I'm working on a book that encourages people in recovery to use forms of creative self-expression to support long-term sobriety. Today my task was to create 12 fun writing exercises. Here's what I came up with. Enjoy!
1. When Sally opened the door, a very tiny man stood there holding a very large duck. Write a short story that starts with this sentence. More: Make this the first chapter of a mystery novel.
2. Open a drawer in your bathroom and take out any three objects. Write a conversation between the objects in which they discuss you. More: Turn the conversation into a poem.
3. Spend a few minutes with a family photo album and choose a photo of a person whose face intrigues you. It may be of a relative you don’t know well or at all, it may be of an old friend, it may be of someone loved and lost. Write a letter from that person to you and a letter back from you (make up any details you need). More: Write a conversation (in dialog form) between you and this person.
4. Pick a simple common word (e.g., from, that, can, might) and write a 12-line poem where the end of each line rhymes with that word. More: Write one poem that makes sense and one that doesn’t.
5. Pull a novel off your shelf and open to a page that has dialog. Pick any line of dialog and write a 1-2 page story that ends with that question or statement. More: Write another 2 pages on the same story continuing from that statement or question.
6. Write 2 different paragraphs that start with same first five words. They can be variations on one idea or completely different from each other. More: Write 3 more with the same five words.
7. Write a love poem to your favorite food, favorite color, favorite scarf or pair of shoes, your favorite sports team, etc. More: Write a whole series of love poems to favorites.
8. Select a difficult moment from your past. Write it out as a scene in a novel or play just as it happened. Now rewrite the scene as you wish it had happened. More: Write a story or poem about someone who relived an event and changed the past.
9. Select an example of each of the following: a wild animal, a day of the week, a flower, a celebrity, an accident. Now write a story that includes them all. More: Write a poem that includes them all.
10. Make a short list of things that you hate. Choose one and write a letter describing in detail how you feel and what you want to have happen instead. More: Find the contact information for someone who might be able to do something about this problem and mail your letter.
11. Identify a problem of your own you would like to solve. Write a dialog between you and the problem. More: Turn your conversation into a skit and ask a friend to read your part and you read the part of the problem.
12. Begin to generate a huge list of ideas you could write about. In the spirit of fun, if you were going to write one of the following, what would the topic be?
· Broadway play
· Broadway musical
· Book of essays on a theme
· Historical romance
· TV sitcom
· Text for a coffee-table book of photos
· Epic (book-length) poem
· Biography of a famous person
· Dramatic play
· How-to book
More: Start one of the writing projects from this list of ideas.