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There are lots of motivated folks whose New Year’s resolutions include exercising regularly and getting into tiptop shape. And Writer’s Relief knows that, for writers, there are many benefits to exercises that strengthen our craft (rather than our muscles). You don’t even have to break a sweat—but feel free to grab a water bottle or your favorite energy drink!
When you allow yourself the space to create simply for the exercise of writing, you open yourself up to the joy of discovery. Without the pressure to produce—and with the freedom to write without a specific purpose—you may find new joy in your craft.
There are differing opinions on the standard “write every day” advice, but most authors will agree: Spending even ten minutes a day on a writing exercise can really strengthen your writing muscles. Here are a few ideas to get you started!
15 Exercises To Build Your Writing Muscles
- Writing prompts can take you in an entirely new, unexpected direction. Check out our Writer’s Relief Pinterest page for writing prompts galore!
- Write from the point of view of an inanimate item that is disparaging you. .
- Create a brief stand-up comedy routine based on something mundane, like a bad hair day.
- Using only dialogue, write about an argument between two people where it’s not clear who is right and who is wrong.
- Take a walk and be on the lookout for a particular color you’ve chosen in advance. When you return, write about what you saw.
- Argue against a cliché, like “All good things come to those who wait.”
- Write about the most ridiculous thing you’d really, really like to do or try.
- Set out to find the most interesting character you can find at a public event, then write about him or her.
- Cut out words from newspapers and magazines—words that are fascinating and weird and exciting. Keep them in a bowl and pull one out to write about. Or pull out three or four and create a story.
- Write about your town, country, or planet as someone who loves it. Then write about it as someone who hates it.
- Pick a totally random topic that interests you—the life of a king or the lowly sea sponge—and then research it thoroughly and keep it for a future project.
- What smells make you gag? Write about things that smell unpleasant to you using super-rich vocabulary and as many adjectives as possible. (You can try this for all five senses!)
- Write a compelling advertisement for something that would be difficult to sell—like a vicious dog or a very, very large spider…
- Without being too creepy, eavesdrop on a conversation (on a bus, at a café, etc.) and expand upon it when you get home.
- Conduct an imaginary interview with someone you’ve always wanted to talk to, living or dead—real or imagined.
Some authors like to leave their comfort zone and experiment with writing in different genres to stretch their writing muscles. Others enjoy freewriting to generate new ideas or jump-start a sluggish muse. And remember: Just like with physical exercise, you’ll get the best results when you consistently work on your writing skills!
Question: What writing exercises have you found useful?