Do you have a hard time when you are in a workshop and the leader asks you to spontaneously write on a topic?  Do you buy books where you are able to journal, but you discover you don’t have much to say so you find yourself not keeping up? Maybe you are one of many who feel that writing about things that are not useful to you is a waste of time. Wouldn’t you rather write about things that matter, things that can help you with the writing of your novels, short stories, or memoirs? If so, then you will not only find them helpful, but you will also enjoy writing some of the suggestions below.




These exercises are designed to help you with the skills you need to write about character, setting, point-of-view and plot. Done correctly, you have also added conflict. Your responses can be long or short, depending on your needs. You may select one a day or two a day. The goal is to write as much as you need and until you begin to like what you have written, and you see your writing is vivid and engaging. After practicing, write down exactly what you did, so that you can begin to apply those skills to your novels, short stories, or memoirs. Please note that these are just exercises that lead you to an understanding of the skill. Completing these exercises is help, but once you understand what you need and feel certain that you recognize and understand the skill you need, then, it is up to you to develop the skill further.

  1. Have you ever read a story that didn’t turn out the way you thought it should have? Write the ending you thought the writer should have written.
  2. Sometimes people tell you things that are so interesting that you need more details from them. Take a detail and turn that into a scene, a flash fiction or even a short story.
  3. Look at advertisements, signs, commercials, things that people say to you and select something that caught your interest from any of those.
  4. In a short paragraph, write an anecdote or vignette from  your selection in item #3.
  5. Take a character from a story you enjoyed and write about that character as he/she appeared to you.
  6. Do the same as  item # 5, but this time use setting.
  7. Listen to the words of a song you like. Copy some portion of the song, then write the next 2 – 4 lines.
  8. Select a vegetable, a toy, or a building you live in and build a setting around each one.
  9.  Select someone you know, well or not well, and describe how you think their marriage is going. Make up what you don’t know.
  10. Describe the taste of wine or some other drink. What was it that you liked about the drink. Why did you like that? What was it you didn’t like? Why?
  11. Describe how you think life would change for someone who has lost a limb, hearing or vision. How would the person adjust? What feelings would they have?
  12. Are you a neat person or a not so neat person? What is life like for you? How do you view those  who are opposite you? How do you view those who are sometimes neat and sometimes not so neat?
  13. What do you like/hate about the beach? Why? Write about how you feel or think.
  14. What do you like/hate about snow? Why? What does snow mean to you? Why not?
  15. Describe your perfect man or woman. What is that person like to you? What would they think? Feel? Why would you consider these descriptions as perfect?
  16. Describe your favorite vacation place. Why do you like that place? Where is it? Why do you go to this place? Describe the temperature? Describe the place.
  17. Why do you enjoy/don’t enjoy your job? Is there a person encouraging/discouraging you? Describe what you think is happening. What can you do to improve your situation? Do you have a close friend at work, whom you can trust? What would you say to that person?
  18. Who is your favorite family member (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin)? How does that person treat his/her other family members? Describe that person.
  19. If you were to change yourself in any way, what changes would you make for yourself? Why would you make those changes? Why would you not make a change?
  20. If you thought your friend’s spouse was cheating on your friend, what would you do? Would you say anything to your friend? Speak to the spouse? What would you say to either or both of them?
  21. If you were to withhold something or keep something about yourself secret, what would you keep secret? Would you eventually tell someone (spouse, priest, close friend) or try  to keep your secret? How would you react should someone ask something or says something that comes close to your secret?
  22. What is your favorite number Why? What does it mean to you if a person likes or has a favorite number?
  23. If you were lost some where (woods, city, neighborhood) how would you find your way out and home?

I hope these help you. Please respond to this blog and let me know.