This is what I think of whenever I write an essay prompt. From the Paris Review:
Interviewer: That's not showing much respect for your fellow women, at least not the writers.The latest paper prompt is sitting at twelve words (I don't like to fuss with extra: each word should do the work of explaining what the essay is to be about), one of which took about 45 minutes to pick out (it must gesture in the direction of the answers I would like to get without tipping the balance of them one way or the other, as a few of the discarded words would have done), and the last three representing two different terms I cannot decide between.
Dorothy Parker: As artists they're rot, but as providers they're oil wells; they gush. Norris said she never wrote a story unless it was fun to do. I understand Ferber whistles at her typewriter. And there was that poor sucker Flaubert rolling around on his floor for three days looking for the right word.