Literacy Ideas

10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer

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No doubt about it – writing isn’t easy. It is no wonder that many of our students could be described as ‘reluctant writers’ at best. It has been estimated by the National Association of Educational Progress that only about 27% of 8th and 12th-grade students can write proficiently.

As educators, we know that regular practice would go a long way to helping our students correct this underachievement, and sometimes, writing prompts just aren’t enough to light the fire.

But how do we get students, who have long since been turned off writing, to put pen to paper and log the requisite time to develop their writing chops?

The answer is to make writing fun! In this article, we will look at some creative writing activities where we can inject a little enjoyment into the writing game.

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25 Fun Daily Writing Tasks

Quick Write and JOURNAL Activities for ALL TEXT TYPES in DIGITAL & PDF PRINT to engage RELUCTANT WRITERS .

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1. Poetry Scavenger Hunt


The Purpose: This activity encourages students to see the poetry in the everyday language around them while helpfully reinforcing their understanding of some of the conventions of the genre.

The Process: Encourage students to ‘scavenge’ their school, home, and outside the community for snippets of language they can compile into a piece of poetry or a poetic collage. They may copy down or photograph words, phrases, and sentences from signs, magazines, leaflets or even snippets of conversations they overhear while out and about.

Examples of language they collect may range from the Keep Out sign on private property to the destination on the front of a local bus.

Once students have gathered their language together, they can work to build a poem out of the scraps, usually choosing a central theme to give the piece cohesion. They can even include corresponding artwork to enhance the visual appeal of their work, too, if they wish.

The Prize: If poetry serves one purpose, it is to encourage us to look at the world anew with the fresh eyes of a young child. This activity challenges our students to read new meanings into familiar things and put their own spin on the language they encounter in the world around them, reinforcing the student’s grasp on poetic conventions.

2. Story Chains  

The Purpose: Writing is often thought of as a solitary pursuit. For this reason alone, it can be seen as a particularly unattractive activity by many of our more gregarious students. This fun activity exercises students’ understanding of writing structures and engages them in fun, creative collaboration.

The Process: Each student starts with a blank paper and pen. The teacher writes a story prompt on the whiteboard. You’ll find some excellent narrative writing prompts here . For example, each student spends two minutes using the writing prompt to kick-start their writing.  

When they have completed this part of the task, they will then pass their piece of paper to the student next to them. Students then continue the story from where the previous student left off for a given number of words, paragraphs, or length of time.

If organized correctly, you can ensure students receive their own initial story back at the end for the writing of the story’s conclusion .

The Prize: This fun writing activity can be used effectively to reinforce student understanding of narrative writing structures, but it can also be fun to try with other writing genres.

Working collaboratively motivates students to engage with the task, as no one wants to be the ‘weak link’ in the finished piece. But, more than that, this activity encourages students to see writing as a communicative and creative task where there needn’t be a ‘right’ answer. This encourages students to be more willing to take creative risks in their work.

3. Acrostic Associations

Writing Activities, fun writing | acrostic poems for teachers and students | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer |

The Purpose: This is another great way to get students to try writing poetry – a genre that many students find the most daunting.

The Process: Acrostics are simple poems whereby each letter of a word or phrase begins a new line in the poem. Younger students can start off with something very simple, like their own name or their favorite pet and write this vertically down the page.

Older students can take a word or phrase related to a topic they have been working on or have a particular interest in and write it down on the page before beginning to write.

The Prize: This activity has much in common with the old psychiatrist’s word association technique. Students should be encouraged to riff on ideas and themes generated by the focus word or phrase. They needn’t worry about rhyme and meter and such here, but the preset letter for each line will give them some structure to their meanderings and require them to impose some discipline on their wordsmithery, albeit in a fun and loose manner.

4. The What If Challenge

Writing Activities, fun writing | fun writing tasks 1 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer |

The Purpose: This challenge helps encourage students to see the link between posing interesting hypothetical questions and creating an entertaining piece of writing.

The Process: To begin this exercise, have the students come up with a single What If question, which they can then write down on a piece of paper. The more off-the-wall, the better!

For example, ‘What if everyone in the world knew what you were thinking?’ or ‘What if your pet dog could talk?’ Students fold up their questions and drop them into a hat. Each student picks one out of the hat before writing on that question for a suitable set amount of time.

Example What If Questions

  • “What if you woke up one day and found out that you had the power to time travel?”
  • “What if you were the last person on Earth? How would you spend your time?”
  • “What if you were granted three wishes, but each one came with a terrible consequence?”
  • “What if you discovered a secret portal to another world? Where would you go, and what would you do?”
  • “What if you woke up one day with the ability to communicate with animals? How would your life change?”

The Prize: Students are most likely to face the terror of the dreaded Writer’s Block when they are faced with open-ended creative writing tasks.

This activity encourages the students to see the usefulness of posing hypothetical What If questions, even random off-the-wall ones, for kick-starting their writing motors.

Though students begin by answering the questions set for them by others, please encourage them to see how they can set these questions for themselves the next time they suffer from a stalled writing engine.

5. The Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World

Writing Activities, fun writing | disgusting sandwich writing task | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer |

The Purpose: Up until now, we have looked at activities encouraging our students to have fun with genres such as fiction and poetry. These genres being imaginative in nature, more easily lend themselves to being enjoyable than some of the nonfiction genres.

But what about descriptive writing activities? In this activity, we endeavor to bring that same level of enjoyment to instruction writing while also cleverly reinforcing the criteria of this genre.

The Process: Undoubtedly, when teaching instruction writing, you will at some point cover the specific criteria of the genre with your students.

These will include things like the use of a title, numbered or bulleted points, time connectives, imperatives, diagrams with captions etc. You will then want the students to produce their own piece of instruction writing or procedural text to display their understanding of how the genre works.

 But, why not try a fun topic such as How to Make the Most Disgusting Sandwich in the World rather than more obvious (and drier!) topics such as How to Tie Your Shoelaces or How to Make a Paper Airplane when choosing a topic for your students to practice their instruction writing chops?

Example of a Most Disgusting Sandwich Text

The Prize: As mentioned, with nonfiction genres, in particular, we tend to suggest more banal topics for our students to work on while internalizing the genre’s criteria. Enjoyment and acquiring practical writing skills need not be mutually exclusive.

Our students can just as quickly, if not more easily, absorb and internalize the necessary writing conventions while engaged in writing about whimsical and even nonsensical topics.

if your sandwich is entering the realm of horror, be sure to check our complete guide to writing a scary story here as well.

Daily Quick Writes For All Text Types

Daily Quick Write

Our FUN DAILY QUICK WRITE TASKS will teach your students the fundamentals of CREATIVE WRITING across all text types. Packed with 52 ENGAGING ACTIVITIES

6. Diary Entry of a Future Self

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The Purpose: This activity allows students to practice personal writing within diary/journal writing conventions. It also challenges them to consider what their world will be like in the future, perhaps stepping a foot into the realm of science fiction.

The Process: Straightforwardly, after working through some examples of diary or journal writing, and reviewing the various criteria of the genre, challenge the students to write an entry at a given milestone in the future.

This may be when they leave school, begin work, go to university, get married, have kids, retire, etc. You may even wish to get the students to write an entry for a series of future milestones as part of a more extended project.

Example of Message to Future Me Text

The Prize: Students will get a chance here to exercise their understanding of this type of writing , but more than that, they will also get an opportunity to exercise their imaginative muscles too. They will get to consider what shape their future world will take in this engaging thought experiment that will allow them to improve their writing too.

7. Comic Strip Script


The Purpose: Give your students the chance to improve their dialogue writing skills and work on their understanding of character development in this fun activity which combines writing with a series of visual elements.

The Process: There are two ways to do this activity. The first requires you to source or create a comic strip without the dialogue the characters are speaking. This may be as straightforward as using whiteout to erase the words in speech bubbles and making copies for your students to complete.

Alternatively, provide the students with photographs/pictures and strips of cards to form their action sequences . When students have their ‘mute’ strips, they can begin to write the dialogue/script to link the panels together.

The Prize: When it comes to writing, comic strips are probably one of the easier sells to reluctant students! This activity also allows students to write for speech. This will stand to them later when they come to produce sections of dialogue in their narrative writing or when producing play or film scripts.

They will also develop their visual literacy skills as they scan the pictures for clues of tone and context before they begin their writing.

Keep It Fun

Just as we should encourage our students to read for fun and wider educational benefits, we should also work to instil similar attitudes towards writing. To do this means we must work to avoid always framing writing in the context of a chore, that bitter pill that must be swallowed for the good of our health.

There is no getting away from the fact that writing can, at times, be laborious. It is time-consuming and, for most of us, difficult at the best of times. There is a certain, inescapable amount of work involved in becoming a competent writer.

That said, as we have seen in the activities above, with a bit of creative thought, we can inject fun into even the most practical of writing activities . All that is required is a dash of imagination and a sprinkling of effort.

8. Character Interviews

Writing Activities, fun writing | 610f9b34b762f2001e00b814 | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer |

The Purpose: Character interviews as writing activities are excellent for students because they encourage creative thinking, character development, and empathy. The purpose of this activity is to help students delve deeper into the minds of the characters they are creating in their stories or reading about in literature. By conducting interviews with these characters, students gain a better understanding of their personalities, motivations, and perspectives.

The Process of character interviews involves students imagining themselves as interviewers and their characters as interviewees. They can either write out the questions and answers in a script-like format or write a narrative where the character responds to the questions in their own voice.

The Prize: Through character interviews, students learn several valuable skills:

  • Character Development: By exploring various aspects of their characters’ lives, backgrounds, and experiences, students can develop more well-rounded and authentic characters in their stories. This helps make their fictional creations more relatable and engaging to readers.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Conducting interviews requires students to put themselves in their characters’ shoes, considering their thoughts, emotions, and struggles. This cultivates empathy and a deeper understanding of human behavior, which can be applied to real-life situations as well.
  • Voice and Dialogue: In crafting the character’s responses, students practice writing authentic dialogue and giving their characters unique voices. This skill is valuable for creating dynamic and believable interactions between characters in their stories.
  • Creative Expression: Character interviews provide a creative outlet for students to let their imaginations run wild. They can explore scenarios that may not appear in the main story and discover new aspects of their characters they might not have considered before.
  • Critical Thinking: Formulating questions for the interview requires students to think critically about their characters’ personalities and backgrounds. This exercise enhances their analytical skills and storytelling abilities.

Overall, character interviews are a dynamic and enjoyable way for students to delve deeper into the worlds they create or the literature they read. It nurtures creativity, empathy, and writing skills, empowering students to become more proficient and imaginative writers.

9. The Travel Journal

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The Purpose: Travel journal writing tasks are excellent for students as they offer a unique and immersive way to foster creativity, cultural awareness, and descriptive writing skills. The purpose of this activity is to allow students to embark on a fictional or real travel adventure, exploring new places, cultures, and experiences through the eyes of a traveller.

The process of a travel journal writing task involves students assuming the role of a traveler and writing about their journey in a journal format. They can describe the sights, sounds, tastes, and emotions they encounter during their travels. This activity encourages students to use vivid language, sensory details, and expressive writing to bring their travel experiences to life.

The Prize: Through travel journal writing tasks, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Descriptive Writing: By describing their surroundings and experiences in detail, students enhance their descriptive writing skills, creating engaging and vivid narratives.
  • Cultural Awareness: Travel journals encourage students to explore different cultures, customs, and traditions. This helps broaden their understanding and appreciation of diversity.
  • Empathy and Perspective: Through writing from the perspective of a traveler, students develop empathy and gain insight into the lives of people from different backgrounds.
  • Research Skills: For fictional travel journals, students might research specific locations or historical periods to make their narratives more authentic and accurate.
  • Reflection and Self-Expression: Travel journals offer a space for students to reflect on their own emotions, thoughts, and personal growth as they encounter new experiences.
  • Creativity and Imagination: For fictional travel adventures, students get to unleash their creativity and imagination, envisioning fantastical places and scenarios.
  • Language and Vocabulary: Travel journal writing tasks allow students to expand their vocabulary and experiment with expressive language.

Overall, travel journal writing tasks inspire students to become more observant, empathetic, and skilled writers. They transport them to new worlds and foster a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them. Whether writing about real or imaginary journeys, students develop a deeper connection to the places they encounter, making this activity both educational and enjoyable.

10. The Fairy Tale Remix

Writing Activities, fun writing | Glass Slipper | 10 fun writing activities for the reluctant writer |

The Purpose: A fairy tale remix writing activity is a fantastic creative exercise for students as it allows them to put a unique spin on classic fairy tales, fostering imagination, critical thinking, and storytelling skills. This activity encourages students to think outside the box, reinterpret well-known tales, and explore their creative potential by transforming traditional narratives into something entirely new and exciting.

The process of a fairy tale remix writing activity involves students selecting a familiar fairy tale and altering key elements such as characters, settings, plot twists, or outcomes. They can modernize the story, change the genre, or even mix different fairy tales together to create a wholly original piece.

The Prize: Through this activity, students will learn several valuable skills:

  • Creative Thinking: Students exercise their creativity by brainstorming unique concepts and ideas to remix the fairy tales, encouraging them to think imaginatively.
  • Critical Analysis: Analyzing the original fairy tale to identify essential elements to keep and areas to remix helps students develop critical thinking skills and understand storytelling structures.
  • Writing Techniques: Crafting a remix requires students to use descriptive language, engaging dialogue, and well-developed characters, helping them hone their writing techniques.
  • Perspective and Empathy: Remixing fairy tales allows students to explore different character perspectives, promoting empathy and understanding of diverse points of view.
  • Genre Exploration: Remixing fairy tales can introduce students to various genres like science fiction, fantasy, or mystery, expanding their literary horizons.
  • Originality: Creating their own narrative twists and unexpected plots encourages students to take ownership of their writing and develop a unique voice.
  • Storytelling: Students learn the art of compelling storytelling as they weave together familiar elements with innovative ideas, captivating their readers.

By remixing fairy tales, students embark on a creative journey that empowers them to reimagine well-loved stories while honing their writing skills and imaginative prowess. It’s an engaging and enjoyable way for students to connect with literature, explore new possibilities, and showcase their storytelling talents.

Top 5 Tips for Teaching Engaging Creative Writing Lessons

Teaching creative writing can be a thrilling discovery journey for students and educators alike. To foster a love for storytelling and unleash the imaginative prowess of your students, here are five engaging tips for your creative writing lessons:

1. Embrace Playfulness : Encourage a spirit of playfulness and experimentation in your classroom. Encourage students to explore unconventional ideas, characters, and settings. Use fun writing prompts like “What if animals could talk?” or “Imagine a world where gravity is reversed.”

2. Incorporate Visual Stimuli : Visual aids can be powerful creative catalysts. Show intriguing images or short videos to spark students’ imaginations. Ask them to describe what they see, then guide them to weave stories around these visuals. This approach can lead to unexpected and captivating narratives.

3. Encourage Peer Collaboration : Foster community and collaboration among your students. Organize group writing activities where students can brainstorm, share ideas, and build upon each other’s stories. This not only enhances creativity but also promotes teamwork and communication skills.

4. Explore Different Genres : Introduce students to various writing genres—fantasy and science fiction to mystery and historical fiction. Let them experiment with different styles and find what resonates most with their interests. Exposing students to diverse genres can broaden their horizons and inspire fresh ideas.

5. Celebrate Individuality : Encourage students to infuse unique experiences and perspectives into their writing. Provide opportunities for them to write about topics that are meaningful to them. Celebrate their voices and help them discover the power of their narratives.

Remember, the key to teaching creative writing is to create a supportive and inspiring environment where students feel empowered to take risks and explore the limitless possibilities of storytelling. By embracing these tips, you can transform your classroom into a vibrant imagination and literary exploration hub. Happy writing!


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The Write Practice

100 Writing Practice Lessons & Exercises

by Joe Bunting | 50 comments

Want to become a better writer? Perhaps you want to write novels, or maybe you just want to get better grades in your essay writing assignments , or maybe you'd like to start a popular blog .

If you want to write better, you need practice. But what does a writing practice actually look like? In this post, I'm going to give you everything you need to kick off your writing practice and become a better writer faster.

100 Top Writing Practice Lessons and Exercises

What Is Writing Practice?

Writing practice is a method of becoming a better writer that usually involves reading lessons about the writing process, using writing prompts, doing creative writing exercises , or finishing writing pieces, like essays, short stories , novels , or books . The best writing practice is deliberate, timed, and involves feedback.

How Do You Practice Writing?

This was the question I had when I first started The Write Practice in 2011. I knew how to practice a sport and how to practice playing an instrument. But for some reason, even after studying it in college, I wasn't sure how to practice writing.

I set out to create the best writing practice I could. The Write Practice is the result.

I found that the best writing practice has three aspects:

Deliberate . Writing whatever you feel like may be cathartic, but it's not an effective way to become a better writer or build your writing skills. You'll get better faster by practicing a specific technique or aspect of the writing process each time you sit down to write.

This is why we have a new lesson about the writing process each day on The Write Practice, followed by a practice prompt at the end so you can put what you learned to use immediately.

Timed . It's no secret writers struggle with focus. There are just too many interesting distractions—Facebook, email, Kim Kardashian's Instagram feed (just kidding about that last one, sort of)—and writing is just too hard sometimes.

Setting a timer, even for just fifteen minutes, is an easy and effective way to stay focused on what's important.

This is why in our writing practice prompt at the end of each post we have a time limit, usually with a link to an online tool egg timer , so you can focus on deliberate practice without getting distracted.

Feedback . Getting feedback is one of the requirements to deliberately practice writing or any other craft. Feedback can look like listening to the reactions of your readers or asking for constructive criticism from editors and other writers.

This is why we ask you to post your writing practice after each lesson, so that you can get feedback from other writers in The Write Practice community. It's also why we set up The Write Practice Pro community , to provide critique groups for writers to get feedback on each finished piece of writing.

How to practice writing

Our 100+ Best Creative Writing Practice Exercises and Lessons

Now that you know how we practice writing at The Write Practice, here are our best writing practice lessons to jumpstart your writing skills with some daily writing exercises, for beginner writers to even the most expert writers:

All-Time, Top 10 Writing Lessons and Exercises

These ten posts are our most viewed articles to boost your writing practice:

1. What is Plot? The 6 Elements of Plot and How to Use Them . Great stories use similar elements in wildly different ways to build page-turning stories. Click here to read what they are and learn how to start using them !

2. Top 100 Short Story Ideas . Here are over a hundred writing prompts in a variety of genres. If you need ideas for your next story, check this out!

3. How To Use Neither, Nor, Or, and Nor Correctly . Even good writers struggle figuring out when to use neither/nor and either/or. In this post, our copy-queen Liz Bureman settles the confusion once and for all. Click to continue to the writing exercise

4. Ten Secrets To Write Better Stories . How does Pixar manage to create such great stories, year after year? And how do you write a good story? In this post, I distill everything I've learned about how to write a good story into ten tips. Click to continue to the writing exercise

5. 35 Questions To Ask Your Characters From Marcel Proust . To get to know my characters better, I use a list of questions known as the Proust Questionnaire, made famous by French author, Marcel Proust. Click to continue to the writing exercise

6. How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel-Writing Life . Creating a scene list changed my novel-writing life, and doing the same will change yours too. Includes examples of the scene lists from famous authors. Click to continue to the writing exercise

7. Why You Need to be Using the Oxford Comma . Most people I've met have no idea what the Oxford comma is, but it's probably something that you have used frequently in your writing. Click to continue to the writing exercise

8. Six Surprising Ways to Write Better Interview Questions.  The interview is the most-used tool in a journalist's bag. But that doesn't mean novelists, bloggers, and even students can't and don't interview people. Here's how to conduct a great interview. Click to continue to the writing exercise

9. Why You Should Try Writing in Second Person . You've probably used first person and third person point-of-view already. But what about second person? This post explains three reasons why you should try writing from this point-of-view. Click to continue to the writing exercise

10. The Secret to Show, Don't Tell . You've heard the classic writing rule, “Show. Don't Tell.” Every writing blog ever has talked about it, and for good reason. Showing, for some reason, is really difficult. Click to continue to the writing exercise.

Book Idea Worksheet

12 Exercises and Lessons To Become a Better Writer

How do you become a better writer? These posts share our best advice:

  • Want to Be a Better Writer? Cut These 7 Words
  • What I Mean When I Say I Am A Writer
  • How to Become a Writer: 3 Simple Steps
  • 72% of Writers Struggle With THIS
  • 7 Lies About Becoming a Writer That You Probably Believe
  • 10 Questions to Find Your Unique Writing Voice
  • The Best Writing Book I’ve Ever Read
  • The Best Way to Become a Better Writer
  • The Creative Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Tools You Can’t Write Without
  • Should You Write More or Write Better: Quantity vs Quality
  • How to Become a Better Writer in One, Simple Step
  • 11 Writing Tips That Will Change Your Life

6 Lessons and Exercises from Great Writers

If you want to be a writer, learn from the great writers who have gone before you:

  • 23 Essential Quotes from Ernest Hemingway About Writing
  • 29 Quotes that Explain How to Become a Better Writer
  • 10 Lessons Dr. Seuss Can Teach Writers
  • 10 Writing Tips from Ursula Le Guin
  • Once Upon a Time: Pixar Prompt
  • All the Pretty Words: Writing In the Style of Cormac McCarthy

12 Genre and Format Specific Writing Lessons and Exercises

Here are our best writing lessons for specific types of writing, including essays, screenplays, memoir, short stories, children's books, and humor writing:

  • Writing an Essay? Here Are 10 Effective Tips
  • How To Write a Screenplay: The 5 Step Process
  • How to Write a Great Memoir: a Complete Guide
  • How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish
  • How to Write a Thriller Novel
  • How to Write a Children's Book
  • How to Write a Love Story
  • How to Write a Coming of Age Story or Book
  • How to Write an Adventure Book
  • 5 Key Elements for Successful Short Stories
  • 4 Tips to Write a Novel That Will Be Adapted Into a Movie
  • Humor Writing for People Who Aren’t Funny

14 Characterization Lessons and Exercises

Good characters are the foundation of good fiction. Here are our best lessons to create better characters:

  • Character Development: How to Create Characters Audiences Will Love
  • Writing Villains: 9 Evil Examples of the Villain Archetype
  • How NOT to Introduce a New Character
  • The Strongest Form of Characterization
  • The Most Important Character Archetype
  • How Do You Build A Strong Character In Your Writing?
  • 75+ Antihero Examples and How to Use Them
  • How to Explore Your Characters’ Motivations
  • 8 Tips for Naming Characters
  • The Protagonist: How to Center Your Story
  • Heroes vs. Anti-Heroes: Which Is Right For Your Story?
  • The Weakest Form of Characterization
  • How to Write With an Accent
  • How To Create a Character Sketch Using Scrivener

15 Grammar Lessons and Exercises

I talk to so many writers, some of whom are published authors, who struggle with grammar. Here are our best writing lessons on grammar:

  • Is It Okay To End A Sentence With A Preposition?
  • Contractions List: When To Use and When To Avoid
  • Good vs. Well
  • Connotation vs. Denotation
  • Per Se vs. Per Say
  • When You SHOULD Use Passive Voice
  • When Do You Use “Quotation Marks”
  • Polysyndeton and Asyndeton: Definition and Examples
  • The Case Against Twilight
  • Affect Versus Effect
  • Stop Saying “Literally”
  • What Is a Comma Splice? And Why Do Editors Hate Them?
  • Intra vs. Inter: Why No One Plays Intermural Sports
  • Alright and Alot: Words That Are Not Words
  • The Poor, Misunderstood Semicolon

4 Journalism Lessons and Exercises

Want to be a journalist? Or even use techniques from journalism to improve your novel, essay, or screenplay? Here are our best writing lessons on journalism:

