Throughout this month, I and others from the Roost staff have offered some tips and suggestions for getting those juices flowing again as you push through NaNoWriMo, aiming for that 50,000-word goal. So today, I thought I’d offer up some specific writing exercises instead of merely directing you to other websites for resources. These are the ones I’ve found most effective for myself.
Stream of consciousness writing sounds like something you’d do on a meditation trip. The reality, though, is any time you’re “spewing it out” onto the page, un-edited, not self-correcting, you’re doing this exercise.
Personally, I find this exercise the most effective for when I struggle to get to know a character and figure out what she’d do next. I often do this for writing monologues for plays or when I just can’t figure out a character’s motivations.
To do it, just sit down at the computer, typewriter, or notebook (yes, my husband is insane enough to have done this for three years via notebook and pen!), think about a character, scene, or plot point and just start writing whatever comes to your brain.
Typically, I find this results in a whole lot of nothing in the first several paragraphs. But then, it morphs into things that make sense. Eventually, the stream turns into a viable flow of thoughts and words coming from the characters I’m writing about.
A favorite writing exercise in my writing group has become this three-dice game. First, you need three six-sided dice with standard numbers. Next, you think of three categories and fill in the blanks for each number in the categories. Then, you set a timer, and you have to write for that 15-20 minutes, doing yourself to complete the short story (or in the case of NaNoWriMo, scene or chapter).
An example of this would be for a fantasy novel you’re writing:
Roll the dice, set the timer, and write!
The last exercise I’ll suggest is Inspiring Pictures. This is a writing exercise I’ve used for many years whenever I’ve struggled to come up with something “next” in my current work-in-progress (WIP).
Go to a site like Flickr, Pixabay, or Unsplash, and type in a keyword that fits the genre you’re writing. That might be something like dragons or unicorns for fantasy, spaceships or aliens for sci-fi, romance or love for romance novels, or detective or mystery for cozy mysteries.
Scroll through the images that pop up. What strikes you? Does any image evoke anything or draw your mind to the story you’re writing? Let the pictures guide your paths in writing.
I like to download the images and keep them handy for other times when I’m hitting the wall, too. They can be inspiring throughout your entire writing, editing, and revising process.
Do you have any writing exercises you’d recommend for NaNoWriMo-ers struggling to hit that word count today? Share in the comments section!
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.