Here are some suggestions of how you can stimulate your creative writing. It is a work in progress, so check back from time to time for updates.
Please bear in mind that not all the suggestions will be right for you. The list is not meant to be prescriptive: the thing is to find what works for you and do it.
Exercises & Techniques to Develop Writing Flow, Generate Ideas & Improve your Writing
- Early morning pages, when you are still in touch with your unconscious mind.
- Freewriting: write quickly, without judgement. Virginia Woolf described it as a ‘rapid haphazard gallop.’
- Word/picture prompts. You can find some on Twitter.
- Daily haiku
- Clustering/Mindmapping: in the centre of a blank page write a nucleus word or phrase. Then add every word that comes into your head, joining each word with a line.
- Write in different genres.
- Write in different modes, if you write novel-length fiction, try the short story, or flash.
- Read widely across genres
- Keep a record of your reading
- Join a book club
- Join/set up a writing group
- Write using only one vowel (eg. only ‘e’ and no other vowel), or only use words of four letters
- Keep a notebook for ideas, also to collect words you come across, particularly topic-specific, such as seasonal, urban, countryside, so that you can draw on these words when writing about a particular time of year.
- Use VoiceRecorder or similar app to record ideas (handy when out walking)
- Collect news items and photos/pictures of interest to you.
- Set a daily/weekly word goal
- Make writing resolutions and revisit them throughout the year to keep on track.
- Enter writing competitions – the deadlines are a good motivator. Some competitions are themed, which can help generate ideas.
- Find your most productive time of day
- Develop a routine
- Set aside time to write
- Avoid distractions: switch off push notifications on social media, don’t open your Inbox
- Play music while writing
- Work in absolute silence
- Take breaks, walk a dog, have exercise
- Make yourself comfortable. Sit correctly. If you can afford it, have an ergonomic chair.
- Have a writing space.
- Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write every day.
- Join/set up a writing group – fellow writers can be very supportive
- Network – attend writing events, workshops. There is also a strong online community of writers (eg. Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads)
- Write for the reward of writing, for the enjoyment of finding the right word, or perfect rhythm.
Creative Writing: A Workbook with Readings (2006) by Linda Anderson, published by Routledge.