It’s back-to-school season for many of us, and time to give ourselves some homework. Writing from prompts is an excellent way to keep your creative and craft muscles strong and limber. Whether writing exercises are the primary focus of your writing, or just a small part of a broader practice, they help you hone your skills while simultaneously stretching your imagination. It’s a win-win.
Each time I take a writing class, I am reminded just how effective writing exercises can be. Whether the assigned exercise is intended to spark the imagination through random association (e.g., write a story that involves a pelican, a key, and someone who has lost something or someone) or to challenge students with constraints (e.g. write a 100-word story in the second person), writing exercises work because they force us to focus on something. They are like a puzzle that needs solving. Even if it’s a tough puzzle, it’s easier to start with something than it is to start with nothing but a blank page.
You can find writing exercise prompts all over the place, but here are a couple of resources that I’ve found and can recommend:
Sarah Selecky’s Daily Writing Prompts: I have not yet treated myself to one of Sarah’s workshops, but I’ve heard great things. Meanwhile, I have subscribed to her daily writing prompts email and have been impressed by the variety of her exercises. Easy, free, and inspiring – doesn’t get much better than that.
The Write Practice Blog: This multi-author blog includes a “Practice” section at the end of each post. What’s helpful about this approach is that the post gives you some context, instruction, and examples that help you get the most out of the writing exercise assignment at the end. Great format!
So, there you go: writing exercises – do them.
(And, don’t forget to have fun!)
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content marketer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian and aerial arts (not at the same time), and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Join me each Saturday for the Weekend Edition (a fun post and great community of commenters on the writing life, random musings, writing tips, and good reads), or introduce yourself on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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