Skip to content

Try these writing (and reading) exercises to hone your skills

Musicians riff and play scales to practice. Athletes have training routines. Why shouldn’t writers do writing exercises? Sometimes, a writing exercise turns into a poem or short story or becomes the seed of a novel or essay.

Writing exercises offer a way to experiment without the pressure of “getting it right.” They can prompt ideas for your work in progress and warm you up to write for an extended period. If you’re facing a blank page, a writing exercise might be the way in to something new.

Daily writing exercises help establish a routine. The hardest thing about working on a goal can be getting started, whether it’s exercising or writing. Just getting to the gym, putting your running clothes on and stepping out the door, or sitting down in front of your computer or notebook is the first step. Once you’re there, the rest isn’t so hard. And once you’re done with the “workout,” doesn’t it feel great?

Try this exercise: Find a random object in your house. It could be a souvenir you brought home from a vacation, a piece of art, a gift someone gave you, or a memento from your childhood. Write for 10 minutes about the object. Write about what it means to you, how you acquired it, why you keep it. Tell this object’s story.

Author Cristina Garcia reads to warm up for her writing time. She reads poetry for 20 minutes to two hours. To see how you can use this in your writing practice, read Two exercises to help you write poetically.

To find exercises in which you use your work in progress as the backdrop, read these posts by Carol Despeaux:

What makes a good metaphor?

How to create your own dialogue cue practice

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Reblogged this on Mandyevebarnett's Blog and commented:
    Coddle – definition: 1) to treat tenderly : pamper 2) to cook in water just below the boiling point

    We all enjoy being pampered in some way. It could be an all inclusive vacation resort, breakfast in bed, a night out with friends, a spa experience or a afternoon reading a book in the sunshine. Our writing can also benefit from some pampering. Try these exercises:

    August 19, 2013
  2. I never thought about reading to warm up for writing. I do know that some writers and their style always make my motivated to write, and I never get to read them for very long because I always have to put the book down and go write.

    This is a simple, great start for working on writing routines. I’ll take it. Thank you!

    August 22, 2013
  3. bhadravathi #

    This post serves as an inspiration to write, thank you

    September 6, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. One week in – changing my writing challenge… | Blank pages and books
  2. Writing Exercise : Let The Image Inspire You | Sara Crawford's Writing Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: