I’m preparing to rewrite my second novel (again) so thought I’d limber up with some writing exercises, get the old fiction juices flowing. I’ll share the instructions for each exercise and the results, and you can ‘write along’ with me, if you like. Note: I’m doing these exercises longhand and then typing them up –… Continue reading Writing Exercise: What’s in a Word?
Another writing exercise to get the juices flowing! This time we’ll explore five of our favourite words – these could be any word you like or whatever is rattling around inside your head at the moment. Try to choose words that are concrete rather than abstract, words that point to something real, not an idea.… Continue reading Writing Exercise: Five Favourite Words
This writing exercise is a way to challenge yourself and have fun at the same time. The idea is to pick three random words, the more disconnected from each other the better, and then add an emotion. Then you write for ten minutes and incorporate all the words in a way that conveys the emotion… Continue reading Writing Exercise: Random Story Generator
This exercise uses a newspaper headline as a starting point for a piece of writing. It’s not about trying to write something perfect or even interesting, just take a headline from a newspaper or online and see what ideas it triggers. Allow your pen to go with the flow of whatever comes up and write… Continue reading Writing Exercise: Newspaper Headline
There are loads of exercises you can do that use acrostics to give your writing brain a work out. These kind of word games rarely produce anything useful but they can help you to get unstuck if you don’t know what to write. They’re also good for encouraging you to think of a variety of… Continue reading Writing Exercise: Fun with Acrostics!
Ideas for novels often spring from unexpected places. The seed that became the sprout that grew into my latest novel arrived in the form of a disappointingly bad writing exercise. The exercise itself wasn’t the problem. You just had to take the opening line of a novel and then continue to write for half an… Continue reading How a bad writing exercise seeded The Shining Ones
A little while ago I went to a Writing for Wellbeing workshop and one of the exercises was called ‘Writing Like a Beginner’. The idea was to stop worrying about getting it right and just write any old stuff – like you did when you were a child. It frees you up and gets you… Continue reading Write Like a Beginner: A Silly Tale of Derring-Do
First, remember the basics is about the intention behind starting something new. Your intentions lay the foundation for everything you do, so your reasons for doing something are important and will determine how things turn out. The original lojong slogan is: First, train in the preliminaries. This refers to the four basic facts of life… Continue reading Buddhist Writing Prompt: First, Remember the Basics
See everything as a dream is about letting go and not trying to control reality. After facing up to the facts of life and death in Slogan 1, you can see how everything is always changing and impermanent, so the best thing to do is to go with the flow. The original lojong slogan is:… Continue reading Buddhist Writing Prompt: See Everything as a Dream
Examine the nature of awareness asks you to turn your attention inwards and notice who is aware of your experience. If you want to train your mind you first need to understand how it works and who is doing all this thinking. The original lojong slogan is: Examine the nature of unborn awareness. When you… Continue reading Buddhist Writing Prompt: Examine the Nature of Awareness
Don’t hold on to your stories reminds you to let go of your ideas about reality and yourself. It’s also about not taking these slogans too seriously. They’re just ideas or thoughts in your mind. They may be useful tools, but it’s important not to get too attached to them. The original lojong slogan is:… Continue reading Buddhist Writing Prompt: Don’t Hold on to Your Stories
Rest in beginner’s mind encourages you to meditate and rest in the awareness you discovered in slogan 3. So if you don’t already have a regular meditation practice, now would be a good time to begin. The original lojong slogan is: Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence. Alaya is the essence of consciousness,… Continue reading Buddhist Writing Prompt: Rest in Beginner’s Mind