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I’m teaching a creative writing class at PCC right now. I thought I would share my “homework” here, since a lot of readers of this blog don’t live in Portland where the class is offered. I teach the class Thursday nights, so each Friday I will post up the writing exercises we did in class. If you follow along for the next six weeks in a notebook of your own I believe these very simple exercises will help you to get what you want out of your writing practice.

The first three exercises are about how to build a strong writing habit. The last three exercises are about finding ways to get your writing out there and to connect to an audience.

Writing is like anything else, to get good at it you have to practice regularly. If you wanted to become a good chef you would cook a lot, if you want to run a marathon you would run a lot, if you wanted to learn how to play a guitar you practice. Writing is the same way. Don’ think that you can become a good writer by just writing when you feel inspired. You become good at something by doing it on a daily basis. It’s really that simple! To remind me of that truth I have this quote taped above my writing desk.

“Inspiration exists but it has to find us working.”  – Picasso

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If you want some really down to earth advice on how to build a strong daily writing practice you should check out”On Writing” by Stephen King. This guy is a workhorse! You may not want to write Stephen King type books, but his practical advice on how to get down to writing is really meat-and-potatos no nonsense stuff. Even the most abstract and ethereal poet could learn a thing or two from King’s dedication to the craft!

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WRITING EXERCISE #1

Okay, now here is the writing exercise. This should take about 15 minutes. I want you to write three paragraphs (Or you can write three pages the length is your call).

  1. Describe a time in the past when writing was going awesome for you. When you felt creative, inspired, happy with your writing. Maybe it is the time when you got hooked on writing. Describe what it felt like, and try to describe some specifics. What time of day was it? Were you writing in a notebook or on a laptop? Really write a vivid picture.
  2. Imagine yourself in the future having a really great week of writing. Describe everything just like you did on the previous page. Where are you writing, how much are you writing, how does it feel to be at the top of your writing game?
  3. Now imagine that you have kept up with your daily writing practice for a full year. Where are you now? Maybe you finished a book? Maybe you have grown as a writer? Describe what you have achieved and how you feel about it.

That is the exercise! Yes, it is simple.But effective, this exercise is the same visualization that athletes use in training. However it is easier for us writers, because we are already good at the writing part! You can use this exercise as often as you want whenever you feel the need to find inspiration for your writing practice.

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