  • Six Ways to Ask Better Questions In Interviews
  • How Should You Interview Someone? Over Email? In Person?
  • What If They Don’t Want to Talk to You?
  • Eleven Habits of a Highly Effective Interviewers

16 Plot and Structure Lessons and Exercises

Want to write a good story? Our top plot and structure lessons will help:

  • The Ten Types of Story and How to Master Them
  • Points of a Story: 6 Plot Points Every Story Needs
  • How to Shape a Story: The 6 Arcs
  • 7 Keys To Write the Perfect First Line of a Novel
  • The Secret to Creating Conflict
  • 4 Tips to Avoid Having Your Short Story Rejected by a Literary Magazine
  • 7 Steps to Creating Suspense
  • 5 Elements of Storytelling
  • 3 Important Rules for Writing Endings
  • A Writer’s Cheatsheet to Plot and Structure
  • Overcoming the Monster
  • How to Satisfy Your Reader With a Great Ending
  • Pow! Boom! Ka-Pow! 5 Tips to Write Fight Scenes
  • The Dramatic Question and Suspense in Fiction
  • How to Write a Memorable Beginning and Ending
  • How to Write the Perfect First Page

6 Lessons and Exercises to Beat Writer's Block

Writer's block is real, and it can completely derail your writing. Here are six lessons to get writing again:

  • How To Write Whether You Feel Like it Or Not
  • This Fun Creative Writing Exercise Will Change Your Life
  • When You Should Be Writing But Can't…
  • What to do When Your Word Count is Too Low
  • 7 Tricks to Write More with Less Willpower
  • When You Don’t Know What to Write, Write About Your Insecurities

7 Literary Technique Lessons and Exercises

These writing and storytelling techniques will teach you a few tricks of the trade you may not have discovered before:

  • 3 Tips to “Show, Don’t Tell” Emotions and Moods
  • 3 Reasons to Write Stream of Consciousness Narrative
  • 16 Observations About Real Dialogue
  • Intertextuality As A Literary Device
  • Why You Should Use Symbolism In Your Writing
  • 6 Ways to Evoke Emotion in Poetry and Prose
  • 3 Tips To Write Modern Allegorical Novels
  • Symbol vs. Motif: What’s the Difference

3 Inspirational Writing Lessons and Exercises

Need some inspiration? Here are three of our most inspiring posts:

  • Why We Write: Four Reasons
  • You Must Remember Every Scar
  • 17 Reasons to Write Something NOW

3 Publishing Blogging Lessons and Exercises

If you want to get published, these three lessons will help:

  • The Secret to Writing On Your Blog Every Day
  • How to Publish Your Book and Sell Your First 1,000 Copies
  • How to Get Published in Literary Magazines

11 Writing Prompts

Need inspiration or just a kick in the pants to write. Try one of our top writing prompts :

  • Grandfathers [writing prompt]
  • Out of Place [writing prompt]
  • Sleepless [writing prompt]
  • Longing [writing prompt]
  • Write About Yourself [writing prompt]
  • 3 Reasons You Should Write Ghost Stories
  • Road Trip [writing prompt]
  • Morning [writing prompt]
  • The Beach [writing prompt]
  • Fall [writing prompt]
  • How to Use Six-Word Stories As Writing Prompts

Is It Time To Begin Your Writing Practice?

It's clear that if you want to become a writer, you need to practice writing. We've created a proven process to practice your writing at The Write Practice, but even if you don't join our community, I hope you'll start practicing in some way today.

Personally, I waited  far  too long to start practicing and it set my writing back years.

How about you? Do you think practicing writing is important?  Let me know in the comments section .

Choose one of the writing practice posts above. Then, read the lesson and participate in the writing exercise, posting your work in the Pro Practice Workshop . And if you post, please give feedback to your fellow writers who also posted their practices.

Have fun and happy practicing!

How to Write Like Louise Penny

Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

Top 150 Short Story Ideas



You have THE BEST content for writing on this blog!!

Joe Bunting

Thank you, Kristen. This made my morning. 🙂

Mitch Hamilton

Thanks Mitch. 🙂

George McNeese

I can’t remember when I started following this website. I have to look in my notebooks because that’s where I did these practices. I didn’t have access to a computer when I did them, so I wrote them out, setting the time limit. But even when I do get to a computer, I have my reservations about putting my practices on the page. even though it’s practice, I want them to be the best, almost perfect. But I know it won’t be. I’ve gotten feedback before that says so. It still gets to me that I didn’t put something together that not everyone liked. I need to get over it. After all, that is what these practices are about: to learn and improve on our craft.

I don’t know either, George, but it’s been several years. Perfectionism is something so many of us face, and it’s made worse when you don’t have a critique community as warm and encouraging as ours is. I hope you and everyone here are always willing to try something new, even if it comes out a little messed up, because you know we’ll support you and try to make you better.

Elizabeth Varadan

What a great share! Thanks so much!

You’re so welcome, Elizabeth. Thank you for commenting.


when I ran writing classes I wrote. when I am “a member of writing classes” the teacher/leader/facilitator is NOT MY AUDIENCE and so I don’t write as well/as much. I don’t get the feedback I need from fellow students because most of them have never run their own writing projects/workshops. So many people expect you to write their story for them. I’ve actually got quite a few stories of me own. I have finally decided I like owning them. 😉

It sounds like you need a new critique group, Patience! Hope you can find a place where you get the feedback you need.

Stephanie Ward

Wow! Terrific round-up of resources. 🙂

Thanks Stephanie. 🙂

Carrie Lynn Lewis

Practice is necessary, period. It doesn’t matter what you want to learn. If you want to improve, practice is vital.

It’s odd. I’ve known and applied that principle for years on a variety of things. Painting. Drawing. Blogging. Gardening. Laundry.

But never writing.

Like you, I had the notion that just writing every day was all it took to improve. Why not the same level of dedication to writing?

Perhaps it’s time to change that!

I can relate, Carrie. It’s easy to confuse the craft of writing with journaling, thinking that you can just write whatever you feel like and you’ll get better, write something worth reading. The truth is that writing interesting things to read is a skill, but the good news is that you can get better at it with practice. Thanks for practicing with us! 🙂

Debra johnson

I love these suggestions , and have set Writing Practice as my homepage so the first 15 minutes of my day is spent writing, whether its a practice or exercise here or another that is sprinkled through out this site, Thank you for all you do everyone here at The Write Practice


This is great Debra. I want to write the first 15 minutes of my day too!

I agree with Joe, Do it. Could be your to do list… ( that could lead to something else story wse later)

I love that, Debra. Such a good way to start your day.

Thanks Joe!

Hyacinth Fidelis Joaquin

The best! Thank you so much for this.

You’re very welcome!

nobody geek

I simply LOVE all the tips and suggestions given on this blog. They are super helpful!

THANK you. We love sharing them with you. 🙂

Thiago d'Evecque

Hi! You forgot the link to How to Write a Story a Week: A Day-by-Day Guide.

Thanks a lot for your work! This post is amazing.

It’s a great post Thiago. Definitely one of our most shared. Thanks for mentioning it! BTW here’s the link:

Harsh Rathour

Wow!! There are so many exercises…. I just love it..! I am gonna really enjoy it..!

Awesome! Thank you for reading and practicing with us. 🙂

Macau Mum

I only read halfway , My tootie is jumping all over me, and typing this is a struggle when a 3yr old wants his Toy Story movie on Youtube in this computer. Thank you for this article, will come back later to finish reading.

I know the feeling! Good luck!


Can’t wait to get stuck in with this! 🙂

LaCresha Lawson

Very helpful! Thank you!


I’ve just bookmarked this page. Thanks for this wonderful list.


This is awesome! So many helpful tips. I will be coming back to this often. Thanks for posting this!

Jessica M

Wow, so many goodies! Thank you for always providing such amazing content!!

Jacqueline Nicole

I have enjoyed all these articles. Thank you for the help an inspiration to get my writing on its way. My creativity is boosting with confidence. Tootle loo.

Emmanuel Ajayi Adigun

Amazing contents for beginners like me Joe. I am highly inspired by your commitment. Thank you.

Hey, thanks!


Although I have only read half of thisc article, the practice exercises are excellent. Some of them are exactly what a beginning writer like myself needs. I am committing to at least try ALL of them. Thanks Joe!!

Kbee E. Betancourt

very helpful! thank you..

Celia Costa

Amazing articles! Thanks so much for sharing!

The Black Hearth

My god this article made me love this site . You know it’s kinda hard for a beginner writer, who don’t know where to start and fixing goals, even samll ones give us a direction . A place to go , an aim for our creativity so thanks you , this community and this site. Love you all . At your pens ! 😉


Wow. This is great. I find all your posts informative, but this one is the best for me to use as a guide to get my self starting to write….Thank you.


I’m an old lady who wants to publish one more book before I die — have published several, all non-fiction, and done two under contract to a major publisher (reference books). So help me, the BIGGEST problem I have all along, is keeping track of the damned paper work and research that goes into a book!!! Yet I never ever see articles on something as simple as “How to file” — Oh I know, there’s wonderful software these days so probably I will never find a way to get paper organized — everybody will use software and do it on the computer. I’m too old for that — just one look at the learning curve for software, even putting the damned stuff into computer files is even MORE frustrating than paper!! Oh well, somehow I managed in the past to get books published, I may be able to do it one more time.

Hamzah Ramadan

you enjoy writing more than anything else and you do indeed care to help others write. I love writing but translation from Arabic into English and English into Arabic is taking all of my time from the early hours of the morning till the evening. I will soon get all of your books in order to read them as soon as possible. One thing I am sure of. You know what you are doing very well. Hamzah


Excellent! Many useful tips. Many thanks!

Mark Bono

Liz and Joe, I have only looked at a few exercises. Already, I am convinced that your site is one of the best sites out there. Thank your for sharing your wisdom.

aparna WWeerakoon

Wow, these are the best lessons and exercises for writing. Actually i’m participating in a compitition this wendsday. so, i’m quite nervous and exited. this helped me a lot


Magnificent post ever I have read. This article will help me a lot to write a right way. Thank you.

Alexiss Anthonyy Murillo

i need your help to improve to become a better writer please. i think i usually commit moist of these errors and i don;t pay attention to many advices too.


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  • 43 Creative writing exercises

Creative writing exercises for adults

A selection of fun creative writing exercises that can be completed solo, or with a group. Some are prompts to help inspire you to come up with story ideas, others focus on learning specific writing skills.

I run a  Creative Writing Meetup  for adults and teens in Montpellier or online every week. We start with a 5 to 20 minute exercise, followed by an hour and a half of silent writing, during which each participant focuses on their own project. Every exercise listed below has been run with the group and had any kinks ironed out.  Where the exercises specify a number of people, if you have a larger group, simply split everyone up into smaller groups as appropriate.

The solo exercises are ideal to help stimulate your mind before working on a larger project, to overcome writer’s block, or as stand-alone prompts in their own right. If a solo exercise inspires you and you wish to use it with a larger group, give every member ten minutes to complete the exercise, then ask anyone who wishes to share their work to do so in groups of 3 or 4 afterwards.

Looking for something quick to fire your imagination? Check out these  creative writing prompts for adults .

Writing Retreat in South France

Writing retreat in France

A note on running exercises remotely

While you can enjoy the exercises solo, they are also designed for online writing groups using Zoom, WhatsApp, or Discord.

If you're running a group and follow a ' Shut Up and Write ' structure, I recommend connecting on WhatsApp (for example) first, doing the exercise together, sharing writing samples as needed. Next, write in silence for an hour and a half on your own projects, before reconnecting for a brief informal chat at the end. This works great with small remote groups and is a way to learn new techniques, gain online support, and have a productive session.

If you have a larger online group, it's worth looking into Zoom, as this has a feature called  Breakout Rooms . Breakout Rooms let you split different writers into separate rooms, which is great for group activities. The free version of Zoom has a 40 minute limit, which can be restrictive, but Zoom Pro is well worth it if you're going to use it on a regular basis. In my experience, Zoom has a better connection than Facebook chat or WhatsApp.

