8 Writing Exercises for Adults to Hone Their Writing Skills
Writing and writing creatively are two very different things. Whether you are writing a fictional piece, developing a character, or penning a verse, you need oodles of creativity. Now, creative writing is like training for a marathon. You cannot just stand on the track and run the fastest. You need to warm up and stretch your muscles before the main event. Similarly, you gradually learn the ropes of creative writing as you flex your brain cells with writing exercises.
Moreover, creativity is a lot like a sapling that you need to water regularly if you want to reap fruits. That is what creative writing exercises are for – to feed your brain with eunoia and clear up every possible creative block posing a hurdle in your way.
So, what are creative writing exercises, and how can they help you be more eloquent with your writing?
Creative writing exercises serve as short bursts of writing, where you learn to experiment with ideas and improvise slants. Creative writing exercises like writing one-liners or short stories in 50 words compel the writer to shine a new light on a familiar topic. Fiction or poem writing exercises also give writers the chance to apply literary devices that they have learnt over the years from literature.
If you work on such writing exercises for just ten minutes every day or maybe thrice a week, you will notice remarkable changes with time. As a professional writer, practising these creative writing exercises for adults will spark new ideas for your writer and help you avoid the nightmare we call writer's block.
On that note, here are eight creative writing exercises suitable for writers of all ages and genres.
8 Creative Writing Exercises for Writers of All Ages
Whether you need some inspiration for your writing projects or taking a break from writing, solving these creative writing exercises will let the stream of creativity ooze in ripples in your writing. Make sure to incorporate these eight exercises into your routine.
1. Let the brook of consciousness flow free
Several established writers have used the “morning pages” method over the years and have often talked highly about this topic. This includes a bookshelf favourite, Jeffrey Archer. Hence, you can well imagine the efficacy of the technique. Here is what you have to do:
- Wake up in the morning and start writing on a blank page.
- Don’t put a lot of thought into what you are writing. It should be more like scribbling.
- Do not stop to edit either.
You may have noticed that the harder you try to think out of the box, the less creative your writing becomes. But a free writing exercise like this one catches you off guard. Moreover, writing without being too conscious often draws out interesting ideas.
2. Switch up a story’s POV
In this particular writing exercise, you have to take a chapter from one of your favourite books and narrate the scene from a different perspective, focusing on a different character. As easy as that may sound, this exercise will force you to rack your brain cells to imagine a scenario not mentioned in the book and tell the story from another POV.
Let us take the second task of diving in the Great Lake from Harry Potter and the Goblet and Fire as an example. Now what you have to do is write the scene from Ron or Hermione's perspective, who were held captive by the Merpeople. You can also keep the main character and switch the POV. For example, you can rewrite a scene written in the first person in the third person and give a spin to the existing storyline.
3. Use creative writing prompts
Writing storyline or character prompts is another great writing exercise for professional writers. All you need to do is generate new ideas using existing prompts, or what is commonly known as story starters among the writing community. You can find creative writing prompts on the internet. You can also choose a line at random from a short story and spin a different story using that line.
To take it up a notch higher, you can choose the first line of a story of a particular genre and write your story in a different genre. For example, you can use the first sentence of the famous horror story A Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and give it a romantic twist.
4. Write a letter to yourself
Have you ever wished to put in words of encouragement to your younger self? Or, maybe write to your future self about the lessons your present days are teaching you. Use this kind of writing exercise to leave a word for yourself.
Think of a significant event that has changed your life and write a letter about how different you could have had handled the situation. Advise yourself or send a meaningful message that would have changed how you grew up. The old school habit of writing letters will teach you to control your emotions and be more evocative in your writing.
5. Try your hand at writing flash fiction
While writing an elaborate story is comparatively easier, breathing life into a character and closing a story in 500 words is more challenging. For such an exercise, set yourself a word limit and time and try to write a complete story within the set limit. Unlike freewriting, this writing exercise will force you to tame your thoughts to fit them within the window.
When you write spontaneous flash fiction, you will have to fit all the structural elements of a fictional story within the word count. Moreover, you will have to develop an arc, a plot, a climax, and character development in a matter of an hour. This will train you to come up with creative ideas even when you are running short of time.
6. Write a fake advertisement
Copywriting calls for creativity, even more so due to the word and ad space restrictions. Writing fake advertisements within 75 to 100 words can teach you to be creative even when conveying a message in two lines. You can choose brands with prominent ad campaigns, like Lays, Pepsi, or Coca Cola and write a mock ad for them.
You can even try out different variations, like a formal advertisement, an abbreviated classified for the newspaper, a print version of the ad for pamphlets. In every case, your aim should be to write something that describes the product or service and convinces the reader to buy it. This exercise will teach you to play with keywords and be careful about your choice of words within a limitation. Here is a list of brands to choose from and top their world-famous ad campaigns.
7. Borrow someone’s story and make it your own
Think of an anecdote that someone shared with you. This could be the funny incident your sibling shared with you or the customary ghost story your cousin shares with you every Halloween. It could also be a memory that your grandparent recounted from their yesteryears.
Now, try to narrate the story from your perspective – like it has happened in your life. The older the story's timeline, the better exercise it will be. When you have to flesh out the story in a setting that you did not experience, you will be able to turn on the faucet of imagination. You can also take a real-life incident and write it as a story where you are in the middle of the action.
8. Try your hand at blogging
By now, you have surely realised the bottom line of this post. You need to write more to hone your creative skills. Now, if you are the kind of person who does not like to do things without a purpose, you can try blogging.
With blogging, you will get feedback on your writing. Based on the readers’ reaction, you can change the voice and tone of your writing voice and incorporate things that are missing. Moreover, writing a post daily will keep your mind and your fingers nimble. Blogging will also teach you how to write, keeping a particular audience in mind.
Creative writing isn't a skill that you can master overnight. So, do not expect these exercises to work like a magic trick on your penmanship skills. Keep at it, and do not lose hope. Practice every day for an hour and give yourself time. With time, the fountain of creativity will flow to cast a spell on your readers.
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