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3 easy steps to improve your creative writing

Writing is a human need, an expressive need born from the interrogation of reality. The flow of questioning silence is the source where the need to write originates. To write, then, is to order the world in a certain way, giving meaning.

With this in mind, we become aware that whatever our writing tools are, they must have the ultimate and primary purpose of making sense. Creative writing is not a mere repertoire of formulas, the application of which guarantees good and talented works.

Many writers have lost and continue to lose this focus and write just for the sake of writing, with the sole narcissistic aim of being admired. And telling for the sake of telling is not enough. Creative writing needs a reader. It is written expression with the will to reach others. The real issue is what to say with what we are telling or what to hear in what we are listening to. This is what we mean by making sense.

Pre-writing is an important stage in the creative work that will provide us with writing tools. It is there where we imagine, where we look for and find reasons for our writing, where ideas arise from which we will overcome the dreaded blank page and formulate truly free essays and other writing pieces. Here are 3 stimulating creative writing exercises.

  1. Brainstorming

Brainstorming is one of the best-known writing techniques. It is related to the essential reactivation and precision of our dormant lexicon. It is about generating and compiling words and expressions linked to a specific topic.

We can do this exercise alone or with other people. If we do it collaboratively, it will help us, in turn, to incorporate new words referring to a specific semantic field related to the general topic of the writing proposal.

For example, if we are thinking of writing fiction in which the countryside is the main theme, we could list words and expressions such as:

Green, relaxation, landscapes, sunsets, livestock, animals, sowing and harvesting, home-cooked meals, vegetable garden, far away, remoteness, horizon, riding, holidays, disorientated, forest, pond, hunting, folklore, getting up early, hard work, proverbs, myths and legends, fresh air, scent of flowers, journey.

Once we are satisfied with the list, we will challenge ourselves to try to use all the words in a text. This exercise will serve as a warm-up: it will loosen our hand and mind searching for creative flexibility.

  1. Write from a drawing or an oral text.

The primary purpose of these writing tools is to bring our interpretative skills and imagination to the fore. At the same time, we will receive helpful information that we probably did not know before, from which we can motivate ourselves to start writing.

As a first option, we can propose to write from what we see in an image. This will be useful to produce denotative texts - those that emphasize informative aspects, claiming objectivity through scientific support -connotative texts - focused on sentimental aspects, impressions, and subjective experiences - or texts that mix both perspectives to present information tinged with personal feelings and evaluations.

Role-playing is an excellent writing technique. For example, we can pretend we are a prestigious art critic, and a well-known expert media has asked us to write some interpretative columns on recent examples of abstract art.

Or we can look at two images featuring two different characters who have escaped from other stories. We will have to reconstruct in writing each of the stories from which these characters have escaped, in whatever format we are comfortable with: police report, short story, or a mixture of both, for example.

As we anticipated, it is not only images that serve as writing tools. There is also the alternative of writing from listening. The exercise consists of listening to any short oral text related to the writing topic and paying attention to the information and what it provokes in us.

For example, we could take a certain melody as a reference and, with questions, guide us into the space of fiction until we reach a suitable framework in which we can already develop a written story: what is the story behind this music, a sad one or a happy one? Is it a love story, a war story, an adventure story, or a mystery? Where does it take us? What can we see there?

  1. Writing from situations

The third exercise is to think of concrete situations to which we have to react through a written text. This will be an excellent way of emphasizing the communicative nature of creative writing. Now, we will focus on the contextualization factor as a stimulus.

The fact is that we can react to a situation in many different ways. The strategy is to list many options that fit coherently into a given situation. Each of these reactions will trigger various texts to respond to the situation. Look at the following example:

Someone you consider a good friend has not invited you to his birthday party:

  • You write a message to ask why they haven't invited you.

  • You keep writing in your diary about the relationship between the two of you.

  • You write them a letter and go to the party to give it to them to confront them there.

  • You text them to ask if you can go to the party. He's probably forgotten and doesn't dislike you.

  • You write an elegy to mourn the loss of the friendship.

  • You contact mutual friends to ask if they know why they haven't invited you.

  • You contact mutual friends and remind them of what you have done for them.

  • You slam them on social media.

This demonstrates the infinite number of variants we have every time we construct a fictional situation in our compositions. As long as the alternatives we choose can maintain a certain coherence with the plot and the construction of the characters we are already doing, they will always be valid.

To learn to write, it is essential to emphasize creativity to discover the need for writing and the pleasure of it. The support of fiction is very stimulating, and the pre-writing stage must be basically a stimulus. These writing tools allow us to open our imagination much more, discover new paths and widen the range of events we can narrate.

Later, the more technical narrative resources will emerge on their own as thinking gradually becomes a literary way of thinking. The whole technical repertoire will depend on what is fundamental: the search for and creation of meaning.

If these exercises have helped you and you would like to train at a more demanding and personalized level, consider taking creative writing classes with professionals or workshops dedicated to specific topics of interest.

Read more:

5 Simple Therapeutic Writing Exercises

How To Make Your Essay Longer Hacks

How To Create Your Self-Study System

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  • May 9 2022
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