Why are writing exercises are so important? How often should you do writing exercises? Where do you look to find writing exercises?
First, I want to say that I love to write, but it doesn’t come without inspiration and a lot of hard work. Sometimes a writer has to write without inspiration to get the job done, but eventually writers do need to be re-inspired to find that spark of creativity that caused them to write in the first place. A great way to rediscover that spark is through writing exercises.
Every writer is different. Some writers need the jolt of a writing exercise every day before they begin writing. Others just need the help when beginning new projects or to come up with new project ideas. And there are others (like me) who only use writing exercises every once in a blue moon to take a break from regular writing so to relight the candle of creativity inside.
Want to know where to find writing exercises? They are everywhere waiting to be discovered. It depends on what you are looking for and what inspires you to write. Here’s a few traditional ways to come up with writing exercises: writing exercise books, inspiring photographs, writing prompts, writing exercise phone aps, and writing exercise websites. Other ways to get inspired: listen to music, take a walk and write about what you see, pick a stranger on the street and write about who you think they are, pick an object from around your home (a plate, apple, vacuum, ect.) and write a short scene from that object’s point of view, or simply attempt to write a story differently than usual.
Examples: If you usually write in third person, try writing a short scene in first person. If you are used to writing from a man’s perspective, try writing from a woman’s point of view.
The possibilities of the writing exercises you can do is only limited to your imagination. Also, don’t feel constrained by just one form of medium like using only a photograph or word prompt. In Writing Exercise: A Peacock’s Friend I combined the two to create one exercise.
Today, I’m going to do an exercise based off music. I decided on Elvis Presley’s “Blue Moon”. I listened to the song several times, as I did, I let images and words come to my mind. By the third pass through the song, a story began to form. I continued to replay the song as I wrote the following. Here are my results…
I stood in the dark alone under the great expanse of the blue moon. Its white light touched every inch of me as I felt its rays pierce my heart, revealing all my secrets. I shivered as a warm breeze caressed my cheek. A pain tightened in my chest to feel my naked soul exposed beneath the stars. I was not used to such rawness afflicting me. Usually, I pushed things like emotions and thoughts from my head. I was too busy to consider myself and my needs. Those things did not matter, at least that’s what I normally told myself. But tonight something had happened, something I’d not expected. I’d fallen in love.
I knew it the moment I saw her. She was a vision of beauty. Everything about her spoke of perfection, as if she’d been created just for me. Her slender form, her long black tresses, and that glint of mystery in her azure eyes. The moment I touched her hand I felt a fire rage through me from my fingers to my feet. It burned away the barrier I had created, leaving it a pile of charred ash, and yet, I did not fear the fall of my defenses. I simply glowed like I’d swallowed the sun and its heat filled me to capacity. I felt more alive in that one moment than I had ever in my life, but doubt crept in to eclipse my soul.
Love. What was that emotion, but something to hold a person back? Something to distract from the normal agenda. Something to be avoided to be successful, at least that was what I’d been taught by my mentor. Now I wondered. Was there a way? Could I be both in love and be a successful CEO of my own company? Could I circumvent my sacrifice of a personal life? Could I still realize my dream with the distraction of that pretty face luring me away from my responsibilities?
Surely not. I remembered Jerry and Kate. They’d been in love. It had been sickening to watch as they gave each other secret looks across the conference table and stolen kisses in the break room. They both had become so enamored with each other that their work declined to the point I was forced to fire them. And now here I stood contemplating the thing I ‘d never considered for myself, knowing the danger that lurked below the surface.
I looked up into the bright face of the moon, wishing for it to talk to me and tell me what I should do. But only silence came to me, as a symphony of crickets sang me a song of loneliness. I felt the crumpled paper in my hand. I looked down at its blaring whiteness in the dark. She’d given me her number. She expected me to call her. But would I? Could I bear the sacrifice of my hard earned career? Or maybe I would be different? Maybe I could still have a life and my dream job too? Maybe. Or maybe not. What would happen when one day that love faded, or disappeared all together? What would I have then? At least with my work, I’d know an accomplishment love could never give, and I would never be a slave to another person’s desires- and that I feared more than anything else.
I blew out a long breath and let the paper with her number fall from my grasp. I watched as the wind picked up the paper, causing it to dance away in the breeze. My heart constricted at the sight, but only for a moment. I turned to walk away from all the things that might have been, knowing I’d just thrown away something that only happened once in a blue moon.
Okay, so how about you? What kind of writing exercise will you do today?