Whether you write fiction, poetry, essays or anything else, every writer needs to hone their craft. Practicing your art doesn’t necessarily mean writing within the same genre or category all the time. Sometimes, it benefits you to step out of your usual writing zone and engage with a different skill to improve your own. Here are some writing exercises to help you improve.
- Engage the senses — Draft a piece based solely on one of the senses at a time. Focus on sight, sound, touch, taste and smell as individual components. Then, put them together to create a complete picture. By first separating each sense, you must pay close attention to each detail as part of something whole. This helps improve a sense of setting and environment in your writing.
- Write a review — Whether you review a book, music album, product or restaurant, reviews teach you how to take things apart. In writing a review, you analyze the different moving pieces that make an entire work. Learning how to distinguish components helps you better understand how your own art comes together.
- Childhood memory — Write about a childhood memory from the point of view of your younger self first. Then, write it as an adult looking back on it. By writing the memory from these two different perspectives, you can gain a greater understanding of voice.
- Read up on history — Building a world stems from understanding a person’s political, social and cultural environment. The people in stories don’t exist in a vacuum. What they think, feel and believe will be a product of what happens around them. It informs how people think and behave, and in turn how those actions reflect on their world. Reading history helps you better root your work in understanding why people make certain choices.
- Interview your friends and family — Everyone is the main character in their own life story. There is so much that can be missed if you’re not paying attention to the people around you and the parts they play in your own life. Learning what others have experienced can give you a greater sense of how one event or choice can affect people differently. This helps you better understand how to flesh out an idea and see it from multiple angles.