If you want to improve your health and be fit, it helps to exercise. The same rings true for writing: If you want to improve your writing skills, you need to exercise your creative muscles. Unlike writing prompts, which hope to inspire full works, creative writing exercises target a specific skill and focus only on improving that technique. The experts at Writer’s Relief have put together a list of creative writing exercises that will help you stretch and improve your skills.
Creative Writing Exercises To Strengthen Your Writing Skills
- Have your characters dine at a “blind restaurant.” In dark dining, the room is pitch black and all the servers are blind. Let your characters use their other senses to describe the experience in detail.
- Write a quick story entirely in dialogue. If you want to take this a step further, make the conversation one-sided so that only half the conversation is heard.
- Write down five emotions on slips of paper. Then choose five random objects and write these down on other slips of paper. Select one emotion and one object from the pile, then describe that object from the point of view of a character experiencing that emotion. You can repeat until all the slips are used, or save them for another day!
- Write a paragraph (or more) where a character begins in one emotional state and ends in another.
- Write a paragraph where a character completes a perfectly normal action, but describe it in a way that makes it seem strange and absurd.
- Write a few paragraphs about the town you grew up in (or the hometown of a character), describing it in detail.
- Have your character write a letter to their younger self.
- Flip through your news feed (or use a newspaper—remember those?) and find an article that interests you. Write a short backstory for a “character” from that article.
- Take something you’ve already written and rewrite it from the perspective of a different character (not the protagonist).
- Choose one simple event and write a paragraph about it. Then rewrite that paragraph four more times, but make it completely different each time. The event should stay the same, but you can change the style of writing, the tone, the voice, the sentence structure, etc.
- Let’s say your character just lost someone beloved. Write a paragraph or two about a normal, everyday experience, but make it clear the character is grieving without saying it outright.
- Write a dialogue in which each of the characters has a secret. Do not reveal the secret outright; write it so the reader can figure out the secret through other clues.
- In thirty seconds, look around yourself and remember everything you can. Then focus on your paper or computer and, without looking up, spend a few minutes describing in detail everything you remember. This can be more of a challenge when you’re in an unfamiliar place, so you might want to take this exercise out with you for a walk!
- Write a full page without using any adverbs or adjectives.
- Set a timer for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, and write a stream of consciousness (aka freewriting). You should not pause your writing at all during this time—even if you’re writing down nonsense! Just keep writing and see what you end up with. The most important thing in this exercise is to not stop!
Question: What creative writing exercise do you find most helpful?