like, what it feels and smells like, and the people that are there. 

Get writing 

Now it’s time to decide who you’d like to direct your letter to and which issues you want to focus on. Look back over your lists and the memories attached to them. Which ones stand out? Which do you feel will have the most impact on your story? 

Alternatively, you could write the letter to a future version of yourself, if you’ve set yourself a goal to positively influence a cause or help someone you love. 

If you’d like your piece to feel more reflective or heighten its emotional impact, you could also address it to a younger version of yourself. Maybe there was a cause you wish you’d known about earlier or a shift in your mentality led you to focus on helping others. That message of seizing the moment can be extremely powerful to people who care about the same issues facing the world. 

And if you get stuck, try looking over your lists again. Is there a way you can weave in another person, or another cause, into the story?