Writing Exercise

For those of you who may be having problems with your writing, here’s a quick exercise to help out:

Pick up the book closest to you and turn to page 74.

Go to the second paragraph and pick out the first interesting word you see.

Do this now! (Before you keep reading.)

Now that you’ve made your decision, take your word of choice and make it the first word of a poem.

So, lets say your word is “auxiliary,” you might begin the exercise by writing something like, “Auxiliary efforts are fruitless. Crash the plane, close the cell-walls of your birthright, your veins.”

Try to focus on the rhythms of your poems; don’t think too much about what you’re writing exactly, let the words just tumble out.

Write until you feel satisfied with its length (at least 5 minutes).

Now, step back. Take a stroll around your room, brush your teeth, do some push-ups– something that takes you away from your poem for 5 to 10 minutes.

After you’re back from your break, (now, I said AFTER. I don’t want any of you overeager creative writers trying to skip that step. It’s important!) read over the poem you just wrote.

Which images are particularly striking to you? Is there anything in your poem that you find emotionally appealing or spectacularly witty?

Pick these concepts out and let them stew for a little bit. Now, pick your favorite image and write a brief flash fiction piece inspired by this image, making sure to let yourself think around the other images from your poem.

So, let’s say a car appears in your poem and you decide that this car is important to you. Begin your flash fiction piece by crashing your father’s neon orange Corvette Stingray or picking out a mildly rusted clunker from the junkyard. Let your ideas gallop across the page.

Now write! Once you have that fiction piece written, go back and place your poem next to your fiction piece.

Ask yourself– How are the two connected? How have they changed from one another and become separate entities? Pick the best parts from each and revise, keeping the two pieces separate or consolidating the two.

Step back and enjoy what you have created. Don’t be too hard on it, it just came into this world. It’s still reddish, wrinkly, probably wailing and needs your love; there’s always time for revision. Good job!


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