A Letter From Your Character To You

Letter from fictional character to the author

Spend ten minutes writing a letter from a character in your novel to  you , the author, explaining why you should write about them. This serves three purposes:

  • As you write, it helps you get into the mindset of the character. Ask yourself how they would language this letter and what they would consider important.
  • It's motivating to know that your character wants you to write about them.
  • If your goal is to publish a complete work of fiction one day, whether it be a novel, a play or a movie script, you will want to contact an agent or publisher. This helps you practice in an easy, safe way.

If you're doing this exercise with a group of teens or adults, and some of the group haven't already started working on their masterpiece, they can instead choose any fictional novel they love. Ask participants to imagine that a character within the book wrote to the author in the first place to ask them to write their story. How did they plead their case?

The Opening Sentence

First sentence of books

The opening sentence has to grab the reader's attention and make them want to keep reading. Many authors achieve this by starting with an action scene. In modern literature, it's best to avoid starting with someone waking up, or a description of the weather. In this exercise the task is to write an opening sentence either to a book you're currently writing, or simply for an imaginary piece of literature.  Here are some of my favourite opening sentences to get you going:

It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.

George Orwell , 1984

The Golem's life began in the hold of a steamship.

Helene Wecker , The Golem and the Djinni

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

Leo Tolstoy , Anna Karenina

It wasn't a very likely place for disappearances, at least at first glance.

Diana Gabaldon , Outlander

You better not never tell nobody but God.

Alice Walker , The Color Purple

The cage was finished.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez ,  Balthazar’s Marvelous Afternoon

Imagine that you are living your life out of order: Lunch before breakfast, marriage before your first kiss.

Audrey Niffenegger ,  The Time Traveler's Wife

Far out in the uncharted backwaters of the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy lies a small unregarded yellow sun.

Douglas Adams ,  The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

There are a plethora of ways you can start a book, however two ways that help engage the reader immediately are:

  • Set the scene in as few words as possible, so the reader immediately knows what's happening and wants to know what happens next.  The scene must be original and create a vivid image in the reader's mind.
  • Surprise the reader with an unusual event or usual point of view.

Spend 5 minutes working on your own opening sentence, then share it with the other participants.

Make your protagonist act!

Exercise for 2 writers, or can be done solo.

Make your characters act

According to John Gardner:

"Failure to recognise that the central character must act, not simply be acted upon, is the single most common mistake in the fiction of beginners."

Spend 5 minutes writing a scene where the protagonist is passive in a conversation with one other character. It could be that the other character says something dramatic, and the protagonist just listens, or it could be anything else of your choice!

Once the 5 minutes is up, swap papers with another writer. If you're using Zoom, or working online, send it to each other in a private chat. Now the other person spends 8 minutes rewriting the scene to make the protagonist as active as possible. This might include:

Read both scenes together. Which makes you want to keep on reading?

If you're doing this as a solo writing exercise, simply complete both parts yourself.

  • Showing the emotion this evokes.
  • Getting them to disagree with the other character.
  • Showing how they respond physically (whether it's as a physical manifestation of how they feel, or a dramatic gesture to make a point).

Overcoming writer's block

Overcoming writer's block

Are you staring at a blank page or stuck for any story ideas? This exercise will help anyone who's experiencing writer's block with a particular piece of writing. If this isn't you, that's great, others will value your input!

If anyone has a particular scene they're stuck with (a pool of blood on the floor they have no explanation for, a reason why the rich lady just walked into a particular pub, etc.) then at the start of the exercise everyone briefly describes their scenes (if working online with a large group, typing it into the chat might be best). Everyone then chooses one scene to use as a writing prompt to write a short story for 10-15 minutes.

Afterwards, split into small groups if necessary, and read out how you completed someone else's writing prompt. As everyone listens to everyone else's ideas, this can be a wonderful source of inspiration and also improves your writing. As an alternative solo exercise, try free writing. With free writing, simply write as quickly as you can on the topic without editing or censoring yourself - just let your creative juices flow. If you're not sure what happens next, brainstorm options on the page, jot down story ideas, or just put, "I don't know what happens next." Keep going and ideas will come.

Writing Character Arcs

Character arc

There are several different types of character arc in a novel, the 3 most common being:

For this exercise choose either a positive or negative character arc. Spend 8 minutes writing a scene from the start of a novel, then 8 minutes writing a scene towards the end of a novel showing how the character has developed between the two points. Don't worry about including how the character has changed, you can leave that to the imagination.

The point here is to capture the essence of a character, as they will be the same, but show their development.

  • Positive  - Where a character develops and grows during the novel. Perhaps they start unhappy or weak and end happy or powerful.
  • Negative  - Where a character gets worse during a novel. Perhaps they become ill or give in to evil tendencies as the novel progresses.
  • Flat  - In a flat character arc the character themself doesn't change much, however the world around them does. This could be overthrowing a great injustice, for example.

Sewing Seeds in Your Writing

Sewing seeds in writing

In this exercise, we will look at how to sew seeds. No, not in your garden, but in your story. Seeds are the tiny hints and indicators that something is going on, which influence a reader's perceptions on an often unconscious level. They're important, as if you spring a surprise twist on your readers without any warning, it can seem unbelievable. Sew seeds that lead up to the event, so the twists and turns are still surprising, but make intuitive sense. Groups : Brainstorm major plot twists that might happen towards the end of the novel and share it in a Zoom chat, or on pieces of paper. Choose one twist each. Individuals : Choose one of the following plot twists:   -  Your friend is actually the secret son of the king.   -  Unreliable narrator - the narrator turns out to be villain.   -  The monster turns out to be the missing woman the narrator is seeking.   -  The man she is about to marry happens to already have a wife and three kids.

Write for ten minutes and give subtle hints as to what the plot twist is. This is an exercise in subtlety. Remember, when the twist occurs, it should still come as a surprise.

Animal exercise

This is a fun writing activity for a small group. You’ve found a magic potion labelled ‘Cat Chat’ and when you drink it, you turn into whichever animal you’re thinking about; but there’s a problem, it also picks up on the brainwaves of other people near you!

Everyone writes down an animal in secret and then reveals it to the other writers.  The spell will turn you into a creature that combines elements of all the animals.  Each person then spends 5 minutes writing down what happens when they drink the potion.

After the 5 minutes is up, everyone shares their story with the other participants.

If you enjoy this exercise, then you may also want to check out our  Fantasy and Sci-Fi writing prompts  full of world building, magic, and character development prompts..

I remember

Joe Brainard wrote a novel called:  I Remember It contains a collection of paragraphs all starting with “I remember”.  This is the inspiration for this exercise, and if you’re stuck for what to write, is a great way to get the mental gears turning.  Simply write “I remember” and continue with the first thing that pops into your head.

Spend 5 minutes writing a short collection of “I remember” stories.

Here are a couple of examples from Joe Brainard’s novel:

“I remember not understanding why people on the other side of the world didn't fall off.”

“I remember waking up somewhere once and there was a horse staring me in the face.”

Giving feedback to authors

Giving constructive feedback to authors

If you're running a workshop for more experienced adult authors and have at least an hour, this is a good one to use. This is the longest exercise on this page, but I felt it important enough to include.

Give each author the option to bring a piece of their own work. This should be double spaced and a maximum of 3 pages long. If you're running a workshop where not everyone is likely to bring a manuscript, ask everyone who wants to bring one to print two copies each. If someone forgets but has a laptop with them, the reader can always use their laptop.

Print out a few copies and hand them around to everyone in the workshop of the guide on: 'How to give constructive feedback to writers'

Each author who brought a sample with them then gives them to one other person to review. They write their name on the manuscript in a certain colour pen, then add any comments to it before passing it to a second person who does the same (commenting on the comments if they agree or disagree).

Then allow 5 minutes for everyone to discuss the feedback they've received, ensuring they are giving constructive feedback.

The Five Senses

Giovanni Battista Manerius - The Five Senses

Painting by Giovanni Battista Manerius -  The Five Senses

Choose a scene and write it for 5 minutes focusing on one sense, NOT sight. Choose between:

Hearing  Taste Smell Touch

This can be internal as well as external (I heard my heartbeat thudding in my ears, or I smelt my own adrenaline).

After the 5 minutes stop and everyone reads it out loud to each other. Now write for another 5 minutes and continue the other person's story, but do NOT use sight OR the sense they used.

You can use any sense to communicate the essentials, just focus on creating emotions and conveying the story with the specific sense(s).

If you need some writing prompts, here are possible scenes that involve several senses:

  • Climbing through an exotic jungle
  • Having an argument that becomes a fight
  • A cat's morning
  • Talking to someone you're attracted to

Show don't tell

2 or 3 people

Show don't tell your story

A lot of writing guides will advise you to, "Show, don't tell". What does this actually mean?

If you want to evoke an emotional reaction from your reader, showing them what is happening is a great way to do so.  You can approach this in several ways:

Split up into pairs and each person writes down a short scene from a story where they "tell" it.  After this, pass the description of the scene to your partner and they then have 5 minutes to rewrite it to "show" what happened.  If there are an odd number of participants, make one group of three, with each person passing their scene clockwise, so everyone has a new scene to show.  After the 5 minutes, for small groups everyone reads their new description to everyone else, or for large groups, each person just reads their new scene to their partner.

  • Avoid internal dialogue (thinking), instead have your protagonist interact with other people, or have a physical reaction to something that shows how s/he feels.  Does their heart beat faster?  Do they notice the smell of their own adrenaline?  Do they step backwards, or lean forwards?
  • Instead of using an adjective like creepy, e.g. "Mary entered the creepy house", show why the house is creepy through description and in the way the protagonist responds - "The light streamed through the filthy skylight, highlighting the decomposing body of a rat resting on top of it.  As Mary stepped inside, she felt a gust of freezing air brush past her. She turned, but there was nothing there..."

World building

Visual writing prompts

World building is the art of conveying the magic of living in a different world, whether it's a spaceship, a medieval castle, a boat, or simply someone's living room. To master world building, it's not necessary to know every intricate detail, rather to convey the experience of what it would be like to live there.

Choose one of the above images as a prompt and spend 10 minutes writing a scene from the perspective of someone who is seeing it for the first time. Now, move your character six months forward and imagine they've spent the last six months living or working there. Write another scene (perhaps with an additional character) using the image as a background, with the events of the scene as the main action.

Click the above image for a close-up.

Gossiping about a character as if they're a friend.

Easy to gossip with friends about a character

Judy Blume says that she tells her family about her characters as if they’re real people. 

Chris Claremont said, "For me, writing the 'X-Men' was easy - is easy. I know these people, they're my friends." 

Today’s exercise has 2 parts. First, spend 5 minutes jotting down some facts about a character you’ve invented that might come up if you were telling your friends about them. Either choose a character in something you’ve already written, or invent one from scratch now.

Answer the questions:

What are they up to? How are they? What would you say if you were gossiping about them?

Then split up into groups of 4 to 6 writers. 2 volunteers from each group then role-play talking about their character as if they were a friend (perhaps another character in the story).  The other participants will role-play a group of friends gossiping about the character behind their back and ask questions. If you don’t know the answer, invent it!

Degrees of Emotion Game

Degrees of emotion

This is based on an acting game, to help actors understand how to perform with different degrees of emotion.

Ask everyone to write the following 4 emotions:

For groups of 5 or less, write down numbers starting with 1 and going up until everyone has a number, then give them out in order. For groups of 6 or more, divide groups into 3's, 4's or 5's.

Each person has to write a scene where the protagonist is alone and is only allowed to say a single word, e.g. "Banana".  The writer with number 1 should write the scene with a very low level of the emotion (e.g. happiness), number 2 increases the intensity a bit and the highest number writes a scene with the most intense emotion you can possibly imagine.

Once each writer has written about happiness, rotate the numbers one or two spaces, then move onto anger, then fear, then sadness.

It can help to give everyone numbers showing the intensity of the emotions to write about at the start of the exercise, in which case you may wish to print either the Word or PDF file, then use the ones corresponding to 3, 4 or 5 writers.


Everyone shares their scene with the other course participants.

