The dreaded writer’s block, it creeps up on you sometimes and before you know it, it binds your thoughts and fills your head with white, cloudy nothingness. How to prevent it? Start writing with a clear writing exercise in mind.
When I was cleaning up my bookshelves to prepare for my big move to a proper grown-up house, I stumbled upon some writing exercises from my old minor Creative Writing.
I immediately remembered the fun I had while executing them and how it helped me become better at writing and finding inspiration for articles. So, of course, I would love to share!
Have a look at the exercises I loved the most:
Write down what you can’t hear
Write a dialogue between two people, where the character shines through the words they use. When you read a good short dialogue, you can actually hear the voice of the whining woman on the train who is arguing with her husband, the cheerfulness in the screams of your baby nephew and the deep voice of your wise high-school teacher.
Find various words
Do you like challenges? Then this exercise is one for you:
Write 200 words, without using the letter e. Don’t despair, it can be done: Georges Perec was the first one to pull it off, with his literary novel La Disparition, about the disappearance of the letter e.
Yes, yes, I love you, but now I’m going to do the dishes
Love. It’s such an intense subject, that it’s hard to talk about. When you want to talk about big emotions, it is better to let your characters talk about the weather, cooking dinner or cleaning the house. Add emotion to the dialogue and you’ll see, it will work a lot better. Write a dialogue between two lovers, keeping this advice in mind.
The devil is in the details
You don’t need a lot of words to show a lot. Writing is editing, and the devil is in the details. What do you write down and what do you leave out? Write a scene in a story where you carefully consider the feeling and the tension you want to transmit. Want to know how it’s done? Read the stories of John Cheever.
Always keep your eyes open
If you write a lot, it can be hard to find new subjects every single time. It’s good to remind yourself that inspiration is everywhere, as long as you keep your eyes open. For this exercise, browse through your favorite blogs, read a couple of newspapers and take a short walk to work. Keep your eyes open while doing so and try to find a story somewhere, something that really sparks your interest. Use your imagination and create a story from 500 words about the subject.
Made with eternal gratefulness to all my inspiring teachers, who came up with these mind-boggling challenges. Thank you!
This article is a fresh take on an article that was published earlier on Chapter Friday. And it’s more relevant than ever. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did when we rediscovered it!