Writing is a skill; and like with any skill, the more you practice, the better you get. But, how do you practice writing, other than, well, by writing? Well, there are many writing exercises that are designed to target specific aspects of writing, as well as enhance your practice sessions. In today’s post, you’ll learn four writing exercises that will help you to develop your writing and summarizing skills, write more concisely and with more meaning, and see first-hand how you’ve grown as a writer.
One of the most common writing exercises involves using writing prompts. These prompts give you a topic to write about or set specific aspects of your story.
There are many kinds of writing prompts including characters, locations, titles, themes, events, and dialogue.
Writing prompts are excellent forms of writing practice because they push you out of your comfort zone as a writer. They can also help alleviate writer’s block.
To find writing prompts you can look on social media platforms like Pinterest (I have an entire board dedicated to writing prompts if you’re interested.), or download prompt apps.
I have a bunch of posts offering prompts of all different genres, so feel free to check them out here.
Or, if you prefer, here’s a list of my writing prompt posts:
- Unique Creative Writing Prompts for Writers
- Visual Writing Prompts
- 50 More Writing Prompts
- Instagram Writing Prompts
- Fantasy Writing Prompts
- Romance Writing Prompts
- Dark Writing Prompts
Adding word limits is an excellent way to practice writing more concise and meaningful sentences.
This exercise is all about streamlining your writing and learning what is important and what isn’t.
Start by writing a 1,500-word story. Now, take that same story and write it again in 1,000 words. And, finally, try writing it again in 500 words.
Review what sections were able to be cut. Did you find a lot of unnecessary words? Were you able to cut entire scenes?
Many people think the shorter the story, the easier it is to write; but, often the opposite is true. You must find a way to tell an entire beginning, middle, and end in the most efficient way possible.
Use time to change how you write. This exercise is great for practicing your ability to summarize stories. Not only stories you read, but this helps you to summarize your own stories. Creating a one to two-sentence story premise is critical for writing a cohesive story, as well as promoting and packaging your book.
Learn how to summarize stories by writing a summary of a recent book you read in 5 minutes. Then, try summarizing the whole story in 1 minute. Finally, try writing a summary in 30 seconds. This summary should only be a sentence or two. Do the same thing with a story you wrote.
Rewrite Old Stories
Going back to the beginning is one of the best ways to get better as a writer. Use your previous work to improve your skills and measure your progress.
To see how your writing is improving, take a short story or a section of a novel you’ve written and rewrite it with your skills now.
Every six months or so, try rewriting it and see how your style changes, how your skills change, and how things improve.
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