Writing Tips

Writing Exercises – Useful or a Waste of Time?

There are plenty of writing exercises out there. Just Google the term and over six million hits come up. There is no shortage of them, but how useful are they?

A lot of writers complain of writer’s block, the mythical power that stops people from writing. Personally, I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in a lack of inspiration but that doesn’t stop you from putting pen to paper and writing something.

In these cases, I do think writing exercises can be useful. Sometimes you just need something you get your juices flowing again. Even a stupid free-write can bring about some brilliant spark of inspiration for a new story or how to fix an old one.

I have many half-finished stories on my hard drive that I simply lost inspiration for, or perhaps I never had it in the first place, but sometimes stepping away, either for a little while or for good, can be a good way to cleanse your writing soul. Writers sometimes put pressure on themselves to do things that they don’t want to do. I have always gotten it into my head that if I start something, I should finish it, whether a chore or a job.

This doesn’t work particularly well when it comes to writing, though, as things can get stuck.

So what do you do when it gets stuck?

Try a writing exercise. They may not work for everyone. Some people may not enjoy doing them at all since they are sometimes just a distraction, but they’re a distraction that can be useful.

I am particularly picky about my writing exercises. If I go searching for writing prompts, I have to find the “right” one before I do it. Others are less picky. Writing exercises, though not always a productive use of time, can be just what you need to refresh yourself and to work on something unimportant, something that doesn’t have to be polished and perfect or even finished. Sometimes they can give you the next great idea.

What are your favorite types of writing exercises and what do you do when you feel stuck?

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