How writing exercises can improve your work

Men doing stretches, 1898

I have always been the kind of writer who likes to jump straight into the work. For me, writing exercises were a distraction.

Until I joined a playwriting group.

Suddenly, quick exercises weren’t a hindrance – they were an asset. A chance to put pressures to one side, roll up my sleeves and get creative.

Can’t think of a character? Do a writing exercise.

Ideas have dried up? Do a writing exercise.

Blank page playing with your mind? Do a writing exercise.

You get the idea.

Ideas generation

It doesn’t matter if you’re a playwright or a poet – sometimes every writer feels as if their ideas have dried up. At times like this, an injection of creativity can be a big help.

You never know – a simple idea that comes from five minutes’ furious scribbling may blossom into a winning story.

Writer’s block

A good way to beat writer’s block is to give your writing skills a warm-up before you get going.

Additionally, taking a few minutes out to do an exercise can be a good way to help you step back from a project.

Improve your skills

As with any skill, practice makes perfect. If you don’t have time to sit and write for hours at a time, you may be able to spare five minutes to do a quick writing exercise.

Writing exercises enable you to let go. There’s no expectation to produce anything from them, and therefore they provide a perfect chance to experiment.

If you have a new style or technique that you’d like to try out, then have a go at incorporating it.

Learn to let go

One of the biggest challenges for writers is learning to distance ourselves from the work. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about your writing – after all, there’s no fun in reading work with no soul. However, putting too much pressure on yourself can feel suffocating and increases the risk getting the dreaded writer’s block.

By doing a writing exercise, you force yourself to work to a tight deadline. You also remove the pressure to produce dazzling copy on the first draft – a good practice to get into for professional writing.

Summary

Writing exercises can help you in more ways than you expect.

For example, they allow you to:

  • Generate ideas
  • Overcome writer’s block
  • Experiment with new techniques
  • Practice writing to deadlines

Like my blog? You can follow me on Twitter at @jrcopywriting

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One Comment on “How writing exercises can improve your work

  1. Pingback: Weekly writing exercise #3 | Jenny Ross

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