Three birds, one line

Kill three birds with one stone

The first paragraph of a surprising number of best-selling novels serves multiple purposes. These are to:

  • Establish a goal
  • Set the scene
  • Develop a character

Nearly every chapter in a novel also serves all three purposes. Instead of establishing a goal though, the protagonist either moves towards it, or encounters an obstacle that hinders them from achieving it.

Some books manage to meet all three purposes with their opening lines, for example:  

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

J.K. Rowling ,  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone  

A little more than one hundred days into the fortieth year of her confinement, Dajeil Gelian was visited in her lonely tower overlooking the sea by an avatar of the great ship that was her home.

Iain M. Banks ,  Excession  

"We should start back," Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.

George R.R. Martin ,  A Game of Thrones

For this exercise write a sentence or short paragraph that serves all three purposes. If you're already writing a novel, then see if you can do this for the first line in a chapter. If not, choose any combination from the following table:

Escape Penthouse suite Reckless
Succeed in love Castle Cowardly
Survive Graveyard Greedy

Blind Date on Valentine's Day (Exercise for Adults)

Valentine's Day Book

In pairs one writer spends a minute or two describing a character they're writing about, or alternatively they can describe a celebrity or someone from a work of fiction.  The next writer then describes their character.

The story is that these 2 characters (or in my case, person and alien, as I'm writing a sci-fi) have accidentally ended up on a blind date with each other. Perhaps the waiter seated them in the wrong location, perhaps it's an actual blind date, or perhaps they met in some other fashion the writers can determine.

Now spend 10 minutes discussing what happens next!

A Success (Works best for online groups)

Winning a race

This exercise works best for online groups, via Zoom, for example.  The instructions to give are:

"In a few words describe a success in your life and what it felt like to achieve it. It can be a small victory or a large one."

Share a personal example of your own (mine was watching my homeschooled sons sing in an opera together).

"Once you have one (small or large), write it in the chat.

The writing exercise is then to choose someone else's victory to write about for 10 minutes, as if it was the end of your own book.

If you want to write for longer, imagine how that book would start. Write the first part of the book with the ending in mind."

This is great for reminding people of a success in their lives, and also helps everyone connect and discover something about each other.

Your dream holiday

Dream holiday in France

You’re going on a dream holiday together, but always disagree with each other. To avoid conflict, rather than discuss what you want to do, you’ve decided that each of you will choose a different aspect of the holiday as follows:

  • Choose where you’ll be going – your favourite holiday destination.
  • Choose what your main fun activity will be on the holiday.
  • Decide what mode of travel you’ll use to get there.
  • If there’s a 4 th  person, choose what you’ll eat on the holiday and what you’ll be wearing.

Decide who gets to choose what at random. Each of you then writes down your dream holiday destination/activity/travel/food & clothes in secret.  Next spend 5 minutes discussing your dream holiday and add any other details you’d like to include, particularly if you’re passionate about doing something in real life.

Finally, everyone spends another 5 minutes writing down a description of the holiday, then shares it with the others.

Writing haiku

A haiku is a traditional Japanese form of non-rhyming poetry whose short form makes it ideal for a simple writing exercise.

They are traditionally structured in 3 lines, where the first line is 5 syllables, the second line is 7 syllables, and the third line is 5 syllables again. Haiku tend to focus on themes of nature and deep concepts that can be expressed simply.

A couple of examples:

A summer river being crossed how pleasing with sandals in my hands! Yosa Buson , a haiku master poet from the 18 th  Century.

And one of mine:

When night-time arrives Stars come out, breaking the dark You can see the most

Martin Woods

Spend up to 10 minutes writing a haiku.  If you get stuck with the 5-7-5 syllable rule, then don’t worry, the overall concept is more important!

See  How to write a haiku  for more details and examples.

Writing a limerick

Unlike a haiku, which is profound and sombre, a limerick is a light-hearted, fun rhyming verse.

Here are a couple of examples:

A wonderful bird is the pelican. His bill can hold more than his beli-can He can take in his beak Food enough for a week But I'm damned if I see how the heli-can.

Dixon Lanier Merritt, 1910

There was a young lady named Bright, Whose speed was far faster than light; She started one day In a relative way, And returned on the previous night.

Arthur Henry Reginald Buller in  Punch,  1923

The 1 st , 2 nd  and 5 th  line all rhyme, as do the 3 rd  and 4 th  line.  The overall number of syllables isn’t important, but the 3 rd  and 4 th  lines should be shorter than the others.

Typically, the 1 st  line introduces the character, often with “There was”, or “There once was”. The rest of the verse tells their story.

Spend 10 minutes writing a limerick.

Time Travel - Child, Adult, Senior

Adult time travel

Imagine that your future self as an old man/woman travels back in time to meet you, the adult you are today.  Alternatively, you as a child travels forward in time to meet yourself as an adult.  Or perhaps both happen, so the child you, adult you, and senior you are all together at the same time.  In story form write down what happens next.

Participants then share their story with other writers either in small groups, or to the whole group.

Focus on faces

Solo exercise.

Describing a character

One challenge writers face is describing a character. A common mistake is to focus too much on the physical features, e.g. "She had brown eyes, curly brown hair and was five foot six inches tall."

The problem with this is it doesn't reveal anything about the character's personality, or the relationship between your protagonist and the character. Your reader is therefore likely to quickly forget what someone looks like.  When describing characters, it's therefore best to:

  • Animate them - it's rare that someone's sitting for a portrait when your protagonist first meets them and whether they're talking or walking, it's likely that they're moving in some way.
  • Use metaphors or similes  - comparing physical features to emotionally charged items conjures both an image and a sense of who someone is.
  • Involve your protagonist  - if your protagonist is interacting with a character, make it personal.  How does your protagonist view this person?  Incorporate the description as part of the description.
  • Only give information your protagonist knows  - they may know if someone is an adult, or a teenager, but they won't know that someone is 37 years old, for example.

Here are three examples of character descriptions that leave no doubt how the protagonist feels.

“If girls could spit venom, it'd be through their eyes.” S.D. Lawendowski,  Snapped

"And Ronan was everything that was left: molten eyes and a smile made for war." Maggie Stiefvater,  The Dream Thieves

"His mouth was such a post office of a mouth that he had a mechanical appearance of smiling." Charles Dickens

Spend 5 minutes writing a character introduction that is animated, uses metaphors or similes and involves your protagonist.

If working with a group, then form small groups of 3 or 4 and share your description with the rest of the group.

Onomatopeai, rhyme and alliteration

Onomatopeai, rhyme or alliteration.

Today's session is all about sound.

Several authors recommend reading your writing out loud after you've written it to be sure it sounds natural.   Philip Pullman  even goes as far as to say:

"When I’m writing, I’m more conscious of the sound, actually, than the meaning. I know what the rhythm of the sentence is going to be before I know what the words are going to be in it."

For today's exercise, choose the name of a song and write for 10 minutes as if that's the title for a short story. Focus on how your writing sounds and aim to include at least one onomatopoeia, rhyme or alliteration.  At the end of the 10 minutes, read it out loud to yourself, or to the group.


An alliteration example from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”

The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, The furrow followed free; We were the first that ever burst Into that silent sea.


Buzz, woof, quack, baa, crash, purr, beep, belch,...

The alphabet story - creating a story as a group

alphabet story

This is a novel way to write a story as a group, one word at a time.  The first person starts the story that begins with any word starting with “A”, the next person continues the story with a word starting with “B”, and so on.

Keep going round until you have completed the alphabet.  Ideally it will all be one sentence, but if you get stuck, start a new sentence.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t make complete sense!

It can be tricky to remember the alphabet when under pressure, so you may wish to print it out a couple of times, so the storytellers can see it if they need to, this is particularly helpful if you have dyslexics in the group.


Here’s an example of an alphabet story:

A Band Can Dance Each Friday, Ghostly Hauntings In Jail Kill Lucky Men, Nobody Or Perhaps Quiet Rats, Still That Unifies Villains Who X-Ray Your Zebras.

As I mentioned, it doesn’t need to make sense!

A question or two

Small or large groups

1 or 2 questions

The standard format in our group is a short writing exercise followed by an hour and a half of silent writing on our projects.

At one point I felt like we'd done a lot of small group exercises, and wanted to gain an insight into what everyone was working on, so we did the following exercise instead:

Go round the table and ask everyone to briefly talk about their writing.  Each person then asks one or two yes/no questions.

Everyone responds either by raising their hand for 'yes' or shaking their heads for 'no'. You can also leap up and down to indicate a very strong 'yes'.

Questions can be about anything, and you can use them either to help guide your writing or to help find other people in the group who have similar interests.

Here are some random examples you might ask:

  • I want to write a romance novel and am considering setting it in Paris, a traditional romantic setting, or Liverpool which is a less obvious setting. Who thinks Liverpool would be best?
  • I need to know more about the life of a farmer. Has anyone got farming experience who I can interview in exchange for a drink?
  • My character gets fired and that night goes back to his office and steals 35 computers. Does that sound realistic as the premise of a story?

This works best when you give participants some advance notice, so they have time to think of a question.

Murder Mystery Game

Groups of 3 or 4

Murder mystery

This exercise takes 20-30 minutes and allows participants to create a murder mystery outline together.

Phase 1 (3 minutes)

  • Split into groups of 3 or 4
  • Decide as a group where the murder occurs (e.g. the opera house, a bar, a casino)
  • Decide one person who will write the details of the victim and the murder itself.  Everyone else writes the details of one suspect each.
  • The ‘victim author’ then invents a few extra details about the scene of the crime, who the victim was (a teenage punk, an adult opera singer, etc.) and the murder weapon and summarises this to the others.

Phase 2 (10 minutes)

Each person then writes a police report as if they are either describing the scene of the crime, or recording the notes from their interview with a single suspect:

Write the following:

  • 1 line description of the victim.
  • When they were last seen by a group of witnesses (and what they were doing).
  • How the murder occurred in more detail based on the evidence available.

Write the following (from the perspective of the investigator):

  • 1 line description of the suspect
  • What they said during the interview (including what they claim to have doing when the murder occurs).
  • A possible motivation (as determined by the police from other witnesses).

Phase 3 (5 minutes)

  • Each person reads out their police reports to the other members of their small group
  • As a group, decide who the murderer was and what actually happened

See more ideas on  creating murder mystery party games

The obscure movie exercise

Obscure movie

Pick a famous movie and spend 5 minutes writing a scene from it from an unusual perspective.  Your aim is to achieve a balance between being too obscure and making it too obvious.  Feel free to add internal dialogue.

At the end of the 5 minutes, everyone reads their movie scene to the others and all the other participants see if they can guess what the movie is.

How to hint at romantic feelings

How to hint at romantic feelings

Write a scene with two people in a group, where you hint that one is romantically interested in the other, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated.

The goal of this exercise is to practice subtlety. Imagine you are setting a scene for the future where the characters feelings will become more important. Choose a situation like a work conference, meeting with a group of friends, etc. How do you indicate how the characters feel without them saying it in words?

Some tips for hinting at romantic feelings:

  • Make the characters nervous and shy.
  • Your protagonist leans forward.
  • Asks deeper questions and listens intently.
  • Finds ways to be close together.
  • Mirrors their gestures.
  • Gives lots of compliments.
  • Makes eye contact, then looks away.
  • Other people seem invisible to your protagonist.

A novel idea

Novel idea

Take it in turns to tell everyone else about a current project you’re working on (a book, screenplay, short story, etc.)

The other writers then brainstorm ideas for related stories you could write, or directions your project could take.  There are no right or wrong suggestions and the intention is to focus on big concepts, not little details.

This whole exercise takes around 15 minutes.

Creative writing prompts

Exercise for groups of 3-5

Creative writing

If you're in larger group, split up into groups of 3 or 4 people.

Everyone writes the first line of a story in the Zoom chat, or on paper. Other people can then choose this line as a writing prompt.

