13 June 2010

50 Excellent Writing Activities to Cultivate Your Creativity and Craft

by Jesse Young

If you’re a good writer, you can succeed in any industry, no matter what kind of online degree you have. But even great writers sometimes have trouble organizing their work, polishing up the details, or even picking a cohesive idea to write about. Here are 50 excellent writing exercises to help cultivate your creativity and craft, from brainstorming to beating writer’s block and remembering your motivation.

Part 1 of 7: Brainstorming and Organization

Try these brainstorming exercises to map out your ideas, spur on your creativity, and plan your project.

1. Levels: Break down your topic sentence or main theme into levels to create subtopics and then single terms that you can explore individually with lists, charts or free-writing.

2. Free-writing: This traditional form of brainstorming involves writing down anything that comes to your mind even if you don’t think it makes sense. Set a timer for 10 minutes and write down everything.

3. Be a journalist: Ask the questions a journalist would ask if he or she were covering your story. This will help you develop a logical plot.

4. Close your eyes: This exercise worked for little kids and could help you, too. Close your eyes and think of keywords you’d like to expand upon, then open your eyes and write down your strongest memories and responses.

5. Describe any object in great detail: This brainstorming exercise challenges you to play with adjectives, make up metaphors, and study the nature of an object.

6. Choose a challenge: Make a list of challenges and then build your story around solving it.

7. Organize all the pieces visually: Whether it’s your to-do list, character family tree or essay research, map out your pieces visually on a chart.

8. Brain Writing: This group exercise involves writing down your ideas on a piece of paper, passing it to a facilitator, who then passes them back out in random order. Each person in the group will spend a few minutes adding on to the original idea or story, then passes it on to the next person.

9. Consider all the senses: Write down all the senses you’d experience if you were witnessing the scene in your story.

10. Plan projects week by week: Angela Booth recommends that multi-tasking writers schedule writing projects week by week in order to stay organized.

next week: Writer's Block


  1. Good list, Jesse. I saw some I already do and others I'd love to try out. Can't wait to see the rest of the list!

  2. I've found organizing the information visually to be especially helpful for me.

  3. Hey I just came over from your tweet. I'm in the US and had no trouble getting on your blog and my computer is sorta glitchy. Especially with LJ

  4. Thank-you. I appreciate it. I just got the problem worked out. Tricky stuff these blogs...

  5. Great article Jesse, Thanks! I'll check out the links.