Stretch Your Writing Muscles With These Exercises

Even on a good day writing can be really hard.  Not unlike exercise, your writing muscle needs training to strengthen it, and this can be done through simple writing exercises, or simple prompts.

Writing Exercises to Spark Your Creativity

Writing exercises are there to flex your writing muscles and spark your creativity.  When you start exercising your writing muscle you understand where it is you're going wrong, and what you might be missing.  Exercises will help you practice and perfect your craft.

If your stuck in a rut, and need something to get you started, writing exercises will stimulate your brain.  Certain exercises and prompts might tap into your creative side, but don't shy away from them if you're not that kind of writer.  Use everything at your disposal to get your brain working again.

Let's get started.

1. Jump-Start Your Writing by Answering Some Questions

Questions are a good way to get you started, and are designed to build on one another and get your brain working.  Your objective is to answer quickly without really thinking about them.

Fiction Questions

Examples:

  • Who is the man?
  • Why did he leave his job?
  • What is he trying to accomplish?
  • How is he feeling?
  • Where is he going?
  • Is anyone joining him on his new journey?
Nonfiction Questions
  • Who are you helping?
  • What is the idea you're trying to communicate?
  • Why is this particular idea so special?
  • What do you hope your audience will gain?
If you can think of any other questions you think might be helpful, write them down and add them to the list.

2. Write to the Younger You

This exercise will bring out the emotional side of your writing, and will help you to face things in your past you may never have faced before.  If you don't want to go too far back, start at two to five years ago to get you started.

The object of this exercise is to give advice to a younger you or go back over past events that really touched your life and write down an explanation of that time, showing real depth and compassion in your writing. 

This exercise will help you think like you readers by revealing your emotions, and create content that really moves people.

3. Search for More Writing Prompts Online

More and more writers are coming up with ingenious ways by writing their own set of writing prompts.  Writing prompts come in many different forms and levels, and aren't just for the fiction writer.

Here are some of the most common writing prompts for fiction and nonfiction writers.
  • Set the scene.
  • Create a dilemma.
  • Write questions that you need to answer.
  • Details you want to include in your story.
You can choose to use these prompts or you can use them to create your own prompts that will take you out of your comfort zone. 
 
4. Use Your Own Particular Area of Knowledge and Write About It.

What do you specialise in as a writer? What questions are people asking you about your area of expertise?

If you know the answer then write it down, you may surprise yourself as to how much you really know.

You don't need to be academically minded to be a writer, you may already have a flare in your own field.    All you need to do is write down the process of what you do and why your way is better.

This activity is all about what you know, and you write it down.

5. Use the Stream of Consciousness Technique

What is Stream of Consciousness?

This technique enables you to tap into what you're thinking about right now.  A spur of the moment exercise. 

Some things to think about:
  • Put time aside each day to write about what's on your mind.
  • Write as much or as little as you want.
  • This is private stuff so don't feel like you need to get someone to read over it for you.
  • Do it when your mind feels fresh, if you're not an early writer, do it late evening when your mind is at its best.
Many professional authors use this method to kick-start their writing process, ensuring they stay on top of their game.

6. Open Your Dream World

This is what children do, but most adults forget once they've grown up.  When you start pretending you start creating new worlds, people and places.  You can be whoever you want to be.

Write an outline, or "just write," whatever you see in your head.  Write about what you're seeing, thinking, feeling and hearing.

This allows you to build and develop a character, place or situation, and allows you to express your feelings again all through your own imagination.

7. Cast Your Mind Back

Start this exercise with "I remember the time when..."

And go through as many memorable points of your life, and think about when:
  • You first fell in love.
  • Your first driving lesson.
  • Your first holiday abroad.
  • Your first pet.
The idea is to go back in time and recreate it in your mind, because it's your memory you should have no problem recreating it in your mind.  


8. Create an Imaginary Conversation With Someone

This can be something made up, or a recreation of what you can remember from a particular conversation you might have had with a friend or family member.

You need to look at:
  • Make the conversation clear, especially the subject matter being discussed.
  • Include information about how the other person answered and looked while they were talking to you.
  • Make it readable and something people can make sense of.
  • Add in some of your own thoughts and what was going through your own mind at the time.
This is a personal exercise and something you don't necessarily need to share with others if it's really personal.

9. Write The Other Side of an Argument

Choose a topic that is controversial and write the opposing side of the argument instead of your own side.

In this exercise you're looking at the smaller details, and things that people might miss.  And being able to understand the other side of the argument is enough to write an opinion based piece which is also a  popular form of writing.

10. What Happens After the First Line?

Take your favourite book and write down the first line, from there continue the story the way you would write it.

The idea of this exercise is to make you think on your feet, leaving you little to no time to think about anything else, other than to continue the story. 

Rules of Thumb to Follow

Before you get started here are some simple things to think about before you put pen to paper:

1. Set aside time each day.
2. Don't be afraid of being too critical.
3. Add personality to everything you write.
4. Edit everything when you've finished, and see which areas need improvement.
5. Make everything readable.
6. Be innovative in your quest to be a better writer.

How to Conquer Writer's Block

Writing exercises are usually used when they have nothing left in the tank to write.  Never be put off by this, we all fall victim to it from time to time.  

For new writers it can be a real put off, but shouldn't be a hurdle.  

Here are some quick tips to jump-start your writing again when you suffer from a bad case of writer's block:

1. Step away from your work.
2. Be creative somewhere else that isn't related to your writing.
3. Do an off the cuff writing exercise, use anything that comes into your head.
4. Do some physical activity.
5. Get rid of all surrounding distractions.
6. Workout what time of the day suits your writing time.  You may be like me, a bit of a night owl, or you could be an early riser writer.  Do what works for you.

With these writing exercises you should never feel like you're being held back.

If you're a new writer, these could be your go-to exercises when you have nothing left to write about.  

With these exercises and prompts you should never be afraid of the blank page again!

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Read more :

 Everyday Tools for Writers

5 Amazing Reasons Why Writers Should Carry a Notebook

The Writers Guide to Keeping a Journal

The Benefits of Touch Typing for Writers

The Ultimate Guide to Laptops for Writers

11 Fresh Writing Prompts for Non-Fiction Writers

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