View Full Version : 10 Writing Exercises to Tighten Your Writing

The Informer
27th December 2010, 02:21 PM
Writing projects can be like children. You love them dearly, but sometimes they irritate you to the point that you just need a break. Working on something fresh and new can invigorate your mind and give you a new approach to your work. These exercises can work for any genre of writing, fiction and non-fiction alike.

1. Free Association

This is probably the most popular writing exercise to get the juices flowing. Pull up a new Word document, take a deep breath and just write whatever comes to mind. Dig as deep as you can into your subconscious and donít worry about what comes out. Sometimes thereís a mental blockage with something thatís been bothering you, so it helps to write it down and get it out of your system.

2. Think Outside the Box

Think of something youíre passionate about, like a hobby or a love interest, and write everything you know about it. Sometimes writing slumps happen and it helps to write about something you love. Even if you just write a paragraph, itís better to write something thatís not your current project. This will rejuvenate you to re-start on your current project.

3. Sharpen the Saw

Something I love to do when Iím stuck is read another authorís work, especially an author who writes in the same style or format as my current project. If youíre writing fantasy, read some Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. If youíre writing a biography, try taking a look at some biographies of your favorite actors or writers. Escaping into someone elseís world for a bit can relax you enough to delve into your own imaginary world again.

4. Use the Musical Muse

Writers feel their work, and when you can quite describe what youíre feeling on paper, it can be frustrating. Get out your ipod or computer, put on your earphones and find some songs that appeal to you and the scene or piece youíre working on. Grooveshark.com and Pandora.com are two websites that offer free, instant music streaming to get those juices flowing.

5. Mad Libs

Choose one noun, adjective and verb. Make them as random as possible. Write a story using these words in context. You can also do this exercise with a fellow writer and give each other your noun, adjective and verb to see what you both come up with.

6. Eavesdropper

This is a wonderful exercise if you struggle to write natural dialogue between your characters. Sit in a public place like a park or at your local college campus and listen to the things people say as they walk by. Take copious notes and share them with other writers. This exercise is also great if you need a laugh.

7. Use Writing Prompts

A writing prompt is simply a topic around which you start jotting down ideas. The prompt could be a single word, a short phrase, a complete paragraph or even a picture, with the idea being to give you something to focus upon as you write. You can find examples and resources about on our Writing Prompts 101 article.

8. Person, Place, Event

If youíre in the middle of coming up with some new ideas, this exercise can help. Get a piece of paper and a pen and draw two lines down the middle to form three columns. In the first column, list every type of person you can think of, such as the police, firemen, grandparents, your spouse, a princess or whatever comes to mind. Next, think of a variety of places. It can range from the grocery store to Ireland. In the last column, list a time period or famous historical event like the Battle of Gettysburg or the year 1492. Combine a person, place and event and experiment with writing about that particular situation. You can try as many as you like!

9. Research Rendezvous

Select a random topic, like the African Bush or squids and look it up on as many reference sites as you can find. Dictionary.com, thesaurus.com, Wikipedia.org and about.com are some research sites you can begin with. Learn as much as you can about this new topic. Keep a file for research notes.

10. A New Point of View

Pick a genre or point of view you have never tried before and write a short story with it. If you normally use third-person point of view, switch to first-person. If you normally focus on non-fiction, branch out and write some fiction. If you normally write sappy romances, give action/adventure a try. Itís scary to leave your comfort zone, but youíd be surprised the kind of inspiration you get when you switch perspective.

Fashion Yaa
27th December 2010, 04:38 PM
OMG did we have the same creative writing teacher Informer, nice...
I have personally done the EAVESDROPPER back in high school at a table of football players(hm, it was a real rush writing the dialogue as quick as i could and it made me realize a lot about jocks)

RENDEZVOUS has be the best one becos of the many trips Ive taken to Ghana, I have journals with lots of info I wrote from observation and it makes for unique poetry when presented to an American audience but to a Ghanaian audience it's kinda comical :) so yeah i agree with you, researching any destination of interest will do. The other day I read a book by Beverly Jenkins and was hooked becos in the very last page she provided the sources she used to come up with her fictional story about a black pirate in 1800's new world. I once read a book that used the same method to write a book about an interracial couple living on Goree Island, Senegal during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade era called the Grace in Africa series and I definitely liked it. I could go on about this writing method becos it is the one that provides the most sucess for writers IMO.

Great Tips !!!

The Informer
27th December 2010, 07:44 PM
Glad to be on the same page as you. You are welcome Yaa. To "online" be the glory though because i copied it from somewhere. I hope to look out for more of this stuff.

Fashion Yaa
29th December 2010, 02:34 PM
Glad to be on the same page as you. You are welcome Yaa. To "online" be the glory though because i copied it from somewhere. I hope to look out for more of this stuff.

I see...smart, the internet is a divine tool