Writing is a part of your everyday life, even if you don’t consider yourself a writing expert. Most jobs require you to send emails, or fill out reports or memos of some sort. But even if you don’t love writing for work, regularly engaging in creative writing exercises can make it more fun, while you build valuable skills.
Creative writing does a lot more for you than make you more creative. Completing creative writing exercises on a regular basis also reduces stress, enhances critical thinking and comprehension skills, endorses effective communication, and promotes empathy. And having all those skills are extremely important in the business world.
Here are some exercises you can complete to fine-tune your writing skills today.
Collect Vocabulary Words to Inspire Scenes in a Short Story
Sign up to receive a word-of-the day from an online dictionary, or create your own list of words as you read articles or books throughout the day. Then, at least four to five times a week, set aside fifteen to twenty minutes to write a scene inspired by one of the words on your list. Each day, add a scene to your story that’s related to the one you wrote the previous day, a different scene inspired by a different word on your list. By the end of the week you'll have a short story that you can review over the weekend.
This exercise will help you build your vocabulary, fine-tune your critical thinking and comprehension skills, and build your levels of empathy if you decide to develop more complex characters.
Generate Ideas from Photos or Illustrations
Gather photos from online magazines or social media posts periodically and save them in a folder that you can access on any device. Open this folder a few times a week, or whenever you need inspiration for your writing. Be careful not to share or redistribute any images without the owners’ consent.
While you can write a story about the photos, the main purpose of this exercise is simply to generate ideas for your writing. Try to come up with titles to articles or books that the image inspires. If it helps, write a short caption or journal entry about the photo, what it makes you think about or how it makes you feel. When you generate ideas from images, you’re building critical thinking and comprehension skills. And if the photos contain people, you’ll develop empathy skills as you try to envision yourself in their world.
Rewrite a News Story or Academic Article
If you want to test your overall comprehension of a subject, you should complete this exercise. To rewrite a news story or academic article, you’ll first have to conduct your own research. Take research from diverse and reputable resources to compile your own piece of writing. After you summarize the popular argument or stance on a subject from the research you collected, then insert your own take on it.
This might seem like a dull exercise that you would have completed in school, but remember that you can write about any subject that you want to be an expert on, a subject not assigned to you by a teacher or a boss. Whether you’re passionate about wine and cheese pairings or the political climate in Afghanistan, you get to decide what you want to learn more about and write about.
Use the First Line of a Novel for Speed Writing
Grab any novel sitting on your shelf at home or in your office. Open it to the first page. Write down the first line you read. Then keep writing as fast as you can without stopping for fifteen minutes. It doesn’t matter if all you write is gibberish, and you don’t even have to read it once you’re done. Just keep writing.
Completing this exercise whenever you have writer’s block will reduce your stress levels because it encourages you to be uninhibited while you’re writing. If you want to reduce your stress levels even more, keep reading the novel for fifteen to twenty minutes after you’ve completed the exercise.
Write a Review or Opinion, Then Play Devil's Advocate
First write down why you like something you have seen, read, owned, or experienced. You can also write an opinion you have on a topic. The stronger your view point about what you’re writing about, the better. Next, write the opposing view to your argument or opinion. If you can't see the topic from the opposing viewpoint, then talk to someone who has a different view from the one you hold and summarize their viewpoint.
This exercise enhances comprehension, critical thinking, and communication skills. You’re not only expanding your comprehension of a topic, you’re developing the communication skills required to explain it to an opposing party, which will also require an increased level of empathy.
Creative writing is a wonderful way to simultaneously let your mind wander and make it sharper. The best part about enhancing your business writing skills with creative writing exercises is, of course, that it’s not boring or tedious, and each exercise is driven by you.
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