The more you write, the more you fall into a rhythm. This beat becomes easy to follow — so easy that you stop growing.
After awhile, writing gets comfortable. Too comfortable. We settle into habits, not all of them good. We let yourselves get repetitive. We depend so much on routine that we forget what it’s like to wander outside our comfort zone.
It’s time to break out of your rut. Try one (or all!) of these writing exercises to challenge yourself to do things differently. You might even begin to break a habit or learn a new skill in the process.
1. Write the shortest thing you’ve ever written.
2. Write the longest thing you’ve ever written.
3. Explore a genre you’ve never touched before.
4. Create a character that’s the exact opposite of yourself.
5. Take something you’ve written previously and trim it down to half its original word count.
6. Do the same thing, except double it.
7. Share something you’ve written with a friend or family member who’s never read your work (or hasn’t in a long time).
8. Look up writing meet-up groups in your area. Go check one out!
9. Write a personal essay about your past. Go deep. You don’t have to share it — just write it.
10. Write a letter to someone you love. Again, you don’t have to send it.
11. Then write a letter to someone (or something) you hate.
12. Write a story from your pet’s point of view.
13. Write about something you know nothing about.
14. Write about your fandom/obsession — but do so as if you can’t stand it.
15. Try to write 5,000 words in one day. (Already do? 1o,000.)
16. Write about your least favorite emotion.
17. Write a letter to your future self.
18. Go a day without writing anything. No emails, no texts, no notes to self. Then write about how terribly that probably went. :)
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.