The 5-minute writing sprint
Creative writing exercises are a great way to stoke your creativity and prod your muse. Instead of a verbal sprint, we’re using a visual one. You can use this exercise as a warm-up for more weekend writing. The exercise consists of four easy steps: preparation, inspiration, creation and examination.
Prepare to write
Happy to write on a computer? Open a new file and save it to the computer. Maybe you’re more traditional. Gather your notebook or loose paper and favorite pen or pencil. Find a timer. Doesn’t matter whether it’s the oven timer, a kitchen timer, or a computer app timer. It just needs to go for five minutes.
Get inspired to write
Since I compiled a list of summer beach reading books for writers earlier this week, I thought we’d stay with the summertime theme. People’s faces tell a story. When you’re looking at someone, ask questions. What emotions are rippling across the face? Are those tears of joy or pain? What do you see in their eyes? Are they an optimist or a pessimist? How can you tell?
Spend the next minute staring at the photograph below and respond to what you see. What does the image say to you? Who is this woman? What is she thinking? How does she feel? What is going on around her? What is happening in that precise moment? What is she feeling in that very moment and why? Be sure and add any and all sensory detail.
Do you sense a story?
Do the freewriting exercise
Set the timer for 5 minutes. Take a deep breath and begin to write.
Don’t stop writing to reread. Don’t edit yourself. Don’t question the words. Just write. Try to have a sense of a beginning, middle and end and capture them. When you’re finished, come back and go through the review process, then let me know how it went. Scroll past the photo below for the after-writing process.
Read and reflect
Welcome back. Now that you’ve completed the visual prompt, read what you’ve written without making any changes. Then ask yourself these questions:
- Did the image provoke a story with a suggested beginning, middle, and an end?
- Did the writing go quick and smooth?
- Were you inspired by the photograph? How?
- Did you have any problems doing the exercise? In what way?
- Based on what you’ve written, will you continue to work with this piece of writing?
That’s it. You can stop now or expand what you’re written. I hope you enjoyed this week’s creative writing exercise and will leave a comment below sharing your thoughts and experience. Be sure and come back next week and we’ll have a go at a new exercise.
- Use the comment section below to share your thoughts.
- Link: Ten books for writers to read this summer
- Ready to read the classics? Join The Classics Club. My 5 year 50+ booklist is here: The Classics Club project.