4 Left-Brain Exercises to Jumpstart Your Writing

Author:
Publish date:

As writers, we're constantly on the hunt for new ideas but sometimes we may not be looking in the right places or simply need to refresh our writing routine. If you are looking for writing inspiration, read this excerpt from Your First Novel and find new ways to challenge yourself and your writing.

how to find writing inspiration | writing exercises

Only about one out of every billion humans will sit down one day, having never written a word, and produce a masterpiece. Writing is mostly practice. Think of the number of laps a track star runs before she breaks a record, or the number of hours a dancer spends at the barre before he’s ready for a performance. There’s nothing wrong with hoping your first draft will be brilliant—hope is required—but know that it’s normal to need to practice before you succeed.

Writing exercises give you something else to focus on so you don’t trip over this word or that comma. You want to keep your eye on your idea. Here are some exercises to warm up your right brain and satisfy your left brain’s desire for a workout.

  • Timed Writing Sessions. Find a timer—your watch alarm, an egg timer, but not an hourglass—you want it to make noise so you don’t break concentration by glancing up to see if you’ve gone on too long. Set the timer to fifteen minutes and start writing. It doesn’t matter what you write—no one need ever see it. You can write about your characters or what you dreamed the night before. The trick is to keep your fingers moving on the keys or your pencil scratching on the paper. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. Don’t stop to think or rewrite. Just write at full speed. Now read it. You might end up with a great sentence or idea for your novel, or you might have nothing you want to save, but it doesn’t matter. The point was to warm you up.
  • Journals. Write in a journal or diary each day before starting to work on your novel. It doesn’t matter if you write a list of what happened the day before or your innermost fantasies—the act of putting words on paper is warming you up.
  • Vocalization. You can literally talk aloud to yourself, or you can dialogue with yourself or your characters on paper. Talk to your novel. Ask where it hurts. Don’t be surprised when it starts answering back. Play truth or dare with your hero. Play twenty questions with your villain.
  • Books on Tape. You can turn your commute to the office into a grown-up story time. Browse your public library. Look for research materials, novels in your genre, and writers who inspire you.

Stay tuned for more writing exercises from Your First Novel!

Buy the book now!

ryoji-iwata-QKHmi6ENAmk-unsplash

I Spy

Every writer needs a little inspiration once and a while. For today's prompt, someone is watching your narrator ... but there's a twist.

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

Brian Freeman: On "Rebooting" Another Writer's Legacy

In this article, Brian Freeman, author of Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Treachery, discusses how he took up the mantle of a great series and made it his own.

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Sole vs. Soul (Grammar Rules)

Learn how to distinguish the sole from the soul with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

How to Make the Most of a Virtual Writing Workshop or Conference

In this brave new world of virtual learning and social distance, Kristy Stevenson helps us make the most of the virtual conference.

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

When Is Historical Accuracy Inaccurate?

Writers of historical fiction must always ride the line between factual and fictitious. Here, author Terry Roberts discusses how to navigate that line.

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

What Is Creative Nonfiction in Writing?

In this post, we look at what creative nonfiction (also known as the narrative nonfiction) is, including what makes it different from other types of fiction and nonfiction writing and more.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Four WDU Courses, a Competition Deadline Reminder, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce four WDU courses, a Competition deadline reminder, and more!

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask: What Is Going to Be the Next Big Trend in Fiction?

Funny You Should Ask is a humorous and handy column by literary agent Barbara Poelle. In this edition, she discusses the next big fiction trend, and whether or not all books are the same.

From Script

A Change in Entertainment Business Currency and Disrupting Storytelling with Historical Significance (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, learn about how crypto currency is making a wave in the entertainment business, what percentages really mean in film financing, the pros and cons of writing partnerships, an exclusive interview with three-time NAACP Image Awards nominee, co-creator and former showrunner of CBS’ 'S.W.A.T.' Aaron Rahsaan Thomas and more!