If you enter your e-mail address and click “sign up” on the right, exercises like these could be sailing directly into your inbox for free every Friday morning.
Each one is a prompt for a ten-minute freewrite.
Here are some examples:-
The first exercise is the most basic and repeatable of all freewriting prompts.
Simply begin with “I remember” and write continuously and uncritically for ten minutes.
You can write about a distant memory or something that happened just a few minutes ago.
The only rule is to write about something that happened to you in the past.
You don’t even have to stick to this rule, you are free to write anything at all as long as you don’t stop writing for ten minutes.
If you are stuck, just repeat writing “I remember” until something occurs to you.
Let me know how you got on with this first exercise by leaving a comment on my page “How to Freewrite” (where you’ll find more instrustions and tips on freewriting).
The second ten-minute freewriting exercise involves listening at the same time as writing.
It’s adapted from The Creative Writing Coursebook (in the introduction by Julia Bell).
Write for ten minutes and record at least five sounds you can hear as you write, along with your personal associations with those sounds.
As with all freewriting prompts, the instructions are there to be disobeyed!
The aim is to record the associations of each sound in turn but if any one of the sounds sets you off on a long trail of recollection or cogitation then simply follow it and to hell with listening for the regulation five in all. Equally, if a sound from another time and place comes into your mind, write about that instead. Just follow the gleam.
This week’s exercise is in the form of a diary entry.
In a ten-minute freewrite, describe a day (yesterday, or a day not too long ago) by using ONLY nouns (i.e. words for things, places or people).
This exercise is designed to give practice in observation and in using strong, specific description so aim to stick to concrete nouns (for example: “mushroom curry” “College Road” “Mike”) versus abstract nouns (such as “boredom” “beauty” etc) which might take you in the wrong direction.
A piece of writing like this is an excellent investment for the future if you are a writer because over time you will inevitably forget the mundane details of the present but details are what makes fiction, poetry and memoir convincing and alive.
Remember, though, as with all freewriting exercises, never feel constrained by the prompt. You can spend ten minutes describing loneliness or loyalty or whatever abstract quality you like and ignore the instruction to list solid objects, people and places. Or you could describe an object, person or place you have never seen or met in your life! Just stick to nouns, if you can. But whatever you do, don’t stop writing even for a moment.
Go for it!