Skip to main content

Exercises to keep you writing through the weekend

I’ll be writing a lot this weekend. My second submission for my fiction workshop is due on Monday.This time, I plan to submit a revision, rather than something brand new. It’s a story I’ve been working on and I just feel done with it…. I read somewhere that when revisions stop improving a story and just make the story different, you know it’s time to bid the story farewell. You’ve done your best with it. The thing is: sometimes our best isn’t enough. I’ve realized this lately, that not all stories will see the light of day, will be published. That some are just part of the practice, stepping stones towards better, deeper, truer work. So, I shall give this story its final workshop, a sort of tribute to it, the final improvement and then I’ll send it out into the world. And I’ll move on.

To get into the writing groove this weekend, to get my revision on, I plan to warm up with a lot of writing exercises. Not only do these exercises really stretch my writing muscles, but they also nudge my imagination, slowly waking it up; they allow you to you sort of hitch into your unconscious. Here are two good ones:

1.This comes from Julia Cameron, from her book The Right to Write.(Please note that I’m paraphrasing here) Pick 5 objects in your home and describe them in a nonsensical manner, just write whatever comes to you. Write what the objects remind you of; the first words or phrases you think of. Don’t think too hard about it… For example, I chose bird chime and what I wrote was: reminds me of a vortex, the country, a piece of art. I want to play with it. THEN, choose 5 different objects and describe them with meaning, apply nostalgia to them. The goal is to get to the heart of things, to make a true connection. I chose beach rock and wrote this: I think of the girls, their stringy blond hair hard with salt. I think of their laughter and innocence. I think of home, true home, where life always seems blue sky, postcard good. This is a great exercise. It helps me connect to that deeper place… you think a lot about diction, language, about metaphor, simile, images...

2.Okay, second exercise: Fold a piece of paper in half. Write VERBS on the top of one side, NOUNS on the other. Next, choose two different professions. I chose cook and carpenter.Under the verb column, write verbs that associate with one profession (cook). Do the same for the noun column with the second profession (carpenter).After you have a list of 10 verbs & 10 nouns, you must write a sentence including a verb and noun from the same column. (Make sure you don’t look at the other column when you’re originally writing the list out). This is a great exercise, too, makes you think about word choice, originality, strong verbs, sentence structure, rhythm, and much more.

Happy writing, everyone and have a great weekend! Oh, and if there's any more "best writing advice I've received," drop it in the comments section. I want to add some more to the collection before posting them next week.

“I never know when I sit down, just what I am going to write.I make no plan; it just comes, and I don’t know where it comes from.”

-D.H. Lawrence

From Our Readers

What Book Ended in a Way That You Didn’t Expect but Was Perfect Anyway?: From Our Readers (Comment for a Chance at Publication)

This post announces our latest From Our Readers question: What book ended in a way that you didn’t expect but was perfect anyway? Comment for a chance at publication in a future issue of Writer's Digest.

From Script

A Deep Emotional Drive To Tell Stories (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, read interviews with filmmakers Wendey Stanzler and Maria Judice. Plus a one-on-one interview with Austin Film Festival’s executive director Barbara Morgan.

Paul Tremblay: On Starting With the Summary

Paul Tremblay: On Starting With the Summary

Award-winning author Paul Tremblay discusses how a school-wide assembly inspired his new horror novel, The Pallbearers Club.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: An Interview with Steven Rowley and Jessica Strawser, 5 WDU Courses, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce our interview with Steven Rowley and Jessica Strawser, 5 WDU courses, and more!

Writer's Digest Best Everything Agent Websites for Writers 2022

Writer's Digest Best Everything Agent Websites for Writers 2022

Here are the top websites by and about agents as identified in the 24th Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2022 issue of Writer's Digest.

Ashley Poston: On Love, Death, and Books

Ashley Poston: On Love, Death, and Books

Author Ashley Poston discusses how she combined her love of ghost stories, romance, and books into her new romance novel, The Dead Romantics.

Choosing Which Movements To Put in Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Choosing Which Movements To Put in Your Fight Scene (FightWrite™)

Trained fighter and author Carla Hoch discusses how much of a fight's details to actually put into a story, and how even with fight scenes sometimes less is more.

5 Research Tips for Writing Historical Fiction, by Piper Huguley

5 Research Tips for Writing Historical Fiction

Author Piper Huguley shares her five research tips for writing historical fiction that readers love and writers love as well.

Announcing 40 More Plot Twist Prompts for Writers!

Announcing 40 More Plot Twist Prompts for Writers!

Learn more about 40 Plot Twist Prompts for Writers, Volume 2: ALL NEW Writing Ideas for Taking Your Stories in New Directions, by Writer's Digest Senior Editor Robert Lee Brewer. Discover fun and interesting ways to move your stories from beginning to end.