Every once in a while, we writers need a break from our regular writing routines. Whether we spend our work week crafting copy for clients or dedicate late-night hours pounding out chapter and verse, we occasionally need respite from the monotony.
We get burnt out in the middle of a long project and need to step away to gain some perspective and recharge our creativity. Sometimes we need to rejuvenate between projects. When a major project is finished, we need to find our next big idea.
But we also want to keep writing. A short hiatus from writing starts with good intentions but ends with a writer wondering how months or years have slipped by without getting any real writing done.
One way to continue writing while taking a break from our work is to try different creative writing activities. These activities remind us that writing is fun, meaningful, and invigorating, and they keep our writing skills sharp.
Creative Writing Activities
These creative writing activities provide respite from your daily writing routine. Try one or try them all. Use them when you need a break from your regular work or when you’re between projects.
- Image Prompts: Flip through some images on Instagram, Pinterest, or Google image search and see what sparks an idea. Don’t place limitations on your writing—just let the words flow.
- Character Diary: 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 reveal their innermost thoughts and feelings to you.
- Poetry Walk: Grab a notebook and a pen and then set out on a walk around your neighborhood, through town, or along a park pathway. When you near the end of your walk, find a bench or comfortable place to sit and draft a poem.
- Memory Prompts: Grab an old photo album or flip through the photos on your phone—or use recall to draw up memories that you can write about. Use this as an exercise in writing description or crafting a narrative about something you experienced or witnessed.
- Writing Exercises: 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.
- Character Letters: A character diary gets you inside one character’s head; letters can help you infiltrate multiple characters’ heads. Create an ongoing correspondence to explore character relationships and group dynamics within your cast. As an alternative, put your characters in a chat room.
- Rhyme and Meter: Set your inner musician free by composing lines and couplets in metrical patterns with rhymes. Set your parameters before you start writing, or just let the words flow and note the meter and rhyme afterward.
- Sell Yourself: Eventually, you’ll need to do some business writing. Your book and website will each need a bio. If you want to get traditionally published, you’ll need to compose query letters to agents. Get a head start by working on these materials in advance.
- What-if List: Create a repository of story ideas by writing a list of what-if questions that could spark characters, plots, and settings for your future works of fiction.
- Observation Station: Grab your notebook or journal and head to a heavily populated area. Park yourself on a bench or in a comfy café and do a little people watching. Record your observations and brainstorm ways you can use observation to influence and empower your writing.
What are some of your favorite creative writing activities? Can you think of any writing activities to add to this list? Share your thoughts and experiences by leaving a comment, and keep writing!