Writing can be so much fun when you get lost in your writing and get into a flow.
The purpose of a creative writing exercise is to spark a thought, idea, or story in your mind, so you can quickly and easily start writing and practice your writing skills.
Getting better at writing is like going to the gym to work out—the more often you do it, the bigger your writing “muscle” will get, and the better you’ll be at writing.
You can practice these creative writing exercises for adults in as little as 10 minutes at a time, whether you’re a beginner or seasoned writer. If you get lost in your story and keep writing for hours, that’s great too. But you don’t have to spend hours practicing creative writing. You can do it in just a few minutes at a time.
So instead of starting at a blank page wondering what to write about, try out these awesome writing exercises.
10-Minute Creative Writing Exercises
Here are our favorite 10-minute creative writing exercises to help you start writing.
1. Writing Prompts
Writing prompts are so helpful when you feel stuck or don’t know what to write about. These will stretch your imagination and give you some ideas of new topics to write about.
Here are some fun creative writing prompts that can help you:
- Food – You can write about what food you ate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Or write about your favorite foods, or your most memorable meal, or the coolest thing about a food you know.
- Dreams – Write something about a recent dream you had. Expand on the dream and see how far you can take the story. (Many great novels started out as dreams!)
- Animals – Choose an animal that interests or intrigues you and write about it. What would it be like to wake up as a badger, or a tiger, or a zebrafish?
- Dragons – Write about a dragon. It can be a good or a bad dragon. What does it want? What is it afraid of?
- Fear – What are you afraid of? How could you overcome it?
Check out our full list of 70 writing prompts for even more inspiration.
2. Alphabet Writing Exercise
Begin writing a story by starting each sentence with a different letter of the alphabet. You must use all 26 letters from A to Z to begin the first word in each of the first 26 sentences.
This writing exercise is great because it will challenge you to think of rare words you don’t use very often, look up words in a thesaurus or dictionary, and find a way to start a sentence with uncommon letters like X and Z.
3. Write a Letter to Your Younger Self
For this creative writing exercise, you are are going to write a letter to your younger self. Pick a time or age you’ll be writing to. What message would you share with your former self?
4. Write With Inspiring Images
Find pictures online that inspire you or cut images from any magazine or newspaper. After collecting a set of five or six photos, you can write a story about each of them and try to link them together. How can you connect the images in a meaningful way?
5. Write from Someone Else’s Perspective
Choose someone you know well and practice writing from their perspective. Visualize yourself waking up like this other person. What is their life like? What’s on their mind? What are their goals? What are they afraid of or avoiding?
Really think about what it’s like to walk in this person’s shoes, feel what they feel, and react the way they would react to the world.
This writing exercise is great because it’ll help you develop a character you are intimately familiar with in real life, and it’ll help you develop more empathy, compassion, and understanding, which is one of the great benefits of becoming a better creative writer.
6. Name a Character
Make up a name that sounds awesome to you, or search online for cool names. Write about that person. Who are they? What makes them tick? What was their life like growing up? What is their life like now?
7. Write a Story You’ve Heard Before
Write about a story that has been told to you by another person. Pick a story that stuck with you. Why did you like that story, or not like it? What made it memorable? See if you can write it down, and then expand on it. How could you make the story more interesting, unique, or powerful?
8. Use a Wikipedia Random Article
Go to Wikipedia and hit Random Article. Then use that article to spark an idea for your writing. Write a story or narrative that relates to or includes the topic of that article in some way.
9. Set the Scene
Write a paragraph or two about your surroundings and use descriptive language to set the scene. Simply describe what you see. Once you’ve set the scene in your writing, see if you can continue writing with a story set in that scene.
10. Use a Dictionary
Read through a dictionary or book that contains words you’ve never heard of before. Now pick a word and use that word in a sentence, and then see if you can turn that sentence into a story.
11. Try the Ben Franklin Method
Benjamin Franklin actually taught himself to improve his writing using a very practical method. He would read an article from his favorite magazine, The Spectator, and take notes to summarize its main points.
Then, after setting the notes and article aside for a few days, he would attempt to recreate the piece in his own words, using only the notes. Afterward, he would compare the quality of his results to the original text and take note of his shortcomings.
You can try this practice yourself by choosing a piece of writing that you admire and rewriting it in your own words (while keeping the original message).
If you liked this post, here are some other articles you might love:
- How Writing Prompts Can Boost Your Creative Writing Skills
- 70 Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire You to Write
- The Best Paid Online Writing Courses for Creative Writers, Fiction, and Nonfiction
- The Best Free Online Writing Courses for Creative Writers, Fiction, and Nonfiction
Tom Corson-Knowles is the founder of TCK Publishing, and the bestselling author of 27 books including Secrets of the Six-Figure author. He is also the host of the Publishing Profits Podcast show where we interview successful authors and publishing industry experts to share their tips for creating a successful writing career.