Ten Awesome Creative Writing Exercises
If you're a writer, you know how important it is to get the creative juices flowing. Sometimes though, even the best writers need a little inspiration to keep their minds, words and perspectives sharp.
These creative writing exercises challenge writers to look at the world in a slightly different way and encourage them to capture their thoughts and feelings.
These exercises are a great way for you to get past writer's block and get the creative juices flowing again. They will help you to write if you get stuck, engage your imagination and help you to get in the right frame of mind to write.
Ten exercises for the imagination
- Wikipedia and the joy of randomness
- The definition game
- Write the end before the beginning
- Describing by name
- The most mundane things
- A first-person narrative
- You can give it life
- Alphabet soup
- A picture is worth a thousand words
- Short and sweet
1. Wikipedia and the joy of randomness
Go to Wikipedia and hit 'Random Article'. You need to write a first person narrative, featuring you and the subject of the article in some way. The more alternative and strange you can make this, the better.
For an extra challenge, hit 'Random Article' twice. Try to link the subjects of each article together in a paragraph, and if you're feeling very creative, feature yourself in the narrative.
2. The definition game
Get a dictionary or find some other book that contains words where you don't know all of the definitions. Read through the dictionary or book until you find a word that you don't know.
Once you've found one, write an imaginary definition for the word, being as creative as possible. Once you've done that, look up the actual definition. For an extra challenge, take the two definitions and try to find a way to link them together creatively in a sentence.
3. Write the end before the beginning
If you're writing a short story, novel or other piece of creative fiction, stop writing in a linear way. Instead, open up a new document and write the conclusion of the story right now.
It doesn't matter how unusual or outlandish you make it; try to see where each character and situation ends up.
4. Describing by name
Think of a family member or a friend. You now have to write a description of them in sentences, but the main adjective, noun or verb on each sentence has to start with consecutive letters of their name.
For example: 'Mary Jones has a magical smile, an appreciation of tiny things, a sense of the ridiculous and a yearning for the past. She is filled with joy, can be slightly ostentatious, is far from normal, makes friends easily and is not self-conscious.'
5. The most mundane things
Write an interesting poem or short story about a boring subject. This could be the dinner you ate last night, the thing that's currently closest to your right foot, the second story on the eighth page of the newspaper or something else equally banal. It doesn't matter if the poem is boring as well!
6. A first-person narrative
Narrate out loud, to yourself, something that you routinely do. This could be getting ready for work in the morning, cooking an evening meal, going grocery shopping or something similar.
For an extra challenge, try to narrate what you are doing in a particular style, for example as a 'Film Noir', a trailer, a poem or a morality play.
7. You can give it life
Choose an inanimate object that you can see from your window or in your room right now.
Imagine that the object had a life and perspective all of its own and write about what it can understand, from its point of view.
8. Alphabet soup
Write a story where each sentence begins with a different letter of the alphabet. Start the first five sentences with each of the vowels, and the next 21 sentences with each of the consonants.
9. A picture is worth a thousand words
Collect random images, either from an online image search, by cutting them out from a newspaper or magazine or by hitting 'Random Article' on Wikipedia.
When you have a collection of five or six images, write a story about each of them and try to link the stories together.
10. Short and sweet
Pick a genre, for example drama, action, comedy etc. Your task is to write a story in twenty words or fewer that captures the essence of that genre.
For example, for 'action' you might write: 'He plummeted from the plane, grasping at the ripcord, he prayed the chute would open. It was his last chance.' Make the sentence as evocative as possible.
Catching creative writing ideas
If you're a writer, how do you get creative?
These creative writing exercises will help you to think about things slightly differently and hopefully change your perspective.
Used regularly, they can banish writer's block and let you focus on putting some remarkable words down on paper.