I hated doing writing exercises in class. I was never good at rushing out good metaphors and first drafts.

“Who wants to read theirs?” No thanks. Can I edit and get back to you?

But there’s a difference in writing exercises. The most common kind is the kind that you do in writing classes. “Write a few paragraphs exploring a certain metaphor,” or “Write a few paragraphs while intently focusing on description,” – these suck. You’re mostly writing down the first thing to come to mind…and if I’ve learned anything in writing it’s the first idea is very rarely the best or even remotely good.

I’ve found some writing exercises to be helpful, but these are narrowed in on one thing. Like, a sentence.

Write a sentence. Now, rewrite that sentence using different verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. Flip it. Shorten it.

This is a exercise that actually helps mold the writing mind (and if you’re like me, makes the editing experience a bit more fun.)

If you want to practice description, why write a whole page? Write a sentence or two and then rewrite them until you see you’re own progress.

And progress is easier to see in small increments. It’s also less frustrating because it’s easier to look at one sentence than a whole page.


This is more my opinion then anything and what I’ve found works best for me. Maybe the first choice does work for you, but if it doesn’t try to narrow in on one thing, one sentence and build from there.