Five Creative Writing Exercises | Post

It’s okay to fail NaNoWriMo. Writing is a process. At least I hope it is or I’m out of luck. Writing, like just about anything else in life, is a skill you can practice and get better at. So if you are feeling down about your lack of progress this NaNo, or just want to continue practicing your craft, this is the video for you. Why? Cause I’m in the same boat. I’m just practicing my craft and plan on doing these exercises along the way.

Videos of me doing it

  • Random Image Generator

Google any random image generator or start with this one. This is an easy place to start and requires no written prompt. Simply find an image that inspires you and create a story/build a scene around it.

  • The hero! What is the most heroic tribute you can think of? How many layers can you peel away until you reach the core of the trait?

It might answer questions about who you are as a creator too. Do you see courage as the defining characteristic of a hero, or empathy, or maybe brute force like Hercules.

  • Put yourself in a room and describe the setting using all 5 senses.

Use your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and touch for this scene. Do you taste metal and cold saliva? Hear the wooden floorboards creaking from the draft. Think of a space, even if it’s just your living room, and include all your senses.

  • Character Creation and Bio

This is how I start my stories and books. I use the character bio in scrivener and it helps me create unique fears, conflicts, and motivations for my characters. Personally, I find motivation to be the most intriguing driving force in a story and spend a lot of time focusing on that.

  • Three wishes: Your character wakes a genie and gets three wishes. What are they and write a scene showing the consequences of that wish.

Just for fun, create a proactive character and figure out their greatest desires and the positive/negative consequences that follow when their wish is granted.

So there you have it. Five exercises to hone your craft. Comment below with your results. I’m by no stretch of the imagination a master of this craft and am always excited to meet new writers to improve with.

Lessons Learned From Rejections

Rejection is important. I don’t want to annoy you with some long stories of overcoming rejection and persevering to become the man I always knew I could be. For one it just wouldn’t be accurate and two I really don’t want to bore you. Instead, I’m going to touch on rejection in business and creative endeavors.

I learned for one that anything in life worth pursuing is going to be full of competition and you are going to get rejected along the way, and it’s not so much as how much you grow talent-wise, though that’s obviously important, it’s more about your resiliency.

Your talent won’t have a chance to grow if you run away at the first sign of rejection. I know this isn’t something you don’t already know. This mantra circulates social media daily. Accounts share stories of perseverance and a willingness to succeed playing a more significant role than raw talent in a person’s career.

It’s advice we’ve all heard before and one reason is that it’s true. When I got started with writing, I wrote poetry more than fiction because, putting it bluntly, you can write more poems in a day than you can write fiction in a day, which means you can send out more query letters to literary magazines and you have more opportunities to get accepted. Quantity—quantity—quantity.

Of course, I got rejected a lot because if you are writing five or ten poems, a day chances are a few of them (if not all of them) are going to be–subpar.

I still have a slight fear of rejection, but it’s nothing like it used to be. When I first pursued writing in college, I would hover over the submit button for ten full minutes before finally holding my breath and sending out my work.  I took rejections personally too, even if I knew it wasn’t my best work and let a boilerplate response ruin my day. But as time wore on, and the rejection letters piled up (wow this is not making me sound like a good writer) my skin grew a little thicker, and I was able to brush it off and move on to the next one. Now, I’m not saying this guarantees I’ll succeed as a writer, but my chances have improved.

Moving on to traditional business endeavors. When I first moved down to New Orleans and started a consulting firm with my brother and father, I scheduled two meetings my first two weeks. They were both booked off LinkedIn, both essentially cold calls, and both turned down our services. Two rejections right out of the gate–and I couldn’t be more thankful for that.

If it weren’t for those two rejections, I might’ve still feared pitching potential clients, or closing a sale. Yes, these rejections helped me on a technical front, they forced me to revisit my pitch, and focus on my delivery, but they also helped develop a skill I didn’t know I needed–the ability to brush off rejection–the ability to keep moving forward. You could be the most talented individual in your field but if you crumble when your ideas or pitches are rejected your career will stall.

Dealing with rejection is a skill, and it’s one anyone can learn. All a person has to do is put themselves out there a little more.