Writing Exercises #1

Writing advice is often all too sketchy and can be without value. However, writing exercises are just what they sound like Exercise.

Over the last four or five months, I’ve been writing 10 ideas down every day, as suggested in the James Altucher book “Choose Yourself.” I enjoy this bit of exercise, but that’s the not what this post is about. You see, today I wrote my 10 ideas on the subject of 10 ways to multitask, on account of some advice I got through J. Daniel Sawyer’s podcast, “NaNoWriMo Every Month” in response to a question I sent in about getting stuck on stories.

I have been stuck today. So I thought about the advice Sawyer gave me through his podcast. He recommended switching between different projects when stuck on one. So I used that as the theme of my 10 ideas for today. Then I gave them cliches for names because I liked the contrast.

Here they are.

1. “Ping Pong” Perform one writing sprint of 20 minutes on one story. Then switch to a second story and write 20 minutes in that. Then repeat first on one story, then on the second. This is a very basic form of switching around.

2. “Double Jeopardy” Start by writing one story until the story reaches a cliffhanger. Then switch to a different story and write until arriving at a cliffhanger in that one as well. Then go back to the first one and continue from the cliffhanger there.

3. “Triple Threat” Add a third project to the rotation of “Ping Pong” or “Double Jeopardy.”

4. “Reverse Relics” Write and element, object, or character of some kind in one story, then use an opposite or reversed element in the next story switched to in a rotation.

5. “1000 Word Flip” Write 1000 words in a story, then flip a coin. If heads, keep writing on the same story. If tails switch to a different story. Repeat.

6. “Game Time” Give points to stories for the results of each game session.
Suggested points values:
-For every 500 words added to in a session score 1 point.
-Add +2 points for a full thousand words in a single session.
-Add +2 points per session in which a “flow state” is achieved.

7. “Duel” Start with “Ping Pong” or “Double Jeopardy” but after one round of each do another round of the one that scored higher using the rules from “Game Time,” or whichever one was more enjoyable to work on.

8. “Elimination” Start with “Triple Threat” and write for a session for each of the three. After that, take the two more enjoyable or higher scoring stories and do another session on each one. Then pick a winner and do another session on that story.

9. “Add one!” Start with any of the others and add another story to rotation. Use as desired, of course, but don’t get too scattered, lest frustration ensue.

10. “Drop and give me ten!” Do a writing sprint for 20 minutes. If over 1000 words are achieved, good. If fewer than 1000 words get written, do push-ups during the break between sprints.

And here are a few bonus ideas.

11. “Words of war” Requires twenty sided dice. Each story becomes a character from an RPG. In true D20 game style, add 1 to each roll per full 100 words written in the story. Do this for two or more stories. Then roll off against each other to pick the winner. Simple, but could be fun.

12. “Super words RPG” Better idea for people who like Mutants and Masterminds, the superhero RPG. Write one sprint for each of the eight ability scores of a character in order: Strength, Dexterity, Stamina, Agility, Intellect, Awareness, Presence, Fighting. Divide the word counts by 100 and then make the character after the 8th sprint on a given story. Name the character after book. Then laugh at yourself.

13. “Nemesis” Start with the Super RPG and alternate stories for the same ability score. So Tenlyres Girl is going up against Maker Mythos Man! After making both characters, take a nap. That’s a full day’s work kids.

14. “Red and the Black” Requires a deck of playing cards. Deal one card to each story in the set. The number is the number is the 100s of words to write in that session. Consider a shift in focus based on the suit.
Diamonds focus on objects.
Hearts focus on emotions.
Spades focus on thoughts or ideas.
Clubs focus on in-world mechanics.

Anyway, this post has grown long. But it has been a fun diversion for me.

I hope at least of these goofy ideas works for you if you’re a writer. Let me know in the comments if you try any of them. I may come up with more exercises in the future. I’m considering doing it regularly on Thursdays, but we will see.

Thanks for reading.

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