How to improve your writing skills with writing exercises
Just like any other skill, writing needs to be practiced and perfected over time. You can do it by means of writing exercises, which not only allow you to train your skill, but also provide new ways of tackling certain issues and problems. They will invigorate your mind and grant you a new approach towards your writing. Here are some stimulating writing exercises that will help you break your writing routine and come up with fresh and creative ideas.
Sometimes it’s best to switch sides for a while and become a reader again. If you’re struggling to write a fantasy book, pick up a classic like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter and immerse yourself in the fictional worlds of other writers. Reading is relaxing and it will eventually help you delve into your own imagination.
Choose a noun, adjective and verb, as random as possible. Then try to come up with a story that will use all three in a creative way. If you know a fellow writer who’d like to join in, you can easily turn this into a multiplayer exercise by exchanging these three items and commenting on each other’s work.
Get in the mood
If a section of your writing becomes troublesome, there’s nothing more inspiring than immersing yourself in the world of your own making through music. Pick songs relevant to the atmosphere of the scene you’re writing about, put on your headphones and get your creative juices flowing. You can find music for free on platforms like Pandora.com or Grooveshark.com.
Writing a credible and natural dialogue between characters can sometimes be difficult. Sit in a park, café or any other public place and listen. You’ll hear hundreds of conversations around you. Note down your impressions about how regular people communicate – you can share them later with other writers. Bonus point: if you fancy a creativity exercise, try to find someone talking over the phone and spontaneously come up with the missing pieces of dialogue.
Play with writing prompts
If you’re stuck and out of fresh ideas, try responding to a writing prompt. A prompt can be a word, a set of words, a whole paragraph, one sentence, a description or a picture. Use it as an inspiration to jot down some ideas and then incorporate the prompt into a coherent and interesting story.
Change your perspective
When writing a story, you usually take up the perspective of a character in your narrative. Here’s how you can easily mix it up and come up with a fresh take on your story – change your point of view. Instead of describing events through the eyes of someone immersed in the plot, try to invent a new character, who accidentally witnesses some crucial happenings and formulates their own conclusions about them.
Try a new genre
Some writers stick to one genre, others like to experiment. If you usually write romances, have a go at a detective or adventure story. Switch from fiction to non-fiction – get out of your comfort zone and explore all the possibilities offered by the forms of writing you’ve never tried. It’s more inspiring than you think.
There’s no better method for refreshing your style and tone of writing than a bunch of good writing exercises. Don’t forget that writing is not just about great ideas – it’s also a concrete and valuable skill, helping you to represent imaginary realities or express your thoughts in a clear manner.
Tess Pajaron is a Community Manager at Open Colleges, an online learning provider based in Sydney, Australia. She has a background in Business Administration and Management.