Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Why Do a Writing Exercise?

What’s the purpose of a “writing exercise”? Shouldn’t you spend those hard-fought for, spare moments writing something that will actually sell?

Writing exercises serve several purposes.

The first and most important is to get you writing. Too many writers use the lame excuse “I don’t have time” – which, of course, in reality, means writing isn’t important enough for them to turn off the television or get off internet surfing and get down to work.

But an “exercise” – well, those usually just take a few minutes, right? It’s much easier to mentally get one’s head around an exercise than, say, a novel.

So the exercise can get you to put that pen to paper or fingers on keyboards and actually get a few words out there.

If you exercise your writing the way you exercise your body, eventually you will add to the “body” of your work.

If you’re stuck –whether it’s from not working regularly or for working too hard – an exercise can get you moving in a new direction and help unstick you. Sometimes working on something completely unrelated to your Primary Project – especially if it’s something as large as a novel – can help you find your own personal rhythm, separate from the rhythm of your novel.

When you feel as though you’re spinning your wheels, as though you’re retreading the same literary territory over and over again, an exercise can help you stretch. Again, the similarity between the physical exercise and the literary exercise comes into play.

Exercises keep your mind and your keyboard limber. They’re not just for beginning writers – they’re for all writers, to break up your day and widen your perspective.


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