Forum Friday: Creative Warm-Ups

Every writer’s practice is different, but we all get stuck sometimes, right? That’s where a warm-up or creative exercise– a mad libs, a freewrite, a list, a blog post, a letter that you’ll never send, what have you– can fling a handful of fun at you and save the day.

Do you use a creative practice to help boost-start your writing? If so, what– or what have some of your favorites been?

In school, one of my favorites was a classroom exercise. The class would brainstorm and agree on a setting, some basic characters, and an object– then freewrite a story for ten to twenty minutes. Some pretty awesome results (involving a ninja, a drunken cheerleader, and a roll of duct tape at Bally Total Fitness, for example) still stand out in my mind to this day.


14 thoughts on “Forum Friday: Creative Warm-Ups

  1. I like to warm up by free writing some flash fiction. Usually it’s nothing too special, but it’ll get my mind in gear. If I like what I’ve written I’ll post it on my blog. If I’m particularly stuck, the Daily Prompts here work well.

    And of course these warm ups are best when I have coffee to go along with them. 🙂

    • Good on you, Kevin! Since leaving the classroom setting I have unfortunately shied away from the flash fiction. Really think I ought to try it without brakes and see what happens! As someone who frequents flash fiction, do you have any advice/resources that you might point a wannabe like me to? (Coffee is a given ;))

      • Sure! As a creative person, flash fiction might be great for you, especially if you’re planning to just wing it and see how a story goes. Flash fiction generally runs from 300-1,000 words so the idea is to introduce characters, setting, and conflict as soon as possible. It’s important to cut down the fluff also. That’s my advice 🙂

        I’m planning to ask someone to do a guest post on my blog about flash fiction. We could all learn a thing or two 🙂

  2. Actually I often warm up for the day’s ‘real’ writing by doing a blog post. It helps me prime myself for diving back into my story. Like a writing warm-up jog before the intensive mental workout of writing a new scene/chapter.

    • Oooh, that’s a great way to keep your blog active– and maybe even help keep you accountable for writing frequently! I like the warm-up metaphor you’re working, too. Even though the writer’s work is more mental than physical, I think we absolutely benefit from warm-ups, too.

  3. All my writing sounds like mad libs. I like putting on different songs from different genres and doing separate free writing exercises to each of them and stopping once the song is over. So I’ll freewrite straight for 3-4 mins then switch songs and start a new session. Then I like to use the cut-up method using the content from the freewriting exercises and then that usually gets me thinking outside the box.

    • Tony, that sounds amazing! I’ve never heard of anything like that! I want to try that now… How many songs do you usually go through? More than a few seems like it would be difficult to weave altogether (though I guess that would be part of the fun, wouldn’t it?).

      • I’ll try to do like maybe 4 or 5. It started with just trying to freewrite for 15-20 mins straight and that’s really hard so I broke it up into chunks and used the songs as a timer and inspiration. For me, the different genres of music produce different types of writing. I’ll listen to portishead then peeping tom then like the ramones and then maybe miles davis. It is hard to weave it together but you can usually come up with something creative. Have you ever been to ? I think you would like that site.

  4. I tried a change of scenery last Sunday – I headed out and sat under a random tree with a pen and notebook for a few hours. Worked a treat and I’ll do likewise tomorrow.

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