Are you looking for writing motivation, inspiration, or ideas that will give your latest project an extra boost?
Below you’ll find a massive list of creative writing activities. Some of these activities will keep you writing when you’re in need of ideas and inspiration. Others will improve your writing skills and techniques through practice. Some will give you experience with forms and genres you haven’t tried. And others will help you promote your writing once it’s published.
Pick any activity and use it as a creative outlet. Bring a few activities to your writing group or do one with your kids. Use these creative writing activities in any way you want.
Start a Journal
Journaling is an excellent way to maintain a steady writing practice, and there are lots of different journals you can write: gratitude journals, dream journals, media journals, poetry journals, and idea journals, to name a few.
Flip through some images on Instagram or Pinterest and see what sparks an idea. Don’t place limitations on your writing—just let the words flow.
Writing letters in your characters’ voices can help you get inside their heads and understand them better so you can write them with more depth and realism. Create an ongoing correspondence to explore character relationships and group dynamics within your cast.
Write Your Bio
Write a series of short bios for your social media accounts and a longer one for your author website. Don’t forget to make a bio for your press kit and another to include in your books.
Rhyme and Meter Exercises
Set your inner musician free by composing lines and couplets in metrical patterns with rhymes. Establish the parameters before you start writing, or just let the words flow and note the meter and rhyme afterward.
Grab an old photo album or flip through the photos on your phone—or use recall to bring forth memories that you can write about. Use this as an exercise in writing description or crafting a narrative about something you experienced or witnessed—ideal if you’re interested in writing a memoir.
Writing exercises keep your skills sharp and your creativity flowing even when inspiration is fleeting. They are excellent for keeping up your writing practice between projects. Pick up a book of creative writing exercises so you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Create a repository of ideas by writing a list of what-if questions that could spark characters, plots, and settings for your future works of fiction or provide ideas you can explore in poetry and nonfiction writing projects.
A mailing list is one of the best ways for an author to connect with a readership. Start planning yours now. You can fill your newsletter with behind-the-scenes material from your books or excerpts from your work in progress. Or write a poem or piece of flash fiction for your newsletter.
The best characters feel like real people, which means the writer has fully gotten into their heads and hearts. One way to do that is to keep a diary in your character’s voice, which will help you establish their innermost thoughts and feelings. And who knows? Maybe a character diary will turn into a novel written in first person!
Your Future Self
Jump at least ten years into the future and write a letter from your current self to your future self, write a letter from your future self to your current self, or write a diary entry as your future self.
Try Writing for Comics
Comics are often partnerships between artists and writers. Give the writing side of comics a try. If you don’t want to draw, just make notes about what the illustrations will depict. Focus on character, plot, and dialogue. Flip through a few comics if you need examples to guide you.
Write a few pages describing your dream vacation. Where will you go? How long will you stay? What will you do there? If you’ve already experienced a dream vacation, write about that instead.
Blurb Your Favorite Books
A book blurb is a short statement endorsing a book, often written by another author. Choose a few of your favorite titles and write blurbs for them.
Focus on dialogue by writing a script. It could be a script for a play, a TV series, or a movie, or it can simply be an exercise in practicing or exploring dialogue.
Imagined World History
Create a fictional history for a fantastical or sci-fi story world. What were the origins of the civilization? What are their customs and traditions? Their laws and beliefs?
Write a Recipe
Start with an introduction that makes the reader’s mouth water, and then deliver the recipe, complete with an ingredient list and cooking instructions.
Propose an Adaptation of Your Favorite Book
Do you have a favorite book that’s never been made into a film or television series? Put together a two-page pitch convincing studio executives that this story needs to be seen on a screen.
Write a Letter You’ll Never Send
Write a letter to someone who’s gone, someone who’s upset you, or someone you admire from afar.
Found poetry is when we use words and phrases from source material to create a poem. This is most often seen as a page of printed text with various words and phrases circled, or all text blacked out except the portions that make up the found poem.
