The Best Practice Exercises To Improve Your Writing

By on October 3, 2018
The Best Practice Exercises To Improve Your Writing - Writer's

When it comes to writing, practice makes perfect, and while it is all well and good to write as much as you can, it’s also well worth trying to learn as much as possible about the art of writing too.

Most writers are self-taught, and that’s brilliant, but for those who want to take their writing to the next level, to experiment or to learn about different writing techniques and methods, they need to sit down, read and learn, and then try them out for themselves.

Here are some of the best practice exercises to try and improve your writing:


A great way to improve your writing is by editing someone else’s work. It’s all too easy to get so caught up in our writing and not see the mistakes or the places where the prose could do with improvement. Editing other people’s work trains us to be able to spot these errors more easily, and when we return to our own pieces, we will be better able to weed out problems and inaccuracies.

Rewrite or extend a short story

Find a short story that you love. This could be anything from a classic fairy tale to one written by one of the greats. Think about how you could rewrite it from a different character’s perspective or in a different setting. Alternatively, you could write about what happens next, extend the story, while trying to emulate the style and tone of the original writer. This will help you to think about different points of view as well as learn about different writer’s voices and see whether or not you can emulate another writers style or if your unique writing voice is too strong.

Create new connections

We all need to give our creative selves a boost from time to time. Creating new connections can do just that and inspire us with new ideas for our work going forward. To do this write four headers on pieces of paper: People, places, things, and themes. They write five things underneath each header. For exmaple, grandma, Scotland, photographs, love. Tear up the paper and put all these in a hat and then pull out different mixes to create new connections and see what inspires you to expand.

Work out what works

While this exercise takes time, it can help a writer genuinely understand what works in a story. Take the top 3 bestselling books in your genre and read them. As you do make a timeline of the action, then examine the characters and how they develop and grow, then study the language the author uses, their descriptions and imagery and how they managed to build the world and people within them. Make as many notes as you can and then compare the three, pulling out any similarities. Doing this will help you get to the core of what makes a story successful and you’ll be able to apply your new found knowledge to your work.

Mind mapping and free writing

Sometimes the oldest techniques are the best. Freewriting, where you allow yourself to write whatever is on your mind with complete freedom can help you loosen your creative cogs and give you new ideas. Mind mapping where you start with a central concept or character and then add different layers of detail branching off from this can help you organize your thoughts and come up with new avenues that you may not have thought of otherwise.

So there you have it, the next time you feel as though your writing could do with a bit of a boost, or you are curious to learn something new, give these writing exercises a go and see if they can help to make your writing better, easier and more interesting too.

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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