For this exercise:

  • Say who the protagonist is.
  • Reveal their motivation.
  • Introduce any other characters

Once everyone's written a prompt, each author chooses a prompt (preferably someone eles's, but it can be your own if you feel really inspired by it.)  Then write for 10 minutes using this prompt. See if you can reveal who the protagonist is, what their motivation is (it can be a small motivation for a particular scene, it doesn't have to be a huge life goal), and introduce at least one new character.

Take turns reading out your stories to each other.

  • Write in the first person.
  • Have the protagonist interacting with an object or something in nature.
  • The challenge is to create intrigue that makes the reader want to know more with just a single line.

Creative story cards / dice

Creative story cards for students

Cut up a piece of paper and write one word on each of the pieces of paper, as follows:




Ice cream













Give each participant a couple of pieces of paper at random.  The first person says the first sentence of a story and they must use their first word as part of that sentence.  The second person then continues the story and must include their word in it, and so on.  Go round the group twice to complete the story.

You can also do this creative writing exercise with story dice, your own choice of words, or by asking participants to write random words down themselves, then shuffling all the cards together.

Alternative Christmas Story

Alternative Christmas Story

Every Christmas adults tell kids stories about Santa Claus. In this exercise you write a Christmas story from an alternative dimension.

What if every Christmas Santa didn't fly around the world delivering presents on his sleigh pulled by reindeer? What if gnomes or aliens delivered the presents? Or perhaps it was the gnomes who are trying to emulate the humans? Or some other Christmas tradition entirely that we humans have never heard of!

Group writing exercise

If you're working with a group, give everyone a couple of minutes to write two possible themes for the new Christmas story. Each theme should be 5 words or less.

Shuffle the paper and distribute them at random. If you're working online, everyone types the themes into the Zoom or group chat. Each writer then spends 10 minutes writing a short story for children based on one of the two themes, or their own theme if they really want to.

If working alone, choose your own theme and spend 15 minutes writing a short story on it. See if you can create the magic of Christmas from another world!

Murder Mystery Mind Map

Murder Mystery mind map

In a murder mystery story or courtroom drama, there's often conflicting information and lots of links between characters. A mind map is an ideal way to illustrate how everything ties together.

Split into groups of 3 or 4 people each and place a blank piece of A3 paper (double the size of A4) in the middle of each group. Discuss between you who the victim is and write their name in the middle of the piece of paper. Then brainstorm information about the murder, for example:

Feel free to expand out from any of these, e.g. to include more information on the different characters involved.

The idea is that  everyone writes at the same time!   Obviously, you can discuss ideas, but anyone can dive in and write their ideas on the mind map.

  • Who was the victim? (job, appearance, hobbies, etc.)
  • Who did the victim know?
  • What were their possible motivations?
  • What was the murder weapon?
  • What locations are significant to the plot?

New Year’s resolutions for a fictional character

List of ideas for a fictional character

If you’re writing a piece of fiction, ask yourself how your protagonist would react to an everyday situation. This can help you to gain a deeper insight into who they are.

One way to do this is to imagine what their New Year’s resolutions would be.

If completing this exercise with a group, limit it to 3 to 5 resolutions per person. If some participants are historical fiction or non-fiction writers, they instead pick a celebrity and either write what their resolutions  will  be, or what their resolutions  should  be, their choice.

Verb Noun Fiction Exercise (Inspired by Stephen King)

List of ideas for a fictional character

Stephen King said, "I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."

He also said, "Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float. These are all perfect sentences. Many such thoughts make little rational sense, but even the stranger ones (Plums deify!) have a kind of poetic weight that’s nice."

In this fiction writing exercise, start by brainstorming (either individually or collectively) seven verbs on seven different pieces of paper. Put those aside for later. Now brainstorm seven nouns. Randomly match the nouns and verbs so you have seven pairs. Choose a pair and write a piece of fiction for ten minutes. Avoid using any adverbs.

It’s the end of the world

End of the world

It’s the end of the world!  For 5 minutes either:

If working as a team, then after the 5 minutes is up each writer reads their description out to the other participants.

  • Describe how the world’s going to end, creating evocative images using similes or metaphors as you wish and tell the story from a global perspective, or
  • Describe how you spend your final day before the world is destroyed.  Combine emotion and action to engage the reader.

7 Editing Exercises

For use after your first draft

Editing first draft

I’ve listened to a lot of masterclasses on writing by successful authors and they all say variants of your first draft won’t be good and that’s fine. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman summarise it the best:

“The first draft is just you telling yourself the story.”  

Terry Pratchett

“For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important. One way you get through the wall is by convincing yourself that it doesn’t matter. No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonising over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed… For now, just get the words out. Get the story down however you can get it down, then fix it.”

Neil Gaiman

Once you’ve written your first draft, it will need editing to develop the plot, enhance the characters, and improve each scene in a myriad of ways – small and large. These seven creative editing exercises are designed to help with this stage of the process.

The First Sentence

Read the first paragraph of the novel, in particular the first sentence. Does it launch the reader straight into the action? According to  On Writing and Worldbuilding  by Timothy Hickson,  “The most persuasive opening lines are succinct, and not superfluous. To do this, it is often effective to limit it to a single central idea… This does not need to be the most important element, but it should be a central element that is interesting.” Ask yourself what element your opening sentence encapsulates and whether it’s the best one to capture your readers’ attention.


Consistency is crucial in creative writing, whether it’s in relation to location, objects, or people.

It’s also crucial for personality, emotions and motivation.

Look at scenes where your protagonist makes an important decision. Are their motivations clear? Do any scenes force them to choose between two conflicting morals? If so, do you explore this? Do their emotions fit with what’s happened in previous scenes?

As you edit your manuscript, keep the characters’ personality, emotions and motivation in mind. If their behaviour is inconsistent, either edit it for consistency, or have someone comment on their strange behaviour or be surprised by it. Inconsistent behaviour can reveal that a character is keeping a secret, or is under stress, so characters don’t always need to be consistent. But when they’re not, there has to be a reason.  

Show Don’t Tell One

This exercise is the first in  The Emotional Craft of Fiction  by Donald Maass. It’s a writing guide with a plethora of editing exercises designed to help you reenergize your writing by thinking of what your character is feeling, and giving you the tools to make your reader feel something.  

  • Select a moment in your story when your protagonist is moved, unsettled, or disturbed… Write down all the emotions inherent in this moment, both obvious and hidden.
  • Next, considering what he is feeling, write down how your protagonist can act out. What is the biggest thing your protagonist can do? What would be explosive, out of bounds, or offensive? What would be symbolic? … Go sideways, underneath, or ahead. How can your protagonist show us a feeling we don’t expect to see?
  • Finally, go back and delete all the emotions you wrote down at the beginning of this exercise. Let actions and spoken words do the work. Do they feel too big, dangerous, or over-the-top? Use them anyway. Others will tell you if you’ve gone too far, but more likely, you haven’t gone far enough.

Show Don’t Tell Two

Search for the following words in your book:

Whenever these words occur, ask yourself if you can demonstrate how your characters feel, rather than simply stating it. For each occasion, can you use physiological descriptors (a racing heart), actions (taking a step backwards) or dialogue to express what’s just happened instead? Will this enhance the scene and engage the reader more?

After The Action

Find a scene where your characters disagree – in particular a scene where your protagonist argues with friends or allies. What happens next?

It can be tempting to wrap up the action with a quick resolution. But what if a resentment lingers and mistrust builds? This creates a more interesting story arc and means a resolution can occur later, giving the character development a real dynamic.

Review how you resolve the action and see if you can stretch out the emotions for a more satisfying read.

Eliminating the Fluff

Ensure that the words used don’t detract from the enormity of the events your character is going through. Can you delete words like, “Quite”, “Little”, or “Rather”? 

Of “Very” Florence King once wrote: “ 'Very' is the most useless word in the English language and can always come out. More than useless, it is treacherous because it invariably weakens what it is intended to strengthen .” Delete it, or replace the word after it with a stronger word, which makes “Very” redundant.

“That,” is another common word used in creative writing which can often be deleted. Read a sentence as is, then reread it as if you deleted, “That”. If the meaning is the same, delete it.

Chapter Endings

When talking about chapter endings, James Patterson said,  “At the end, something has to propel you into the next chapter.”

Read how each of your chapters finish and ask yourself does it either:

  • End on a cliff hanger? (R.L. Stine likes to finish every chapter in this method).
  • End on a natural pause (for example, you’re changing point of view or location).

Review how you wrap up each of your chapters. Do you end at the best point in your story? Can you add anticipation to cliff hangers? Will you leave your readers wanting more?

How to run the writing exercises

The editing exercises are designed to be completed individually.

With the others, I've always run them as part of a creative writing group, where there's no teacher and we're all equal participants, therefore I keep any 'teaching' aspect to a minimum, preferring them to be prompts to generate ideas before everyone settles down to do the silent writing. We've recently gone online and if you run a group yourself, whether online or in person, you're welcome to use these exercises for free!

The times given are suggestions only and I normally get a feel for how everyone's doing when time's up and if it's obvious that everyone's still in the middle of a discussion, then I give them longer.  Where one group's in the middle of a discussion, but everyone else has finished, I sometimes have a 'soft start' to the silent writing, and say, "We're about to start the hour and a half of silent writing now, but if you're in the middle of a discussion, feel free to finish it first".

This way everyone gets to complete the discussion, but no-one's waiting for ages.  It's also important to emphasise that there's no wrong answers when being creative.

Still looking for more? Check out these creative writing prompts  or our dedicated Sci-Fi and Fantasy creative writing prompts

If you've enjoyed these creative writing exercises, please share them on social media, or link to them from your blog.

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Creative Ways to Use Graphic Novels in the Classroom! 🎥

10 Creative Writing Activities That Help Students Tell Their Stories

Lower the stakes and help them get started.

Share your story message written on three post it notes

“I don’t have a story. There’s nothing interesting about my life!” Sound familiar? I don’t know a teacher who hasn’t heard students say this. When we ask our students to write about themselves, they get stuck. We know how important it is for them to tell their own stories. It’s how we explore our identities and keep our histories and cultures alive. It can even be dangerous when we don’t tell our stories (check out this Ted Talk given by novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and share it with your students for more on that). Storytelling is essential for every subject, not just English Language Arts; students dive deeper and engage when they practice thinking about how their own stories intersect with historical events, civic engagement, and the real-world implications of STEM. These 10 creative writing activities can work in every subject you teach:

Here are 10 of our favorite story telling activities that inspire students:

1. write an “i am from” poem.

A students I Am From creative writing activities

Students read the poem “I am From” by George Ella Lyon. Then, they draft a poem about their own identity in the same format Lyon used. Finally, students create a video to publish their poems. We love this one because the mentor text gives a clear structure and example that students can follow. But the end result is truly unique, just like their story.

2. Design a social media post to share an important memory

collage of historical images creative writing activities

How can you use your unique perspective to tell a story? We want our students to learn that they are truly unique and have stories that only they can tell that other people want to hear or could relate to or learn from. In this activity, students watch two Pixar-in-a-Box videos on Khan Academy to learn about storytelling and perspective. Then, they identify an interesting or poignant memory and design a social media post.

3. Create an image using a line to chart an emotional journey

writing activities assignments

How do you show emotion using a single line? In this activity, students watch a Pixar in a Box video on Khan Academy to learn about how lines communicate character, emotion, and tension. Then they experiment with these aspects as they write their story. We love using this for pre-writing and to help students explore their story arc. Also, for students who love to draw or learn visually, this can help them get started telling their story and show them that there are many different ways to tell a story.

4. Tell the story behind your name

writing activities assignments

Sharing the story behind our name is a way to tell a story about ourselves, our culture, and our family history. And if there isn’t a story behind it, we can talk about how we feel about it and describe what it sounds like. In this activity, students use video to introduce themselves to their classmates by discussing the origin of their name. This project asks students to connect their names (and identities) to their personal and familial histories and to larger historical forces. If you’re looking for a mentor text that pairs well with this one, try “My Name” by Sandra Cisneros .

5. Develop a visual character sketch

Give students the time to create a character sketch of themselves. This will help them see how they fit into their story. In this lesson, students create a visual character sketch. They’ll treat themselves like a character and learn to see themselves objectively.

