Exercise your writing muscles

Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.

Jane Yolen

Good advice.

As writers we need to be writing on a regular basis.  I could almost guarantee that Tiger Woods practises his golfing skills on a daily basis. All professional sportsmen and women spend countless hours going over the basics, time and time again, day after day. Actors, dancers  and musicians rehearse, rehearse and then rehearse some more. I’ve read that it takes ten thousand hours to become truly proficient at any skill.

Write every day.

This is the only way to hone those skills, to learn how language works, to iron out any problems you may have and to discover your voice.

Here is a quick and  simple list of writing activities you could do on a regular basis to exercise those writing muscles. You can probably think of dozens of other ideas. Share them in the comments section.

A very short list of 30 writing exercises:

  1. Write a few paragraphs in your journal today.
  2. Write a list of the things you really like.
  3. Write a list of writing goals for this week.
  4. Start writing a blog.
  5. Write ten sentences about your childhood.
  6. Write a paragraph about your first pet.
  7. Make a list of the things that annoy you.
  8. Describe the smells that make you happy.
  9. Write three paragraphs about your best friend.
  10. Describe what you can see out through the nearest window.
  11. Write a letter to a family member who lives far from away from you.
  12. Write about your favourite fruit.
  13. Describe the most frightening experience you’ve ever had.
  14. Write about the happiest day of your life.
  15. Describe how to make your favourite meal.
  16. Make a list of the places you would like to visit.
  17. In twenty words (or less), tell the story of your favourite movie.
  18. Write a character sketch of your favourite fictional character.
  19. Make a list of the twenty best books you’ve ever read.
  20. Describe the smells that make you hungry.
  21. Write an email to a friend or family member.
  22. Describe the scariest movie or television show that you’ve ever seen.
  23. Write a letter of protest to your local paper.
  24. Write about a time you were terribly embarrassed.
  25. Write about your favourite toy (even if you are getting on in years).
  26. Write a list of the ways in which you would change the world.
  27. Write a list of things you like to do alone.
  28. What things really bother you?
  29. Describe the most dangerous thing you have ever done.
  30. Who is your hero – and why?

A Note to Teachers:

The list above is a great starting point for writing activities for your students. Give them a go and let me know how they go. You may copy the entire list for classroom use.

Good writing.

Further reading:


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