Okay, this writing exercise is super simple and effective. Get into the habit of collecting tidbits for your writing. There’s no limit to what you collect, for example:
- Bits of sensory detail
- Figurative language – similies/metaphors etc.
- Fun facts
- Vocabulary – yes, words!
Make a habit of writing these down in a notebook to save and use for later.
Write every day! I cannot stress this enough. Even if it’s just one bit, it counts! Collect away, fellow artists! Over time it adds up to a pile of raw material that can build anything you want.
~ Observations can be anything interesting you notice. For example: A young woman in my morning Creative Writing class always comes in with the same beverage, iced coffee. You just got a character trait.
~ Bits of Sensory Detail can be anything from how heel clicks sound different depending on the surface they hit or how the sunlight feels depending on the color you wear.
~ Dialogue can be tricky to come up with or hard to make realistic, so keep your ears open for bits you’re lucky enough to catch, remember, and write down. Do so at your own risk!
~ Figurative Language can be especially helpful for poets, so collect comparisons, personifications, sounds for onomatopoeia, etc.
~ Patterns/Habits can run along the same lines, so I’ll stick them together. These are wonderful character traits, so keep an eye out for interesting patterns or habits like someone ordering the same meal when they go out to eat or someone who takes the same way home from work every day.
~ Reactions are awesome characterizers as well. Watch how people interact with social boundaries and compare that to when those are broken. Keep in mind how people react to confrontation, fear, uncomfortable situations, etc. It’s useful in and out of fiction!
~ Fun Facts can be worthwhile to learn for their own sake, or they can be great prompts or tidbits for world creation. Also, you can make endless fiction by twisting them and using them for characters like someone who’s a habitual liar or someone who likes to think they know everything.
~ Questions are wonderful prompts, but they can also help everything from setting to world creation to scene writing to characterization. Look up lists of questions, and steal the interesting ones! Heck, even the mundane ones can be twisted for use.
~ Vocabulary is a wonderful thing for writers for obvious reasons, but learning words that sound or look pretty can be a whole other thing entirely. It can open up new worlds especially if you learn words from new languages and start mixing and matching. The range for vocab use is limitless!
I know the act of writing can be a daunting task, but if you start with little pieces of material like this, it’ll pay off. Not only will you form the habit of writing things down, you’ll gather pieces you can use over and over to suit your needs. If nothing else, it’s a new hobby to open your eyes and ears to the world around you.
If there’s something you’d like to add, let me know in the comments below!