Creative Writing Exercises & Creative Writing Prompts - What They DON'T Give You And How To Get It

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Dr. Purushothaman
October 13, 2013


Even the most experienced and seasoned creative writer can benefit from creative writing exercises and prompts.

The key to continuing to grow and develop as a creative writer is to keep experimenting, trying new techniques, ideas and exercises to challenge yourself.

Using a variety of different approaches and starting points in your creative writing will help you to explore your potential as a writer and keep pushing the boundaries.

But although creative writing exercises and prompts are a great tool to use, they assume one thing.

They assume that you are willing and able to write.

Give a writer a creative writing exercise or prompt and they won't necessarily come up with some interesting creative writing.

In fact many times, however ingenious, stimulating and brilliant the exercise is, the writer won't produce a single word, let alone a wonderful piece of writing.

So why is this? What's missing?

There are a number of different factors that stop us from writing, however gifted and talented we are.

Perversely, often the more naturally capable we are of writing creatively, the more we struggle to write.

Here are some of the crucial elements a creative writing exercise or prompt on its own WON'T give you, and how to get it:

1. The confidence to write creatively. Talent and ability amount to very little if you simply lack confidence in your writing.

Build your confidence by starting small and writing little and often. A few paragraphs of a story, a short poem, or a blog entry every day will help you get into the habit of writing consistently. Then you can just increase the amount and frequency as your confidence builds.

2. The "set up" to write creatively. If you don't have somewhere you can go and start writing within a couple of minutes, you'll lose motivation and inspiration.

Have a designated place for you to write. If you don't have your own room or study, at least have a desk or chair where you can have your creative writing equipment to hand and ready for you to start writing at a moment's notice.

3. The permission to write creatively. Even if you think on the surface you're willing to write, often on a deeper level, you're not allowing yourself to. Not giving yourself permission to create is an often overlooked creative block.
Write out for yourself some positive affirmations, such as "I deserve to be able to create", "I have as much right to create as anyone", "The world needs me to be creative" and simply "I give myself permission to be creative". Practice reading them out loud regularly.

4. The time to write creatively. Many of us claim we don't have time to spend on our creative writing. The truth is, we don't make it enough of a priority.

Start by giving yourself just 10 minutes at the same time each day to spend writing. Get up a little earlier, go to bed a little later, fit it in wherever you can. By practicing this routine, you'll find it soon becomes easier to extend it to a larger chunk of time each day, without impacting the time demands of the rest of your life.

5. The motivation to write creatively. Even if you have everything else in place, if you're not motivated to write, you just won't write.

Keep your motivation high by reminding yourself why you write creatively. What are the top 5 benefits? What are the 10 things you love about being able to write creatively? What are your ambitions as a creative writer? Write these out and pin them up somewhere prominent to keep you motivated.

Spend a little time and effort on each of these 5 key areas and you'll soon find there's no limit to how much you can write.

Then, using those creative exercises and prompts will add the extra dimension you need to explore your creative writing even more.

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