6. Create a webpage to outline the story of your movie

writing activities assignments

Building a story spine is a great way to show students how to put the parts of their story in an order that makes sense. It’s an exercise in making choices about structure. We like this activity because it gives students a chance to see different examples of structure in storytelling. Then, they consider the question: how can you use structure to set your story up for success? Finally, they design and illustrate an outline for their story.

7. Respond to a variety of writing prompts

Sometimes our students get stuck because they aren’t inspired or need a different entry point into telling their story. Give them a lot of writing prompts that they can choose from. Pass out paper and pencils. Set a timer for fifteen minutes. Then, write 3-4 writing prompts on the board. Encourage students to free-write and not worry about whether their ideas are good or right. Some of our favorite prompts to encourage students to tell their story are:

  • I don’t know why I remember…
  • What’s your favorite place and why?
  • What objects tell the story of your life?
  • What might surprise someone to learn about you?

8. Create a self-portrait exploring identity and self-expression

writing activities assignments

Part of what makes writing your own story so difficult for students is that they are just building their identity. In this activity, students explore how they and others define their identity. What role does identity play in determining how they are perceived and treated by others? What remains hidden and what is shown publicly?

9. Film a video to share an important story from your life

writing activities assignments

Encourage students to think about how to tell the story of a day they faced their fears. Students consider the question: How can you use different shot types to tell your story? They watch a video from Pixar in a Box on Khan Academy to learn about different camera shots and their use in storytelling. Then, they use Adobe Spark Post or Photoshop and choose three moments from their story to make into shots. We love using this to help students think about pace and perspective. Sometimes what we leave out of our story is just as important as what we include.

10. Try wild writing

Laurie Powers created a process where you read a poem and then select two lines from it. Students start their own writing with one of those lines. Anytime that they get stuck, they repeat their jump-off line again. This is a standalone activity or a daily writing warm-up, and it works with any poem. We love how it lowers the stakes. Can’t think of anything to write? Repeat the jump-off line and start again. Here are some of our favorite jump-off lines:

  • The truth is…
  • Some people say…
  • Here’s what I forgot to tell you…
  • Some questions have no answers…
  • Here’s what I’m afraid to write about…

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As esl teachers, we’ve all had those students who do great on their grammar exams , speak up confidently in class, and are always first to raise their hands for activities - and yet, when it comes time for a writing assignment, they can barely squeeze out a few short sentences. this can be frustrating for the student and teacher alike - but it’s the symptom of a problem that’s well-known in every teaching community: speaking and writing are two very different skills. as with any new skill, practice is key - but students who have trouble writing aren’t usually keen to take on even more writing practice. after all, they might think, if their grammar and vocabulary are correct, and they don’t need to write in english for their jobs, what’s the point of drilling this skill the answer is, of course, that the ability to write in english is key in the world and the workplace - from writing cover letters and cvs to drafting emails and client presentations. the responsibility is at least partly on you, the teacher, to provide assignments that draw your students into the writing process. is your number-one stop for exactly those kinds of assignments. our 730 writing worksheets will provide your students with intriguing writing prompts , and with a variety of writing exercises that’ll help them watch their own improvement as it happens. our worksheets even break down the writing process into its core components, so you can figure out exactly where in the process each student is struggling, and intervene with exercises to help him or her through that trouble spot. the writing worksheets here on will help familiarize your students with all the sub-skills involved in writing - from choosing a topic and constructing that first paragraph, all the way to writing movie reviews and short poems. some of our worksheets even cover basics like handwriting and sentence structure - so no matter how much your students need to brush up on their fundamentals, we’ve got worksheets to meet them where they are. you’ll find worksheets on any topic you can imagine, from daily routines and holidays to pop culture, news, and even poetry and song lyrics.   some worksheets just help you lead simple fill-in-the-blank exercises, while others present thought-provoking topics for full essays, or include plans for your students to create their own newsletters. and for students who need help with english school assignments, you’ll also find worksheets on writing essays and test responses. you can browse all of our 730 writing worksheets in thumbnail view, so you don’t have to wait for any of them to load to get an idea of what they’re like. as you scroll down the page, just click on any worksheet that catches your eye - they’re all completely free to download, print, and share in any way you like. and they’re all created and classroom-tested by real esl teachers all over the world - which means you can be confident they’ll work in your classroom, too. if you’ve got a worksheet of your own that you’d like to share with your fellow esl teachers in the community, just click the “submit a worksheet” button at the bottom of this page. all of these writing worksheets are here to help you - so pick out a few that look interesting, and give them a try in your classroom today. we’re sure you’ll love them as much as the other esl teachers in our community already do. read more... ...less.

No, It's Not Arbitrary and Does Make Sense: How to Teach the English Punctuation System Less is More? How to Teach Summary Writing 10 Fun Spelling Games for Your ESL Class How To Teach Writing: 6 Methods For Generating Writing Ideas How to Teach Your Students to Write an Essay How To Teach Writing: 7 Strategies for Elaboration 13 Simple Strategies for Helping English Language Learners Throughout the Writing Process How to Effectively Teach English Writing Skills HOWTO: 3 Easy Steps to Grading Student Essays Getting to the Point: 6 Short Writing Activities for Beginning ESL Students --> resources Creative Writing Prompts 1-50 Creative Writing Prompts 51-100 Creative Writing Prompts 101-150 Creative Writing Prompts 151-200 Creative Writing Prompts 201-250 Creative Writing Prompts 251-300 Creative Writing Prompts 301-350 Creative Writing Prompts 351-400 Creative Writing Prompts 401-450 Creative Writing Prompts 451-500 Creative Writing Prompts 501-550 Creative Writing Prompts 551-600

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A Big, Bold List of Creative Writing Activities

by Melissa Donovan | Jan 4, 2024 | Creative Writing | 24 comments

creative writing activities

Try some of these creative writing activities.

Are you looking for writing motivation, inspiration, or ideas that will give your latest project an extra boost?

Below you’ll find a massive list of creative writing activities. Some of these activities will keep you writing when you’re in need of ideas and inspiration. Others will improve your writing skills and techniques through practice. Some will give you experience with forms and genres you haven’t tried. And others will help you promote your writing once it’s published.

Pick any activity and use it as a creative outlet. Bring a few activities to your writing group or do one with your kids. Use these creative writing activities in any way you want.

Start a Journal

Journaling is an excellent way to maintain a steady writing practice, and there are lots of different journals you can write: gratitude journals, dream journals, media journals, poetry journals, and idea journals, to name a few.

Image Prompts

Flip through some images on Instagram or Pinterest and see what sparks an idea. Don’t place limitations on your writing—just let the words flow.

Character Letters

Writing letters in your characters’ voices can help you get inside their heads and understand them better so you can write them with more depth and realism. Create an ongoing correspondence to explore character relationships and group dynamics within your cast.

Write Your Bio

Write a series of short bios for your social media accounts and a longer one for your author website. Don’t forget to make a bio for your press kit and another to include in your books.

Rhyme and Meter Exercises

Set your inner musician free by composing lines and couplets in metrical patterns with rhymes. Establish the parameters before you start writing, or just let the words flow and note the meter and rhyme afterward.

Memory Prompts

Grab an old photo album or flip through the photos on your phone—or use recall to bring forth memories that you can write about. Use this as an exercise in writing description or crafting a narrative about something you experienced or witnessed—ideal if you’re interested in writing a memoir.

Writing Exercises

Writing exercises keep your skills sharp and your creativity flowing even when inspiration is fleeting. They are excellent for keeping up your writing practice between projects. Pick up a book of creative writing exercises so you’ll have plenty to choose from.

What-if List

Create a repository of ideas by writing a list of what-if questions that could spark characters, plots, and settings for your future works of fiction or provide ideas you can explore in poetry and nonfiction writing projects.


A mailing list is one of the best ways for an author to connect with a readership. Start planning yours now. You can fill your newsletter with behind-the-scenes material from your books or excerpts from your work in progress. Or write a poem or piece of flash fiction for your newsletter.

Character Diary

The best characters feel like real people, which means the writer has fully gotten into their heads and hearts. One way to do that is to keep a diary in your character’s voice, which will help you establish their innermost thoughts and feelings. And who knows? Maybe a character diary will turn into a novel written in first person!

Your Future Self

Jump at least ten years into the future and write a letter from your current self to your future self, write a letter from your future self to your current self, or write a diary entry as your future self.

Try Writing for Comics

Comics are often partnerships between artists and writers. Give the writing side of comics a try. If you don’t want to draw, just make notes about what the illustrations will depict. Focus on character, plot, and dialogue. Flip through a few comics if you need examples to guide you.

Dream Vacation

Write a few pages describing your dream vacation. Where will you go? How long will you stay? What will you do there? If you’ve already experienced a dream vacation, write about that instead.

Blurb Your Favorite Books

A book blurb is a short statement endorsing a book, often written by another author. Choose a few of your favorite titles and write blurbs for them.

Focus on dialogue by writing a script. It could be a script for a play, a TV series, or a movie, or it can simply be an exercise in practicing or exploring dialogue.

Imagined World History

Create a fictional history for a fantastical or sci-fi story world. What were the origins of the civilization? What are their customs and traditions? Their laws and beliefs?

Write a Recipe

Start with an introduction that makes the reader’s mouth water, and then deliver the recipe, complete with an ingredient list and cooking instructions.

Propose an Adaptation of Your Favorite Book

Do you have a favorite book that’s never been made into a film or television series? Put together a two-page pitch convincing studio executives that this story needs to be seen on a screen.

Write a Letter You’ll Never Send

Write a letter to someone who’s gone, someone who’s upset you, or someone you admire from afar.

Find Poetry

Found poetry is when we use words and phrases from source material to create a poem. This is most often seen as a page of printed text with various words and phrases circled, or all text blacked out except the portions that make up the found poem.

Write a Speech

Write an award acceptance speech; a campaign speech, or a graduation or wedding speech.

Make an Outline

Create an outline for a large-scope project, such as a book or series of books.

This is Like That

Practice writing similes and metaphors. Similes are when one thing is like another (your smile is like sunshine) and metaphors are when one thing is another (your smile is sunshine).

Make a Chapbook

If you’ve written a lot of short pieces, like essays, poems, and short stories, collect them into a chapbook. Bring it to an open mic and take along copies you can sell or give away, or offer it on your blog, website, or social media as a free or premium download.

Create a Motivation Journal

Fill it with things that make you want to write — positive affirmations, favorite lines from poems, quotes of wisdom, and useful reminders. Crack it open whenever you catch yourself procrastinating when you should be writing.

Give Fan Fiction a Whirl

Write a few scenes in your favorite story world. Create new characters or use existing characters. Just remember — you don’t own the intellectual property, so you can’t commercially publish it.

Write a Critique

A critique should start by highlighting the strengths in a piece of writing, and then it should gently but constructively offer feedback that is meant to show the author how to make improvements. You can critique any work, but it would be ideal if you can find a writer friend to swap critiques with.

Write Log Lines for Your Favorite Stories

A log line is a sentence or two that summarizes a story and entices readers. If you’re working on a project, write a log line about it. Log lines are excellent for crystallizing your vision, and they’re also useful for pitching and selling written works.

Start a Legacy Book

A legacy book is a collection of writings and other materials (letters, photos, ephemera, etc.) that can be passed down as a family heirloom. Write about your family history and document significant or memorable family events.

Speculate the Future

What do you think the world will look like in twenty-five years? Fifty? A hundred? A thousand? Write an essay or short story, or create a world-building document for a futuristic civilization.

Write a Film Treatment

Written like a short story in present tense, a film treatment is an overview of an entire film; it’s usually written before the first draft and used for pitching film ideas throughout the industry.

Write a Blog Post

If you write nonfiction, this should be easy; just write a post about one of your usual topics. If you’re a poet or a fiction writer, write about the craft, the industry, or use subject matter from your written works.

Practice Description

Writing description is an important skill. Create a one-page description for a story setting, or describe a location you’ve visited, or write a description of a real person or a fictional character.

