Post: 3 Writing Exercises For When You’re In A Slump

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Writing comes easily on some days, with words flowing effortlessly as your fingers fly across the keyboards. Other days, the idea of writing feels about as thrilling as getting a tooth pulled. Unfortunately as a writer, you need to find a way to get to work even on the days when your craft is not calling to you. One of the best ways to get your mind in the mood to write is by doing a few writing exercises.

A good writing exercise has a few components. First, it shouldn’t be that hard for you to do. If it feels like it’s taking too much effort to get started with it, try moving on to a different exercise. Second, it should help open up your creativity. Lastly, a great writing exercise is one that will actually help you move on to the task at hand—your own writing!

Stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness—or free writing—is perhaps one of the easiest writing exercises out there. As the name implies, it involves letting your thoughts stream out onto the page. You’ll need a few things for this exercise:

  • A timer
  • A computer or notebook
  • Somewhere private (enough)

All you need to do is set a timer (5 minutes is a good place to start) and then just…write! Anything and everything that comes to mind is fair game. Don’t pay any mind to spelling, grammar or even punctuation, just write! Once the timer goes off, you’re done. No need to reread what you wrote or even keep it. If you’d like, you can throw it in the trash or keep it in a separate document on your computer.

Get into character

If you are struggling with your own writing, working with an already established character can give your brain the break it needs. Think of your favorite book, TV show or movie character and plop them into a new scene or situation. Ask yourself what would happen if that character:

  • Reached the end of the lunch line and forgot his or her lunch money
  • Was hired to pilot a spaceship
  • Received a letter detailing a secret plot for his or her death

If you’ve ever heard of or read fan fiction then this exercise may already sound familiar. However, this exercise isn’t intended to set you on the path of writing fan fiction. All it’s meant to do is help blossom your creativity while working with a beloved character.

Try a writing prompt

Looking for a little more guidance in your writing exercise? Then a writing prompt might be more up your alley. A prompt may be a brief suggestion or include specific instructions for characters, settings and plots.

You can find writing prompts almost anywhere on the internet. One of the best things about writing prompts is that they give you an opportunity to write outside your normal genre or comfort level. With that said, if you are just getting started, you might want to stick to what is familiar, but don’t be scared to try something new!

Writing exercises are one of the best tools to have in your writer’s tool kit. Not only can they help you get going on a day when writing feels like a drag, but they can also help improve your overall craft. Just like athletes who cross-train to boost their performance, writing exercises that push you outside of your comfort zone can boost your creativity and your skill as a writer.