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Writing exercises to get you going

The easiest ways to start writing are like anything else – just begin. But how? Some of my favourite starter exercises are so simple you don’t think it would lead to anything… but often they are a secret door to a garden of imagination (excuse the poetic licence) so why not give them a go and see where they take you –

  1. One word. Write one word. Then use that word in a sentence. Then use that sentence in a paragraph.

  2. Memoir. Remember a favourite place, close your eyes and imagine it for a moment, then write down what you see in your minds eye. Read it back, does it describe the place well? Are there any objects or people you remember?

  3. Responding. Look out of the window or go for a walk and describe what you see. How does it make you feel? What can you see, hear? What do you imagine you could smell, taste, touch? You can also do this with any painting, photograph or image.

  4. Journalling a classic way of getting yourself in the mood and through the door is to write as soon as you wake. You might consider trying the Julia Cameron of the Artist's Way, Morning Pages. But to simplify, when you wake up, keep a notebook by your bed and just write. Allow your thoughts to spill on the page.

An adaptation of this I like is to merely write what is happening in that moment. e.g. The sun streams in the window. A cat meows outside. It's more present and mindful and less rumination. Find which way works for you and give yourself permission to be creative with your writing. Do whatever works.



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