10 Writing Exercises for Beginners to Improve Writing Skills

When you’re a beginner at writing, practicing every day can be tiring at first. You may start to question if there’s any point to practicing, or if you’re improving at all.

It’s a common misconception in the writing community that you’re either a good writer or you’re not. That’s not true at all! Just like how the greatest tennis player trains for countless hours each day, the best writers set aside time to hone their writing.

Like all other skills, writing takes time and effort to master. This can be done with professional coaching, or just by yourself at home.

Creative writing activities are the best way to get those writers’ juices flowing. These writing exercises for beginners can be a great way to switch things up and train your mind to do better.

What are creative writing activities?

Creative writing activities are short writing sessions designed to challenge your brain. They can make you approach topics differently. 

By doing writing exercises for beginners regularly, you can strengthen your regular writing style. As you’re working on these writing prompts for beginners, you’re learning how to do something in a different way every time.

10 Writing Exercises to Try

Set creative limitations 

We’ve always been told to think outside of the box – why not try thinking inside of it for a change?

Limitations are said to be the savior of creativity. If you’re experiencing a little bit of writer’s block, try this challenge.

Here are some writing prompts for beginners that set creative limitations:

  • Write a story without using the letter “a”.
  • Write a poem without using adjectives.
  • Write a story using only words that have less than 6 letters.
  • Write a scene without referring to any of the characters by name or description. They should be identifiable only by their unique dialogue.

Freewriting

Freewriting is one of the most common writing exercises for beginners. It’s recommended as a daily activity, usually at the start of your day. You can try out freewriting to get the wheels turning before you move on to other creative writing activities.

To start free writing, just open up a blank document or grab a new page. Take your pen, or prepare yourself to start typing. Set a timer if you’d like. Then just write. Don’t go back to edit or delete any words – let it all flow out.

Here are some ways you can utilize your free-written material:

  • Examine your free writing for a deeper insight into your unfiltered thought process.
  • Try stringing some words or concepts together to prompt your next poem.
  • Take a few phrases to use as writing prompts for beginners.

Writing prompts for beginners

Writing prompts are usually done to kick off a poem or short story. Prompts are a set of words or phrases that you’ll interpret into any piece of writing. 

studying girl

There are many writing prompt generators available online that you can use. If you’d like to be a little more personal with your prompt, you can search for them all around you. Inspiration can strike from your favorite book, a comment on a forum, or a few words someone mentioned to you in passing. Write often, and learn to write spontaneously when motivation strikes.

Metaphor exercise

Creating unconventional metaphors is another one of the great writing exercises for beginners. It challenges you to think out of the box this time, and trains your critical thinking ability.

To start doing the metaphor exercise, create two lists. In the first one, write down concrete, tangible nouns. These can be objects, animals, or places. In the second list, write down an equal number of abstract ideas or concepts. Then randomly choose one item from each list and try to create a metaphor. For example, “war is a box of Girl Scout cookies”.

The challenge is to now explain how the metaphor works in a way that makes sense. You can create a short story, poem, or flash fiction piece out of this metaphor. Each pair of metaphors you create can become individual writing prompts for beginners.

Write flash fiction

Flash fiction exercises are also one of the best creative writing activities. It’s a type of short story that shouldn’t exceed 500 words – but contains all the elements of a complete story. 

Writing flash fiction can help you determine the essential parts of a narrative from the non-essentials. These writing exercises for beginners prompt you to ask yourself if certain sections are necessary. If they don’t contribute anything real to the story, cut them out.

Switch point of view

Perspective is a dominant part of any book or story. No narrator is truly omniscient, and your story could completely change if it’s told by someone else!

This can be good practice if you need to spend some time working on side characters. Take any scene you want. How will the story be told from a bystander’s perspective? What details will be left out or included? How will they perceive the main character’s situation?

Write an ad

Advertisements are prime material for practicing your persuasive writing. Choose any product from a catalog, your kitchen, or an online store. Then write an ad for it! 

Try to convince your hypothetical readers to buy your product in as few words as possible. You can apply this to any situation in your writing where situations of convincing need to happen.

Retell a good story

It’s always a great idea to learn from the best. Rewriting or plagiarism isn’t the goal here: it’s taking inspiration from your favorite book or story and adding your own flair. 

writing woman

Don’t just use the same elements and paraphrase them. Do something different with it! Maybe swap out narrators, POVs, or add a new character that brings more dimension to the story. This is a great way to practice writing without much effort. You don’t have to go through the whole process of worldbuilding and character creation yourself.

Talk to yourself

One popular trend in journaling is to send yourself a letter or write something addressed to a different version of yourself. This is a helpful exercise that is productive for your mental health too!

Think of a point in your life when you needed support the most. Then, compose a letter to yourself that says everything you needed to hear at the time. You can also do this for your future self. What do you expect will happen at this point in your life? Offer advice or words of encouragement.

This activity will force you to experiment with different styles, tones, and moods. In the end, perhaps you’ll learn something new about yourself as a writer.

Blog or journal

The best writing exercise is to simply just write. Although it can be hard to formulate fictional plot lines or stories on the go and you might burn out after a while. 

In that case, blogging or journaling is a great way to cultivate your writing habit without spending too much time on fictional details! Just write about your life, interests, and everyday happenings. If you choose to publish them online, it’s also an effective strategy to connect with your audience and readers.

Hone your writing skills with Sixth Sense Publishing! Practicing by yourself is a great way to improve, but it’s always better to have the support of your own writing community. The Global Society for Aspiring Writers offers premium resources for you to reach your goals as an aspiring author.