My Favourite Writing Exercise

Sit down at you desk/on your bed/in a nook/wherever you feel comfortable writing with a pen, a notebook, and your music playing device with some headphones. Write the date at the top of the page and the song you’re going to write to.
Put your headphones in, ready your pen and notebook, and press play.

Write until the song is over. Write whatever you like, or whatever comes to mind, just don’t stop. Your pen must keep moving until it’s over. If you write faster than you can think (which does tend to happen), rewrite the same word over and over again until your thoughts catch up and you can carry on. The important thing is to never let your pen stop moving until the song is over.

When the song is over, unless you’ve stumbled on to a genius idea that needs to come to fruition right in that moment, stop writing. Take a step back. Stretch. Breathe. Choose the same or a new song with a different length. Repeat.
This exercise is wonderful because it forces you to get out of your head, to stop doubting yourself, and do that one all important thing: WRITE. It’s so easy to get tangled up in thoughts of doubt and self depreciation; it can cripple your writing. When you’re forced keep going even if what you’re writing is absolute shit, you have no choice but to to get passed it. There is no other option because in this exercise, your pen must continue. This exercise one of the best ways to get over writer’s block; I managed to get a brand new short story out yesterday by doing it!

It doesn’t have to be done exactly the way I instructed it either.

When I first encountered this writing exercise, it was done a little differently. It was simply a timed exercise, and there was no music involved. I used to do it with a little hour glass on my desk, but I soon realized that I could use the length of a song as the timer. One of my favourite songs to write to is Always Attract by You Me at Six because it’s a length I prefer (about six minutes) and it’s pretty  in a kind of sad way. I also like using music as a timer because if I have no friggen clue what to write about that day, I can write about the music. But if you’re not a musically inclined person, feel free to use a stop watch app on your phone or to listen to whale sounds or whatever it is that helps you write. Just make sure that for the amount of time you set, you don’t let your pen stop. That’s the most important part.

Happy writing!


6 thoughts on “My Favourite Writing Exercise”

  1. Yes, I do something similar that is really helpful! I got the idea from a writer at a con (Melissa Marr) to have a separate playlist for each character, though my variation is Pandora stations. And I’ll set the timer for five minutes and freewrite. I don’t always use everything that comes up in the manuscript, but definitely more than I expect! Really helps get past the inner perfectionist.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this idea! Great point about using the music as a timer. Sometimes I’ll listen to classical music without actually writing and imagine who the characters would be and what they might be doing if it were a movie soundtrack. You can get some great inspiration that way, too!


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