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6 Creative Writing Exercises

Updated on September 25, 2015

Creative writing can be considered any writing that is an original composition. But it is more commonly considered to be any writing, whether it be fiction or non-fiction, that is not professional, journalistic, academic, or technical.

Writing is a very helpful tool for anyone, no matter who you are or what your hobbies. If you've never thought about writing, it's ok; there's nothing to fear or worry, as it's a great way to share your thoughts, but not really share them.

You may find that writing is a great way to get out your pent up emotions, without acting on them in real life, and you don't even have to use real characters or scenarios in your writing. It's actually a great concept, but sometimes you want to try something a little different out. And, in those cases, you may want to try out a creative writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.

Below, you'll find some great idea breakers as well as tons of great references to check out.

1. Keep a Journal

Buy writing daily in a journal of any shape, form, or fashion, you will be able to stimulate the writing juices.

Set a aside some time every day to write whatever comes to mind.

You may consider writing about:
- Your own, daily life
- What's going on with the people in your life
- Your daily goals and aspirations
- Things you are thankful for
- Things you fear
- Story ideas
- Drawings

Write about anything you want. Just make sure that you write in the journal daily. It's easier to set aside the same time every day to write, so that you get in the habit of doing so.

You may consider writing at night, as it may help you unwind as you let your emotions loose on paper.

These daily entries, can be used as further inspiration for your stories and writings.

- Include your own goals and fears into your protagonist and antagonist.
- Include the traits of your friends, co-workers, and strangers, into those of your own characters.
- Use the stresses of your life, as the stresses in your plot.
- Exaggerate daily activities and personal thoughts/ emotions, and use them in your plot and characters to further conflict in your writing.

Just remember that this is a fun activity, so don't stress it, too much.

2. Dictionary, Thesaurus, or Other Book

Open a book to a random page. With your eyes closed, point to a place on the page. Open your eyes, and write down the word. Repeat the steps in choosing 2 more words, so that you have a total of 3 words.

Write for at least 15 minutes and make sure to incorporate each of the three words.

At the end of the 15 minutes, evaluate the piece.

Did the words generate a theme or idea in your writing?

Try to use the piece as a section in a larger piece of writing that you may be working on.

*NOTE: You may want to place the book on its spine and let it open its own. Let the pages settle on their own before you randomly choose a word.

3. Mind Dump

This is a simple exercise that allows you to just write freely without worry of punctuation or grammar.

There is no set time limit, you just write until you can't write any more.

You can consider anything to write about, whether it's the best part of your day or why you love your dog.

Some topics to consider include:

  • your favorite chair
  • an object you may take with you everywhere
  • father/mother's handwriting
  • first memory of school
  • as a child, something you looked forward to daily
  • college
  • a note that you would leave behind
  • first time you fell in love
  • what you would put in a time capsule
  • happiest/ saddest memory
  • rainbow
  • favorite Christmas
  • something you saw sitting on a bus/train

4. Starting Phrases

Keep a list of phrases that could start your imaginations wild. Pick a phrase and write for at least 10 minutes, nonstop.

A few phrases to start you off can include:

  • I don't remember...
  • I remember...
  • I have always...
  • I see...
  • I don't wonder...
  • I try not to...
  • I don't see...
  • I have never...
  • I know...
  • I don't know...
  • I don't want to...
  • I want to...
  • I wonder...
  • I try to...
  • I hate...
  • I love...

5. One Word Mahem

The object of this activity is to get your thoughts pumping. Given one word, you are to write as much as you can in ten minutes.

You can write anything you want, using the one word as a muse, so to speak. What you write does not necessarily have to be the main subject of what you write, but you must mention it in there somewhere, whether directly or indirectly.

Below you will find 20 random words that I have chosen. You can start the activity with these words, or you can look around the room and pick a random object to write about.

This activity will help you with your future writing, as it will allow you to take simple, everyday items, and find ways to use them in your writing. As, in many cases writing about far off ideals can be easier, while writing about simplistic products another challenge.

This activity will help you find ways to improvise your stories when you are at a block. You can even use the characters, settings, and feel of your current piece of work and integrate them into your ten minute trial.

These small pieces of writing can be altered, changed, and edited to fit into your story, giving it that added push that it may need.

11. shade
12. tears
13. movie
14. play
15. train
16. plane
17. vacation
18. stereo
19. chocolate
20. cookie

1. pillow
2. text-message
3. moon
4. cake
5. wine
6. celebration
7. vase
8. water
9. fire
10. tree

6. A Picture's Worth 1,000 Words

In this case, a picture may be worth more than 1,000 words. This particular exercise is to take any given picture (I've provided 20 below), and write for 10 minutes about that one picture. Write anything that comes to your mind.

If there are people in the picture:
- What are they thinking?
- What are they doing? Why?
- What are they feeling?
- Are they related? Friends? Strangers?

If there are animals in the picture:
- Are they someone's pet?
- What are they doing? Or have done?
- What are they thinking?

In pictures of scenery:
- What's happening in the picture?
- What's the weather?
- Who's taking the picture? Why are they there?

With this exercise, you will pull together various emotions, senses, and thoughts, in order to create a new story, a new a feel.

After practice of this activity, you will be able to turn around in your own, daily life and pull together the same emotions, senses, and thoughts. This new technique of creativity will allow you to bring daily life, situations, and scenes, into your writing.


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    • nochance profile image

      Chloe Davis Smith 5 years ago from Minnesota

      These exercises are wonderfully detailed. I'm gonna put this on my list to promote during National Novel Writing Month. Thank you.

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      You never know what you may enjoy. Writing will improve your skill. You just have to keep at it no matter what you're writing. Just write. Creative writing promps and activities will boost your imagination by far.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 8 years ago from India, Calcutta

      I will certainly try this Whitney05, going by your comment above it make me feel that it could be fun and I can give a try. There is nothing to loose but if I succeed I will learn new technique to improve my writing skills and also will be thankful to you. Moreover untill and unless I try it I will never know how good/bad it is. So I will go for it. Thanks for the reply comment

    • Whitney05 profile image

      Whitney 8 years ago from Georgia

      C.S.Alexis, you're absolutely right in that we freqeuntly forget the basics, and spending a little time having a break by playing a few writing game is usually a nice break from hardcore writing.

      packerpack, have you ever tried choosing a word and just start writing? I didn't think I could do it, but I played a game with myself for about a month. Every night before bed, I would pick a word out of a stack that I had. Whether it be cold, pillow, alcohol, pizza, whatever. And made myself write a full page each night. The next night, I would either pick a new word or continue the previous night's page for another page, but I would only let myself continue the previous night once. At the end of the week, I would draw from the week's words and write two full pages. The intent was for at the end of the month write 4 full pages after choosing a word from the weekly words. It was really fun, and I sure came up with some interesting stuff.

    • packerpack profile image

      Om Prakash Singh 8 years ago from India, Calcutta

      I liked your ideas. These are some very good tips and one can take up any tip as per wish as for example for me, I just cannot choose any 3 words and start writing at random. No, not that I do not enjoy writing but I don't think I have such vast knowledge that I can just start writing on anything. But yes. again the tips given are very good and useful

    • C.S.Alexis profile image

      C.S.Alexis 8 years ago from NW Indiana

      Sometimes we need hubs like this to remind us of how we turn something we love doing in to work. Getting back to basics is good for even the most practiced crafts-person. Thanks for sharing.

    • gfang profile image

      gfang 8 years ago from Southern California

      Great suggestions.