Write a Speech
Write an award acceptance speech; a campaign speech, or a graduation or wedding speech.
Make an Outline
Create an outline for a large-scope project, such as a book or series of books.
This is Like That
Practice writing similes and metaphors. Similes are when one thing is like another (your smile is like sunshine) and metaphors are when one thing is another (your smile is sunshine).
Make a Chapbook
If you’ve written a lot of short pieces, like essays, poems, and short stories, collect them into a chapbook. Bring it to an open mic and take along copies you can sell or give away, or offer it on your blog, website, or social media as a free or premium download.
Create a Motivation Journal
Fill it with things that make you want to write — positive affirmations, favorite lines from poems, quotes of wisdom, and useful reminders. Crack it open whenever you catch yourself procrastinating when you should be writing.
Give Fan Fiction a Whirl
Write a few scenes in your favorite story world. Create new characters or use existing characters. Just remember — you don’t own the intellectual property, so you can’t commercially publish it.
Write a Critique
A critique should start by highlighting the strengths in a piece of writing, and then it should gently but constructively offer feedback that is meant to show the author how to make improvements. You can critique any work, but it would be ideal if you can find a writer friend to swap critiques with.
Write Log Lines for Your Favorite Stories
A log line is a sentence or two that summarizes a story and entices readers. If you’re working on a project, write a log line about it. Log lines are excellent for crystallizing your vision, and they’re also useful for pitching and selling written works.
Start a Legacy Book
A legacy book is a collection of writings and other materials (letters, photos, ephemera, etc.) that can be passed down as a family heirloom. Write about your family history and document significant or memorable family events.
Speculate the Future
What do you think the world will look like in twenty-five years? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand? Write an essay or short story, or create a world-building document for a futuristic civilization.
Write a Film Treatment
Written like a short story in present tense, a film treatment is an overview of an entire film; it’s usually written before the first draft and used for pitching film ideas throughout the industry.
Write a Blog Post
If you write nonfiction, this should be easy; just write a post about one of your usual topics. If you’re a poet or a fiction writer, write about the craft, the industry, or use subject matter from your written works.
Writing description is an important skill. Create a one-page description for a story setting, or describe a location you’ve visited, or write a description of a real person or a fictional character.
Turn Memories Into Magic
Memories can provide a wealth of ideas for any type of writing, from poetry to fiction and a variety of essays. Choose an early memory and write it as a story, essay, or poem.
Social media is ideal for people who can write snappy, witty, and entertaining or engaging vignettes. Social media is an excellent tool for writers to find readers and connect with one another, so mastering a couple of these social platforms is a good idea if you hope to build a career as a writer.
Rewrite What You Don’t Like
Dig through your old, discarded writings and find a piece that had some potential. Then rewrite it.
Analyze a Written Work
Choose a piece of writing (it can be a book, an article, an essay — anything) and then write an analysis of at least 2,000 words (or about four pages).
Read and Resemble
Read a handful of poems by a single poet and then attempt writing a poem in that poet’s voice. This is not an exercise in copying; it’s an exercising in studying the voice of a writer. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it with works of fiction and write a scene in an author’s voice.
Write a Review
Choose a book that you’ve read recently and write a detailed review of it. What worked? What didn’t work? What did you like? What didn’t you like? Remember, a review should help a book find its readers. Who is this book for, if not for you?
Get Busy with These Creative Writing Activities!
What are some of your favorite creative writing activities? Have you done any of the activities on this list? Which ones would you want to try? Can you think of any writing activities to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing!
Thank you for all these wonderful ideas. After a very long hiatus from the writing world (mostly because of health) I am feeling a bit rusty. Using some of these ideas will certainly prime the pump! I really enjoy your blog and appreciate the basics of grammar, etc. I find that I have slipped into some old habits just in my everyday writing and your tips help me get back on track.
