Writing Exercises

Sometimes all it takes to inspire your writing is a little direction. So for the days when you’re raring to write, but have no idea where to start, have a glance at my list of exercises.

Use them:

  • however you want
  • to create any kind of writing, be that poem, prose, or play
  • in private or shared

Who knows? They might be just the thing to get you started on that master piece.

  1. Take one of your favourite foods and write a short piece on where you first ate it.
  2. Find an image of a window (online, in a magazine or perhaps from your own collection of photographs). Write as if you are inside, looking out through that window. What can you see?
  3. Find two photographs of people whom you feel you can build a character from. Name your characters and provide some details (job, age, their special secret). Now, find a way to bring your characters together.
  4. Take a news article and use it as inspiration for a story.
  5. Whilst out on a journey this week, think of what might happen if you took a different route. Write about it.
  6. Choose a colour. Make a list of things you associate with that colour. Use your list, or just some of it, as inspiration for a piece of writing.
  7. Write an opening paragraph, scene or poetic verse, where the weather creates a mood.
  8. Imagine a maze. What does it look like? What purpose does it serve? Is there a centre to reach, or just an exit? Are the walls of the maze marked in hedge, brick or something else? Is it open to the elements or does it have a roof? Is it a happy place or scary? Are there distractions and surprises contained within?
  9. Write about a bridge. Is it real or imagined? Is it a pedestrian bridge, a rail bridge, or open to road traffic? What does it represent for you?
  10. Imagine yourself stranded indoors somewhere by the rain. Where are you? Are you on your own? Does the rain make you feel sad, or something else? Do you choose to stay indoors or are you prevented from leaving by something other than the rain?
  11. Write about some concept of ‘change‘, good or bad, voluntary or enforced.
  12. Choose twelve photographs, one for each month of the year. Now, weave those photographs into a story.
  13. Write about the concept of ‘grey‘. Uninspiring or mysterious? What does grey represent to you?
  14. Think of a bench somewhere. Is it a park bench, a garden bench, or perhaps a church pew? Add a cast to your bench. What would your bench story be about?
  15. Choose a door, imagined or real. Write a story around this door. Is it closed, open, or locked? Is it used or abandoned? How does the door make you feel?
  16. Choose a season. Write a piece about that season from the perspective of a person who is very different from you. What does that season mean to them?
  17. You’re at home alone. There’s a knock on the door. When you go to answer, nobody is around but on your doorstep is a box. What does the box look like? Do you bring it in? Do you open it? Who is it from? Is there a label? If you do open it, what is inside?
  18. Write about one, or both of these phrases – ‘Death hung on the wind‘ and ‘Life was but a breath away‘.