Board Member from Daniel Island Chapter
Writing books is easy, right? It’s simply a matter of crafting literary prose that will inspire, creating amazing characters, and writing stories that will change the world. All a writer needs to do is sit down, put the proverbial ‘pen to paper’, and Voila! a masterpiece is born.
Well, unfortunately, this is not how the process of writing novels usually works. Writing is a long, involved and sometimes arduous process, and for those who continually aspire for greatness, it can feel as if the journey to greatness has no end. Although many who write have noble aspirations, the opportunity to produce something that matters, to write books that are bought by millions, and to publish works that are revered by authors and readers alike is akin to a majestic glory that touches only a few.
What I have learned since I began my own journey is that sometimes the best way to grow as a writer is simply to take a small step backwards. I do some writing exercises and drills that are unique, random and fun. Here are three different exercises that may inspire your mind and open a portal of new insights into your literary mind. Try a new one each day, and challenge your writing skills through different avenues of exploration and inspiration.
- Nouns ‘n Verbs: Grab a sheet of paper and start two columns. In one column list ten nouns and in the other column list ten verbs. Pair them up randomly and write a sentence for each pair. Write a story that uses all ten sentences.2
- Alphabet Game– Write a story that is 26 sentences long. Each sentence begins with a different consecutive letter of the alphabet, beginning with “a” and ending with “z.”
- Maps – Imagine an outer-space alien has landed at your office. The creature has never before been to Earth. Explain to it — that is, write in extremely meticulous detail — how exactly to get from your office to your home.
Finally, if I ever it down and have difficulty allowing the words to flow, I fall back on a technique that I often use when teaching professional development seminars. It’s known as the “Why Worksheet”, and it requires someone to repeatedly ask themselves ‘Why?’, until they come to heart of the matter of why they truly desire a personal or professional goal. Bring this to writing, and you have the “What? So what? and Now what?” exercise. Simply ask yourself what topic, character or scene in your story you wish to explore. Then write down all of the answers that come to mind, and ask ‘So what?’. Write a more analytical page about the topic, and then finally ask yourself ‘Now what?’ to reach a more conclusive point or idea.
If nothing else, any one of these exercises may challenge your mind to think in a new way, keep your writing enjoyable, and perhaps create a bit of magic in the process! What writing techniques do you use to challenge and grow?
Crystal Klimavicz grew up in a small town on the coast of Maine. She spent her early adulthood in Boston and then in Atlanta, as well three years living abroad in Kyiv, Ukraine. She and her husband now reside on Daniel Island in South Carolina with their two children, two dogs and one plump cat. She enjoys capturing people’s life stories and creating dramatic stories of her own, and has written three books in the last four years—Falling Through Trees, This Side of Perfect and The Days of Not So Long Ago.