Fun Exercises for Creative Writers

New prompts for creative writers to help get you writing.

Select an object, place it on a table in front of you and write for a few minutes from that perspective. Get up and move to another place at the table. That allows you to see the object from a different perspective and write a few minutes from that perspective. I particularly like puzzles when doing this exercise and moving around the table so every side of the puzzle can have a few minutes written from that perspective. This also helps you put a puzzle together when it seems you are not able to spot where the pieces belong. Seeing the puzzle from one of the other views will help you begin to work on puzzle placement again.

Observation on an object. This one you can begin by doing on a small object and work your way up in size. Take any object from your room: your bedroom, your living room, your dining room, your bathroom. Place it on a table or a chair or a stool in front of you sit in front of it and observe this object. As you observe the object write about the object. For some people this will work as a straightforward description of it as an object. Then describe it as what your mom would say, or your dad, or one of your other family members. You will find everyone will have a different observation because they bring their own psychology, their own philosophy, their own inward feelings, their own outlook, and they project this onto this object. This can give you an insight into your own self, but it also gives you an insight into the environment and what this item can mean to different people. Now work your way up to a bigger object. Try it with different objects, take it out onto the street and observe a building.

Pretend you are serving in an apprenticeship: ex: there are many apprenticeships, plumbing, carpentry, sculpting, painting. Ask yourself what might be the things you would learn from each of these apprenticeships. Use those descriptions in your writing.

  • Make a list of 10 people, occupations, jobs. You can have banker, baker, carpenter, electrician, dentist, artist, football player. You get the picture.
  • Second list is a place. So 10 places. Like a restaurant or cafe, being in bed, book shop, bank, airplane, an airport, a ship.
  • Next is a list of things. Objects, noise, a baseball bat, a mobile phone, a candle, a hammer, a guitar, a balloon, a packet of gum, again you get the idea.
    The next part of the exercise is: take your ten people, cut the list up, put each name into a hat and you draw out 1 person. Then cut up your list of places, put them all in a hat and draw out 1 place. Cut up your list of things, put them in the hat and draw out 1 thing.
  • You then have a person, in a place doing one thing. Write about that. Keep going until you have the ten of them as a start to little adventures, little stories, little short projects. It could develop into an idea that sparks off a whole story or book for you. Great for you to practice creating your skills for stories about person, place, thing.

Next is called I am this. What you do is your version. Must contain metaphors. Ten lines with metaphors that tell us who you are. EX: Detroit you know what you are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ who you are _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ Remember use metaphors. This is a good exercise for getting you into knowing how to use figurative language. Try different cities, events and situations.

Next exercise is the sounds of your neighborhood, or your childhood, or the place where you grew up. You can, of course, use it for the place where you live now and what you do there. This will help you in describing places and what is important about them.

Sound is a thing that is often underused or overlooked in creative writing. Think of the sounds of your childhood, of the place where you grew up, of your mother’s voice, of your father’s belching, of your grandmother’s laugh. Sounds that may no longer be around, kids games that are no longer played, music that you heard growing up.

Next is called the difference of place. You go to a place let’s say a restaurant or a museum and you write down (bring a notepad or your iPad or your phone or whatever you use) a description of this place. When you describe the place don’t just give a straightforward description of the architecture, for instance. Give us the sounds, give us the colors, give us the details, give us the textures of the place, give us the atmosphere of the place, the energy of the place. Places have a feeling, places have a life of themselves so go to this place, this museum, describe it in detail, in immense detail as much as you can write down.

Read it to yourself, go through it, edit it down, rewrite it, and put it in your descriptions file. Then as you go next week to another place, a place that is very different than the museum or the cafe. It could be a park, it could be a church, a church that’s empty or a church that’s full you could do both of those one after the other and what’s the difference between a full and empty.

Have a look you have these two different descriptions and you’ll see the difference that different places have. What is the setting of your novel, what is the setting of your book, your character may emerge from this, a story may emerge from this, a whole book may emerge from this.

Use a Creative Writing Journal

How to use a creative writing journal. Write anything that comes to mind which isn’t directly related to your life. Story ideas, locations, characters, random thoughts, start with and use your ideas to start to write your story. You are going to add the plot and events. Jot down what your goals are. Use all of those things on your list to construct a short story.

Pick a word out of your journal entries and write a paragraph or a little short story, either including that word or based on that word. These are called word prompts.

Write several stories coming from completely different directions. Then write more conversations and dialogues to match the different stories you are creating. If you have a character collection, start changing out your stories and see if the plot changes in your writing. Look for words to help you find inspiration. Write down loads of observations about the country and people you are introducing to your story.

Write down little prompts as you think of them or they can escape from you. Think of a name, age, apparent talents, something your character would totally do, something they definitely wouldn’t do, professional aspirations and their biggest regrets. Keep colecting these short senerios. They can be added as you are inspired.

Read a little of what you have done and then sprinkle in some of your inspirations to enhance your plot. If you are part way through the writing when you have to stop, you have it in your journal and can start again when you have another time you can write.

Sometimes you will end up putting several of your short stories together. It can be interesting how they blend. No right or wrong, just keep having fun with your words, story lines, characters and your finished projects.

