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But that’s where timers (10-20 minutes seems to be a good baseline, depending on the complexity of the exercise) and a group come in handy.Knowing that you’re going to share what you wrote with a group helps keep you accountable, and, from my own experience, elevates the quality of my writing immensely.
Many writers, whether directly or indirectly, write about their own experiences.
Writing about real life can certainly lend an authenticity to your voice.
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In these group writing exercises, though, I’m always amazed by what my fellow writers and I can pull out of us in such a short period of time, given all the constraints.
Interestingly, constraints actually free up your mind in a way.
Whereas normally you’d be racking your brain trying to come up with a storyline and characters, exercises take care of that part for you, giving you more time to work on the fun stuff — the details!
When I do writing exercises with my students — mostly in the 10-12 age range — they leave me in the dust every time.
Just as physical exercise builds muscle tone and chisels away at our body fat, writing exercises help us to refine our craft, peeling away the lazy metaphors and uninspired descriptions to reveal the crisp phrases and evocative imagery underneath — the writing we are capable of.
Additionally, because exercises provide you with a prompt to work with, you’re naturally more inclined to rely on your own writerly devices as a source of fuel.