Writing exercises can be immensely useful, but few writers bother to do them until they hit a block. That’s a shame, because writing exercises can not only help you to improve your writing, they can make writing less stressful too.
A few months back, I published Writing Exercises: Tap the Other 99.99 Per Cent of Your Brain, and I’ve just updated it with another exercise:
I’ve found Gabriele Rico’s clustering concept immensely useful. Clustering works much as your brain does, by associations. Start with a word, and circle it in the center of your page.
You can see that the seed word in the cluster on the left is “turn”. You can choose any word you like. I use clustering to develop characters in fiction; my seed word is the character’s name.
Easy Writing Exercises: Start with Morning Pages.
Here’s an easy exercise, which works well if you’re struggling with your writing: Morning Pages. They’re three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing which you do first thing in the morning. Yes, just grab a cup of coffee, and start writing. 🙂
Morning Pages prime the pump of your writing. Whenever I do Morning Pages, I find that all my writing flows more smoothly all day. If I feel that I’m not as productive as I could be, I get back to doing my pages every morning.
Here’s what happens with Morning Pages. For the first week or two, you’ll find that your pages are odd. They tend to be full of complaints. Gradually, you’ll find that there’s a shift, and your pages start to be more useable.
There’s a danger here, however. You may have a couple of days in which you turn out material which is perfect for a project. That’s fine. However, be aware that your pages need to be stream-of-consciousness writing. Otherwise, you’ll find that instead of Morning Pages, you’re working on your “real” writing, and Morning Pages will soon stop being effective writing exercises.
Let me know how Morning Pages — and other writing exercises — work for you.
And if you have your own exercises, please share them. 🙂
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