Anyone can be a writer. It’s one part talent, but it’s mostly a skill that can be developed with frequent repetition and a dedication to the process.
These simple writing exercises, below, are a great way to begin enhancing your writing skills or to maintain what you’ve already developed.
#1. The Adjective Exercise
The smart use of adjectives can bring a lot of extra detail into a story. Overusing adjectives lessens their importance, but excluding them creates description gaps.
In this exercise, look at one item within the room you’re in right now. Then list every adjective for the item that you’re looking at. Try to get at least 10 adjectives at minimum. Then find one adjective that sums up all of those descriptions.
#2. The Paragraph Exercise
Pick one person you meet today. It can be anyone: family, friends, or strangers. You’ve got three sentences in which to describe that person’s life in its entirety. What are you going to say?
Now here’s the catch. You can’t write huge run-on sentences for this paragraph. They can’t even be compound sentences. This forces you to be precise in the words that you use.
#3. The Collage Exercise
Put several words into a hat, a bowl, a bucket – any container. Mix them up so you don’t know what words you’ll pull out. Maybe have someone throw in a few pictures cut from a magazine for some added fun. Then write a short story about the item you’ve picked. Here’s the catch – the story has to be 200 words or less.
#4. Six Word Fiction Exercise
Can you tell a story with just six words? Trying to make that happen is the purpose of this simple writing exercise. You can also try variations of this exercise, like the Twitter exercise [writing a story in 140 characters or less].
#5. The 7x7x7 Exercise
This writing exercise is taught in many literature classes around the world because it is so effective. Pick a book, magazine, or other print publication. Go to the seventh page of what you’ve chosen. Now go to the seventh line of that page. Find the seventh word on that line. That will become the subject material for a 7 line poem you’re going to write.
At least you don’t have to follow any structures for the poem. There is a haiku variation of this exercse, however, that has you follow the 7-5-7 syllable rule that can be a lot of fun.
#6. Spin the Globe Exercise
Back in the day, it was a lot of fun to spin a globe to see where your finger would land when the spinning stopped. That can also become the basis of a great writing exercise. Where your finger stops becomes the location of a pretend memoir that happened to you there.
If you don’t have a globe, you can close your eyes and point to a place on an atlas. Or you can choose a random GPS position. Or have someone choose the location for you.
#7. Adopt a Pet Exercise
Let’s say you have an exotic “pet” that you’re trying to have someone adopt. Pick an animal you’d rather not have in your home, like a King Cobra or a Great White Shark. Now your job is to convince someone that your pet is so awesome that it deserves to become their next family pet.
#8. The Internet Meme Exercise
Have you noticed how many memes are being shared on Facebook these days? Or images that contain inspirational quotes? Your job in this exercise is to choose the first two memes that appear on your feed. You now have to create a poem or short story only using the words that have been used in that meme.
If you’re not on Facebook, any social media site feed will work if you’re receiving memes. If you don’t see memes, you can also use advertisements, the status updates that you see, or any other posted content.
#9. The Pandora Exercise
Pandora is a free online music streaming service that plays songs based on a genre or artist preference you have. You might also use Spotify, Apple Radio, or an old-fashioned FM radio for this exercise. It’s up to you.
The first song that you hear will become your subject material. Take the first line of the lyrics in that song and craft that into a short story. Then, when the next song comes on, take the first lyric and continue the story. Keep this exercise going for as long as you’d like.
These simple writing exercises are an easy way to keep developing your skills as a writer. Practice every day that you can and you’ll see a marked improvement in your writing in no time at all.