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Similar exercises

Get your creative juices flowing with these similar writing prompts.

The Box

As a visual reference, select a box that has dimensions under 12X12 inches. Tape the box closed. Set the box in front of you. Write a story or poem based on what is inside the box.

The Power of Words

Write a list of random, free-association words. For creative writing, list ten words across ten columns. Then go to each column and add nine more words so that the result is ten columns and ten rows, a total of one hundred words. Just reading the list and noticing the creative leaps your mind has made may surprise you. If you like, continue the exercise by using all one hundred words in a short fiction piece. For poetry, select the words that suggest a common theme.

Pick-Up Line

Cheesy pick-up lines are the worst...but sometimes (when they work), they're the best conversation starters out there. Pick one of the pick-up lines from below and write down a conversation that you can imagine following afterward.

  • "Your smile is like Expelliarmus. Simple but disarming."
  • "Did it hurt? When you fell from heaven?"
  • "Are you a parking ticket? You've got fine written all over you."
  • "Are you from Tennessee? Because your the only ten I see."
  • "If I could rearrange the alphabet, I'd put U and I together."

Now I'm Free, Free Writin'

Take 5-10 minutes to free-write about your project in new or strange way. Scrawl your thoughts on construction paper in purple marker, close your eyes and write outside the lines - or draw your plot in pictograms. When you're done, choose the bits that stand out most to you or were the most fun to jot down, and make them the central points of your outline or story.

Break Through The Block

Think of writer's block as a symptom, not a condition that can't be remedied. When we're stuck and can't get to our creative work, there's usually a reason - and therefore a way to move forward.If you're experiencing a block and can't seem to work on your novel, try the following:

  1. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths. Connect.
  2. How do you feel?
  3. Nervous because you're coming up on a tough scene?
  4. Starting to wonder why you embarked on this project?
  5. Bored with sticking to your thorough outline and not wanting to admit it?
Feel what you're feeling without attaching or rationalizing or arguing. Now, refocus on your breath. Imagine gentle snow or waves. When you're calm inside, grab a notebook and pen (computers can amplify pressure instead of opening room for free scribbling) and write without stopping for three minutes, starting with the prompt, "I'm not blocked becauseÄ" After that, go for another three minutes, using, "The path back to my writing looks likeÄ" Let yourself go. Let your hand tell you whatever you need to hear.