Writing Exercises

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I have always loved books. I suppose that’s not an uncommon statement – what child doesn’t get drawn in by picture books, asking the parent to read the same story over and over until they begin to tell a word was missed or a page skipped? Form the age of five, I also loved to write, writing new stories from the characters in my picture books and handing them to my mom to read – over and over again.

by Karin Dalziel

by Karin Dalziel

Somewhere along the way I stopped writing and stuck with just the reading. Kids, work, life, etc., got in the way and I forgot how much writing meant to me. The brain is a bit rusty and I was getting bogged down in trying to come up with writing topics so I had a little discussion with myself and decided there were three basic steps I should start with:

    Write something – anything – every day.

    Keep a small journal in my purse to make note of any topic ideas that might come to mind.

    Read a book for writers.

I am not a clothes-horse or a shoe queen. I’m not addicted to new furniture like my mother-in-law. I have only two favorite stores I’ll always muster energy to visit: Starbucks and Barnes & Noble. Maybe that third idea was simply created to justify a book shopping expedition. I probably could have found lots of material online to guide me in my practice, but I didn’t stop to think about that for long. I grabbed my middle son, also an avid reader, and off we went to the bookstore.

I literally plowed through all the books on the shelves that pertained to writing and found two that appealed to me. The first, and the one I’ve spent the most time with recently, is The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life, by Fred White. For me, this was just what I needed. The book gives you 366 writing exercises, one per page per day. Certainly, you can work at your own pace but I find that I don’t like to be behind so I’m motivated to keep up with the dates in the book and tackle each exercise as it’s presented. No more fighting to come up with something to write about. As I start writing again, a little prod in the right direction seems just the ticket.

3 comments for “Writing Exercises

  1. Hope Aubergine
    May 31, 2009 at 6:33 am

    Of course, I HAD to check out the book….looks exciting……..and intimidating! Yikes; the very first assignment scared the bejabbers out of me…the one for Jan. 1. Did you do it?

    • May 31, 2009 at 7:39 am

      No – someone brought me up as a pretty good rule-follower and it felt wrong to start the book on the January 1st exercise when I bought it in May so I got to skip the exercise on “writing an allegory using each character to represent an abstract trait” and started with May 11th’s exercise “Turning Experiences Into Story Material”. And thank goodness, too, because it will take me a week to figure out what to do for that other one!

  2. Hope Aubergine
    May 31, 2009 at 6:40 am

    6:33am……not on your life!! ha-ha….but I did just read your ezine article on throw pillows. Love that one!! Gee, I wonder where you got that “throw pillows last a lifetime” gene?

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