Thanks, Ann. I’m always touched by comments like yours. It keeps me going when people let me know this blog is helpful or inspiring. So thank you for taking the time. Best of luck and keep writing!
The character journal is a great idea!!!
The problem with the character journal is that it could be time consuming, but I love it as a way to get to know a character, and more specifically, to get inside a character’s head.
All of these ideas are wonderful. I’m especially attracted to the last two suggestions. Both of those activities are fun for me and certainly bound to be helpful concerning my writing skills.
When I must wait in the car (with a sleeping grandchild, for instance) I’m only happy if I can see folks as they come and go.
We play word games on a regular basis and have found it strengthens the writing skills of even those of us who do not call ourselves wordsmiths.
Keep up the excellent work.
Thanks so much for your kind words, Yvonnne. I’m looking forward to the day when the little ones in my family (niece and nephew) are old enough to play word and letter games.
Thanks for these wonderful ideas. I ‘m taking a couple of days off from writing my memoir, and will try them out.’Writing as one of my characters’ and ‘sitting in some heavily populated place for observations’ are intriguing.
Those are my two favorites as well. Good luck, Margaret, and enjoy your hiatus. I hope it refreshes you so you can return to your memoir.
Love the character journal idea! To keep my vocab going I choose pages out of the dictionary/thesaurus to keep my brain working. It also does wonders for my muse. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this list.
I write a lot of scenes and backstory for my characters, which are never included in the book. Exploring the characters outside of the narrative has proven to be very helpful in better understanding them.
Well, I’ve been absent for quite a long while. But I have been busy. A spec piece submitted to my local daily newspaper landed me a column. (Who couldda guessed?) I also write theater reviews for them; write what you know has never been more true.
Consequently, I find that my creative writing has slowed quite a bit. The sequel to my debut needs, maybe, two more chapters yet there it sits, though a production company asked for it. Even reading the preceding few chapters doesn’t help me get into the character’s heads in order to finish the thing.
Got any ideas?
Congrats on landing a column, Paul. That’s awesome. I’m not sure why you’ve been unable to finish your sequel, so I can’t offer any specific suggestions, but you can start by fguring out why you’re not finishing it (no time, lost interest, etc.), and then you can probably rectify the problem.
Wonderful! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.
You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting!
It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Every writer needs to step away.
I live near the University of Oregon. Every now and than I take a walk through campus. I try to time it during a busy school day. I wish I could bottle the youthful energy that is floating in the wind.
If any of you live near a school try it.
Thank you for the list. It helps a lot.
Yes, breaks are great refreshers for a creative mind. You’re lucky to live near a beautiful place for walks.
I don’t speek english so, sorry if i write wrong, but i need to tell you that your blog is amazing. Your write it’s soo good and make me wanna write. I have 15 years old and i love write, maybe I become a writter when I grew up, and I don’t know how to make my ideias go for the paper but your blog has helped me. Thank you!!
Hi Isabella. Thanks for sharing your passion for writing. I’m glad you’re enjoying this blog. Keep writing!
Thank you for your useful ideas! You have inspired me to try out new formats. I’m not a professional writer, it’s more my hobby. But still, I want to improve myself by writing texts and short stories.
You’re welcome. I’m glad this inspired you, and I’m thrilled that you’re working toward improvement. That’s wonderful!
Hi Melissa! I just wanted you to know that I recently bought some of your books and I absolutely love them and carry them around with me everywhere. Keep up the amazing work! Best wishes, Sandra Harris.
Wow, you just made my day, Sandra. That’s one of the nicest things anyone has said about my books. I’m so glad you like them. Keep writing!
Thank you for those amaing ideas. I’m not exactly stuck, as I know where my latest book is going, but I’m a bit lacking in motivation right now. Some of your suggestions might just get my juices flowing again.
Hi Vivienne. You’re welcome. I’m glad you found some motivation here. Keep writing!