Have you ever yearned to try something new and fun with your writing to get those creative juices flowing? If the response is yes, I have the perfect solution for you. A simple writing exercise might be just what you need. Writing exercises are an easy and fun way to get creative with your work and branch out of your typical style.
Who doesn’t love to mix it up once in a while?
With so many marvelous creative writing exercises available with the turn of a page or click of a button, it’s often hard to know where to start. From books to internet searches all the information can be overwhelming. Luckily for you, I’ve created a short list of my personal favourites!
- Starters: These types of exercises have many names, but I prefer to call them starters. The idea behind these activities is that you pick something random as your topic and that no matter how you find it, make sure it’s clear and concise.
The 7x7x7x7 exercise is when you pick the seventh book on the shelf, flip to the seventh page, find the seventh line, and then use the seventh word as your title or topic. Alphabet Poetry is when you create a poem or short story using each letter in the alphabet. Both exercises are great places to start. Use can use a random word from the dictionary, or use an atlas or map for inspiration. You could even find a few ads or articles in a magazine and use them for inspiration.
Tip: This exercise works best when you do no preparation. Pick your activity and topic and run with it. Get the words onto the paper first and edit later.
- Firsts/I remember: This exercise is in truth two different activities. But, they are so similar to each other I grouped them together. These exercises are great because they focus on you on a personal level. They are also a fantastic way to log significant events in your life.
All you must do is think about something you did for the first time or any event or milestone in your life. When writing about your firsts, it might be anything from your first date or kiss to your first concert or big screen movie. When focusing on I remember, it might be the day you got a promotion or when you found a great sale at the mall. The possibilities here are endless.
Tip: Take time on a slow day and compile a list of all the firsts/I remember topics you want to explore. Keep it in a convenient spot for quick access.
- Letter: This exercise is simple. All you need to do is write a letter. You may address it to yourself, your best friend, your mom, your dad, your great Aunt Betty. It may be long or short, personal or professional.
The idea behind this exercise is that the letter you write is never sent. It is the perfect way to get anything and everything out in the open and off your chest without having to confront anyone. There are so many places you could take this exercise. You may keep it all personal and write to family or friends or take it a step farther and create a professional letter giving advice or criticism to your idol or favourite author.
Tip: This exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress and clear your mind. Try experimenting with sensitive subjects or express yourself in a way you can’t otherwise.
- Prompts: Writing prompts are easy to use, and there is an endless supply of them available. All you must do is a fast internet search or visit your local library or bookstore and pick one. You can even modify your search to a particular genre or type of writing.
Writing prompts are a great way to try new things and explore new topics. You can use them for poems or stories. All you need is a way to write and a place to find a prompt. You might compile a collection of your own, sign up to get one daily, or ask a family member or friend for help. Ask someone to give you a single word, a few random words, or a full sentence and use that as your title or topic.
Tip: Try revisiting your favourite prompts. Wait for a few months or even a year before coming back to one. Note how your ideas and style have evolved in the time that’s passed.
- Person/Object: This writing exercise is a fantastic way to play with your work. It focuses on details and sensory rather than a focus keyword or topic. They force you to dig down deep and step out of your normal writing routines.
This exercise is one you can do anyplace. You can sit in your kitchen and write about your cat, or write about the waiter the next time you’re out for dinner. You can do a character sketch on your favourite fictional and nonfictional character, or close your eyes and think of your favourite beach and write about the scene. This exercise also helps your writing style and vocabulary.
Tip: This exercise works best when you are alone. Free yourself from distractions caused from family, friends, and electronics for best results.
Remember, writing exercises are meant to be entertaining so don’t take them too seriously. Break away from your stressful deadlines and regular, everyday writing projects and have fun. Don’t fret. Learn when to take an idea and run with it and when to let it go. When you use exercises like these, they help teach you how to weed out the lesser quality stuff and find that million dollar idea.
Keep in mind that everyone’s writing style is personal and unique to them.
The key is to have fun with the activity. Don’t be intimidated by trying new things. Don’t be afraid to write about a topic you have never considered before. Think of it as practice, the more you write, the better you become.