Have you ever not wanted to work on your novel because you don’t feel like you have the skill to execute it well? Trust me, you’re not the only one. That’s why there’s writing exercises. Some of them target specific skills, but overall, they’re just short little practices to help you get ready for the long haul.
True creativity comes when you have to work around boundaries.Me, though someone else has probably said something similar
This is the simplest exercise by far. Set a timer for 10-15 minutes, and see how many words you can write. This will help improve your writing speed, but it will also help train you to just keep writing. And who knows, you may end up writing some fun stuff.
This one’s a lot more difficult. Pick a color or emotion. Then describe without using its name or any words directly affiliated with it.
You have to have a group of people to do this one. Everyone writes down a character, a setting, and a conflict on separate pieces of paper. The slips of paper go into their groups, and then each person draws one. You then have 5-10 minutes to create a short stories from your prompts.
This exercise targets your descriptive skills. First, you need to describe something in a very neutral way. There’s a room that has curtains, large windows, and very little furniture. Then you describe it in the most positive light you can. A spacious room, alight with the last rays of sunlight, sparsely furnished but neat. Then you describe it in the most negative way possible. A cavernous room, almost barren, ruddy sunlight creeping in. Your descriptions should be a lot longer than mine, and you can describe any setting you want.
Another group exercise, but one of my favorites. You can do this one on paper, or on computers if you have enough. Everyone gets 3 minutes to write. When the timer ends, you pass the story to the next person and they continue the story. In a larger group, you may want to limit the number of stories being passed around. You end up with some really interesting short stories with this.
Everything But the Eyes
This is another one for description, with a twist. Pretend your POV is a blind character. Write a description of a setting, without actually telling the reader what they see. After all, your character can’t see.
The Last Shall Be First
Pull the nearest book off the shelf and read the first line. Now, right a short story that ends with that sentence. You can flip this around and take the last sentence of a book and make it you’re first line.
Time to write the shortest stories possible. 6-8 words, 20-80 words, 80-120 words. Can you get the glimmer of a story in that few of words?
Short Stories and Poems
These are my go-to exercises. I can sit down for 15-30 minutes and have a completed project in that time. They’re an easy way to try out different writing styles or POV’s. And, you get the satisfaction of finishing something.
I hope these help! I know I’ve used them a lot. If you do use them, and you’re pleased with the results, send them to me! I’ll give you a feature post; all you have to do is go to the contact page.