Four Writing Exercises brought to you by the Letter “R”

In honor of the remaining days of March, here are four writing exercises unlike any other writing exercise I’ve given before (one for each remaining day plus a bonus!). Without further ado…

RANDOMNESS – Use a Book Shelf of Many Things

Go to your bookshelf and do the following:

  • From the lowest shelf, take the third book from the right.
  • Open to a random page
  • Close your eyes and point to a word.  Write the word down.
  • Repeat with the first book on the top shelf.
  • Repeat with the first BLUE (or closest to blue) book that catches your eye.
  • Using the three words, write a scene/poem/meditation, etc.

Our Book Shelf...which also holds many things...

RESEARCH – Conduct an Interview

Based on one of your characters (or yourself), interview someone who is either of the same occupation or the same situation.  Find out at least ten things you didn’t already know.

My friend Angela, for instance, is in charge of the Chickens at our Community Garden. She brought them in and coordinates all the chicken haps.

REPLICATION – Create A Writer’s Mad Lib

This exercise is taken from Priscilla Long’s The Writer’s Portable Mentor.  Take a passage from one of your favorite writers and turn the passage into a game of Mad Libs using all the adjectives, nouns, and adverbs.

But in your Mad Lib, try removing ALL adjectives, adverbs, and nouns as a way of experimenting with another writer's prose style

RECITATION – Stage a Reading

For this one, you’ll need a friend or two or seven.  Based on what you’ve been working on this month, arrange an informal live reading. Often, I’ve found the prospect of reading to an audience does several things: 1.) Makes me read my work out loud (= another way into the piece as you revise); 2.) By shifting my perceived audience, I’m often able to see my work in a differently.

Heck, if you've got a microphone, use it!

A Writing Prompt for Day 4: Live Readings

Keeping in line with today’s post, today’s writing prompt comes from Jennifer Simpson.  I like this writing exercise because it asks you to converge with the outer writing world by going to (and/or participating in) an open mic for poetry or prose.

Jenn’s Writing Prompt paired with a Live Reading:

While at an open mic/reading, jot down interesting words.  Maybe they are words you’ve forgotten about, or words that just strike your fancy; gather about 20 of them…  THEN work them into a prose piece or a poem.

If you can’t leave your house, I suggest listening to a story and doing the same.  Though you don’t get the people/writer interactions, you can get the audio version of many stories online for free.  Here’s a few that I like: