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Five Exercises to Improve Your Writing

 

 

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No matter how long you’ve been writing, there’s always room for improvement. Here are five exercises I’ve been using to do just that-

Warm Up

Ever sat down to write and five…ten minutes later you’re looking at a blank screen or sheet of paper.? We, writers, for some reason, put lots of pressure on ourselves. We think we need to be perfect every single time and panic sets in. Spend those first five minutes warming up just like an athletic in training and send perfection on its way.

Some of my warm up exercises include notes about what I hope to get from that day’s writing session.

Today, I’ll finish chapter two.

Today, I’ll reveal the hero’s secret.

Free Write

Sometimes when I have some time to spare, I’ll free write. It doesn’t have to make sense or even be part of a story I’m working on. I take out my notebook and free write about stories I want to work on one day.  My motto is any writing is worthwhile and some of these free writing gems have turned into eventual stories that have been published.

Know Your Achilles’ Heel

You hear me say this lots of time. To grow and to improve means you have to do things that aren’t easy for you. My Achilles’ heel is description especially for my settings. Sometimes when I get to that part of a story, I’ll go and do something desperate like vacuum or wash dishes. Anything rather than write description. When I got published, I had editors breathing down my neck forcing me to do better and deadlines to get something back to them. Inside of run away from your weaknesses, stare them in the face and spend ten minutes a day working on them. It could be dialogue, narration or like me, description.

Eye Spy

Each time my maternal grandmother came to visit we’d play the game of Eye Spy.  I now use it as a writing exercise. Sit down and look around the room and key in on one object…couch, clock, whatever, and write something about it.

Take a Passage

This is one of my favorites. Pick up a book, take one passage or even more if you have time and change it. It could be from past to future tense. Third or first person, or even a switch of genres. Romance…try and make it a horror story!

Some of these are more fun than others, but all of them I guarantee will improve your writing in some way.

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