Fun Creative Writing Exercises

If you feel like you have a lot of pent-up creative energy in you, here are some tips. If you don’t do anything creative for a while you might tend to get kind of artistically frustrated. If you have a bigger project, occasionally sit down and do short creative writing activities just to release some of the pent up energy. Put something on a page practice, then go back to your bigger project.

For ideas look at random pictures, look at a Wikipedia page about the subject you are writing about. On the left there is a link called random article. You can click on it then write for five minutes about the article. You might use that short writing project to rewrite an important scene in your book from a different characters point of view. You can also write each chapter in multiple perspectives to choose the one that fits best for telling the story. you get to know each character a lot better and it makes the story more complex and deeper. Those different ideas just might shine through at different moments.

This next activity is really fun. It’s kind of like found treasure. Pick two different things you can print out like two different newspaper or magazine articles. Cut both of the articles in half and put the halves together. See what you can add or subtract to come up with a story you like. Just have fun.

Description overload can be a problem. Using too many adjectives doesn’t mean you are a good writer or a creative writer. Come up with a very bare-bones description. Look at it to see what might need to be added to have the story more clear to your reader.

Make your writing more exciting using the five senses. Describe what your characters smell, what they felt or, what they heard. How can you describe things in a way that’s interesting and makes the reader feel like they’re actually there. That seems like a very simple thing to do and a very like obvious thing, but it can be interesting. Taking a second to stop and think about what all of your senses are feeling. Take your main character and think about everything that he or she is experiencing in that moment.

Have someone give you three numbers. Go to one of your bookshelves. For the first number, count off how many books. For the second number use it for the page. for the third number find the sentence. Time yourself for five to ten minutes and use that sentence as the first sentence in your writing exercise. Keep writing from that point.

These are great creative writing exercises. You might find you are writing for a lot longer than you originally planned. Sometimes it even ends up being a short story and that is really exciting when that happens.

Five Creative Writing Exercises I Love

I like to sit down and do creative writing activities just to release some creative energy and to put something on the page. That is something that was and is always a lot of fun.

I like to look at random image generators or just look at random pictures. Sometimes you can go on photo and image sites that are free like pixabay.com

Say you decide you are going to write for five minutes about a picture. Click a few times to get a picture that kind of sparks something for you to start writing about. I would probably pick that one I know that would lead to a pretty good five minutes of writing.

This next one is something that I love to use in workshops.  It’s rewriting an important scene in a book from a different characters point of view. This is often what many writers do. They also write each chapter with multiple perspectives and choose the one that fits best for telling the story.

That is a ton of work but it’s also really cool because you get to know each character a lot better and it makes the story more complex and deeper.  It changes the perspective of how you see the story.

This next activity is really fun it’s kind of like found poetry. I first did this activity in a creative writing class.  Here’s how you do this activity: pick two different things you can draw from. People standing in a line at the airport. I started going a little crazy I was always a happy kid but the air mixes with fuel and burns to make hot gases, suddenly I couldn’t breathe. Learning to be a person again from inside the airport, we can see our plane take off again to fly to another destination.  People do all sorts of things on a plane when you’re five you feel like you love people you don’t even know. Can you see them? There’s a life jacket under every seat and once you do get through your airport experience you go on with life. With this activity sometimes you can  add things on. When you read it you might find how amazing the writing is that  came out of that. What ideas and what different interpretations you came  up with. I really like that activity.

I call description overload a problem. I saw with my students they thought using a lot of adjectives means they’re a good writer or a creative writer. I would suggest  a very bare-bones  scene like you walk up to an abandoned building, you stand and look at it. You walk in the front door, you turn to the right and see a locked door. You find a key on the floor and open it. What’s inside the room? What they would have to do is make their writing more exciting using the five senses.  I’d ask them to describe what they smelled, what they felt, what they heard, just anything you can think of regarding the scene. What I liked about this is how different each student’s scene ended up. It was interesting to see what kind of building they thought it was and what they thought it looked like. I still think about that when I’m writing. Instead of just using adjectives, how can I describe things in a way that’s interesting and makes the reader feel like they’re actually there. That seems like a very simple thing to do and a very obvious thing, but it can be interesting.

Taking a second to stop and think about what all of your senses are feeling.  Take your main character and think about everything that he or she’s experiencing in that moment.

My final one I know is on different creative writing activity lists, but I like having someone give me three numbers and then I go to a bookshelf at a library or a bookstore. Go to a library or bookstore and go to one of the isles. For the first number I count off how many books. If they give me a number like a twenty,  find that number book. Then the second number I use for the page and then the third number I use for the sentence. I generally like them to use one through twenty for the first and the third number and that’s pretty helpful or I could just do it myself and write down without thinking about the books, three numbers. Then I timed myself for like five to ten minutes and just use that sentence as my first sentence and then keep writing from that point so I’m going do that now. Ready? I’m going to go with 7, 47, 5.  Pick a shelf of books, count down to book 7. Turn to page 47 and count to sentence 5. Take that sentence and make it the start of whatever I was writing.  Then I would to write.  I like this activity again for the random aspect of it. Sometimes when you sit down to write, coming up with the beginning to get started is the hardest part. If you start with something like a sentence it’s generally easier to get going.

I hope you took something from this article. I just wanted to share some of my favorite creative writing exercises and generally what I do if I just want to sit down and do something quick without really working on a bigger project. In the past these activities have led me to write for a lot longer than I was originally planning.  Sometimes it even ends up being a short story and it is really exciting when that happens