Turn Memories Into Magic

Memories can provide a wealth of ideas for any type of writing, from poetry to fiction and a variety of essays. Choose an early memory and write it as a story, essay, or poem.

Social media is ideal for people who can write snappy, witty, and entertaining or engaging vignettes. Social media is an excellent tool for writers to find readers and connect with one another, so mastering a couple of these social platforms is a good idea if you hope to build a career as a writer.

Rewrite What You Don’t Like

Dig through your old, discarded writings and find a piece that had some potential. Then rewrite it.

Analyze a Written Work

Choose a piece of writing (it can be a book, an article, an essay — anything) and then write an analysis of at least 2,000 words (or about four pages).

Read and Resemble

Read a handful of poems by a single poet and then attempt writing a poem in that poet’s voice. This is not an exercise in copying; it’s an exercising in studying the voice of a writer. If you’re feeling ambitious, try it with works of fiction and write a scene in an author’s voice.

Write a Review

Choose a book that you’ve read recently and write a detailed review of it. What worked? What didn’t work? What did you like? What didn’t you like? Remember, a review should help a book find its readers. Who is this book for, if not for you?

Get Busy with These Creative Writing Activities!

What are some of your favorite creative writing activities? Have you done any of the activities on this list? Which ones would you want to try? Can you think of any writing activities to add to this list? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment, and keep writing!

Ready Set Write a Guide to Creative Writing



Thank you for all these wonderful ideas. After a very long hiatus from the writing world (mostly because of health) I am feeling a bit rusty. Using some of these ideas will certainly prime the pump! I really enjoy your blog and appreciate the basics of grammar, etc. I find that I have slipped into some old habits just in my everyday writing and your tips help me get back on track.

Melissa Donovan

Thanks, Ann. I’m always touched by comments like yours. It keeps me going when people let me know this blog is helpful or inspiring. So thank you for taking the time. Best of luck and keep writing!

Kristy @PampersandPinot

The character journal is a great idea!!!

The problem with the character journal is that it could be time consuming, but I love it as a way to get to know a character, and more specifically, to get inside a character’s head.

Yvonne Root

All of these ideas are wonderful. I’m especially attracted to the last two suggestions. Both of those activities are fun for me and certainly bound to be helpful concerning my writing skills.

When I must wait in the car (with a sleeping grandchild, for instance) I’m only happy if I can see folks as they come and go.

We play word games on a regular basis and have found it strengthens the writing skills of even those of us who do not call ourselves wordsmiths.

Keep up the excellent work.

Thanks so much for your kind words, Yvonnne. I’m looking forward to the day when the little ones in my family (niece and nephew) are old enough to play word and letter games.


Hi Melissa, Thanks for these wonderful ideas. I ‘m taking a couple of days off from writing my memoir, and will try them out.’Writing as one of my characters’ and ‘sitting in some heavily populated place for observations’ are intriguing.

Those are my two favorites as well. Good luck, Margaret, and enjoy your hiatus. I hope it refreshes you so you can return to your memoir.

Amber Dane

Love the character journal idea! To keep my vocab going I choose pages out of the dictionary/thesaurus to keep my brain working. It also does wonders for my muse. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this list.

I write a lot of scenes and backstory for my characters, which are never included in the book. Exploring the characters outside of the narrative has proven to be very helpful in better understanding them.

Paul Atreides

Hi, Melissa!

Well, I’ve been absent for quite a long while. But I have been busy. A spec piece submitted to my local daily newspaper landed me a column. (Who couldda guessed?) I also write theater reviews for them; write what you know has never been more true.

Consequently, I find that my creative writing has slowed quite a bit. The sequel to my debut needs, maybe, two more chapters yet there it sits, though a production company asked for it. Even reading the preceding few chapters doesn’t help me get into the character’s heads in order to finish the thing.

Got any ideas?

Congrats on landing a column, Paul. That’s awesome. I’m not sure why you’ve been unable to finish your sequel, so I can’t offer any specific suggestions, but you can start by fguring out why you’re not finishing it (no time, lost interest, etc.), and then you can probably rectify the problem.

Bette Stevens

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

You’re welcome. Thanks for commenting!

Bryan Fagan

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut. Every writer needs to step away.

I live near the University of Oregon. Every now and than I take a walk through campus. I try to time it during a busy school day. I wish I could bottle the youthful energy that is floating in the wind.

If any of you live near a school try it.

Thank you for the list. It helps a lot.

Yes, breaks are great refreshers for a creative mind. You’re lucky to live near a beautiful place for walks.


I don’t speek english so, sorry if i write wrong, but i need to tell you that your blog is amazing. Your write it’s soo good and make me wanna write. I have 15 years old and i love write, maybe I become a writter when I grew up, and I don’t know how to make my ideias go for the paper but your blog has helped me. Thank you!!

Hi Isabella. Thanks for sharing your passion for writing. I’m glad you’re enjoying this blog. Keep writing!

Allison Brown

Thank you for your useful ideas! You have inspired me to try out new formats. I’m not a professional writer, it’s more my hobby. But still, I want to improve myself by writing texts and short stories.

You’re welcome. I’m glad this inspired you, and I’m thrilled that you’re working toward improvement. That’s wonderful!

Sandra Harris

Hi Melissa! I just wanted you to know that I recently bought some of your books and I absolutely love them and carry them around with me everywhere. Keep up the amazing work! Best wishes, Sandra Harris.

Wow, you just made my day, Sandra. That’s one of the nicest things anyone has said about my books. I’m so glad you like them. Keep writing!


Thank you for those amaing ideas. I’m not exactly stuck, as I know where my latest book is going, but I’m a bit lacking in motivation right now. Some of your suggestions might just get my juices flowing again.

Hi Vivienne. You’re welcome. I’m glad you found some motivation here. Keep writing!

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22 Writing Activities To Help Kids Hone Their Writing Skills

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Written by Maria Kampen

Prodigy English is here! Get your students playing — and learning — today.

  • Prodigy English

Fun writing activities

Creative writing activities, academic writing activities, at-home writing activities, daily writing activities, simple writing prompts for kids.

  • How writing activities can bring reluctant writers out of their shells

Try some other educational activities

When kids start writing, they’re unlocking a whole new world of imagination to explore. It’s a great way for them to be creative, express themselves and practice key reading and writing skills. 

But as most kids — and adults — will tell you, writing is hard! It can be intimidating to put pen to paper for the first time, and sometimes the challenge of a blank page seems like too much to overcome. 

Writing shouldn’t be scary for kids. These 22 fun writing activities can help them:

  • Use their imagination
  • Think up new stories and ideas
  • Share their writing with friends and family

Use them in your classroom or at home to get kids excited about writing!

Three students complete fun writing activities at school.

Writing is supposed to be fun! Use these activities to help kids stretch their imagination and record their thoughts on paper in a fun, low-stress environment.

1. Try online ELA games like Prodigy English

Great for: Grades 1 to 6

Online games are a great way to engage students in the learning process — and Prodigy English is bringing the power of game-based learning to language and reading skill practice!

As students build and create, they’re always practicing key reading and language skills that help them write clearly and effectively. Every correct answer gives players more energy to gather resources, complete daily tasks and earn Wishcoins.

Plus, you can send questions about the topics you want them to practice and collect insights about their learning.

2. Poetry scavenger hunt

Great for: Middle and high school students

Words are all around us, so encourage your students to take inspiration from the real-life writing they see every day. Have students collect printed words and phrases from the world around them, including:

  • Magazine ads
  • Graphic novels
  • Newspaper headlines
  • Social media captions

Students can collect and arrange their words on a piece of paper to make a unique piece of poetry. Encourage them to find a key idea and expand on it in creative ways, then have students share their work with the class. 

3. Create your own comic strip

Great for: Grades 4 to 10

Students learn in all sorts of ways. For visual learners, creating a comic strip to accompany their story can help them express themselves in a visual medium. 

Give students a set number of panels and challenge them to come up with a quick story — just a few sentences. Then, they can illustrate their scene in the style of comic books. 

Remind students the point isn’t to be the best artist — it’s to write a story that’s short and exciting. 

4. Create your own Madlib

Great for: Elementary and middle school students

Give students vocabulary practice and help them write a silly story at the same time!

Fill a sheet with the outline of the story, then remove key words like:

For younger students, add a word bank to get them started. As students fill in words, they’ll craft a unique story filled with unexpected twists and turns.

Young student sits at a table with pencil and paper during creative writing activities.

Once students start getting in the habit of writing, these creative writing activities can pull new ideas out of their heads and encourage them to experiment with different genres. 

5. Acrostics

Great for: Grades 3 to 8

Acrostic poems are a great way to introduce your students to poetry! Start with a meaningful word or name and use it as a theme for the poem. 

Writing the word vertically, students can go down the letters and write a short word or phrase that starts with each letter. Acrostic poems help students write within a structure and theme, so it’s easier for them to get started. 

6. A letter to your future self

Great for: Middle school and high school

Where do your students see themselves in a year? Five years? Ten years?

A letter to their future selves is a great way for students to explore their own story, and brainstorm what they want to achieve. Not only can students practice their letter-writing skills, they can use their imaginations to develop a growth mindset . 

For extra nostalgia, store the letters for students and mail them out once the right amount of time has passed. 

7. Write a “Choose your own adventure” story

Great for: Grades 5 and up

Whether it’s a fairy tale, detective story or drama, chances are you’ve had a student tell you they don’t know how their story is supposed to end. 

A “Choose-your-own-adventure” story lets students brainstorm different storylines and endings. Once they’re done, encourage them to share their stories with the class so their peers can go on the adventure too.

8. Write a fake advertisement

Great for: Grades 6 and up

Good writing doesn’t just happen in books — it’s all around us!

Whether students are writing advertisements on their own or as part of a project-based learning assignment , this activity helps them build key media literacy skills and practice their snappy storytelling. 

Have students make up a new product and advertisement, or encourage them to re-imagine an ad for something they love. It’s also a great way to bring media literacy and interdisciplinary learning to your classroom. 

9. Make a story map

Great for: Grades 2 to 8

Not every student is going to be comfortable putting pen to paper right away. Story maps can help students brainstorm details like plot, characters and setting in a way that makes sense for visual learners. 

Have students use charts to set out the beginning, middle and end of their stories. Mind maps can also help them plot out details about their characters or setting. 

Encourage students to present their story map as a finished product or use it to start writing!

Students works with a textbook, pencil and paper in the classroom.

Writing isn’t all fairy tales and short stories — it’s also an important part of learning in middle school, high school and college. Use these academic writing activities to help students understand proper essay structure, grammar and more. 

10. Story chains

Great for: Grades 4 to 8

Stories are better when they’re enjoyed with friends and classmates. And story chains encourage every student to get involved!

Put students in small groups of three to six. Give each student a blank piece of paper and have them write the beginning of a story. Then, pass it to the next student in the group so they can write what happens next. 

For extra educational value, have students work together to summarize a story from your lesson or an important historical event. 

11. Persuasive essays

Sometimes writing is about more than just telling a story. It’s about convincing your readers of your point of view. 

Have older students practice their debate skills with persuasive essays. Start with a prompt, then let students make their case. Some of our favorite prompts for this writing assignment include:

  • Is it more important to be right or to not hurt someone else’s feelings?
  • What important historical figure do you think belongs on the ten-dollar bill and why?
  • Do you think you’re born with your personality traits, or do you gain them as you grow up?

Most importantly, make sure students back up their opinions with solid facts and arguments that convince readers to care. 

12. Solve a real-world problem

Great for: Grade 6 and up

Climate change, litter, bullying, bad cafeteria food — no matter what students pick, there are lots of real-world problems for them to solve. 

Challenge students with a writing assignment that addresses a problem they see in their world. How would they fix it? Whether it’s a short paragraph or a longer essay, encourage them to find something they’re passionate about. After all, that’s where good writing comes from!

13. Vocabulary challenge

Great for: Elementary school students

Vocabulary challenges combine vocabulary strategies with student writing to make your next language arts lesson plan even more engaging. 

Give students a new word (or two or three). Once you’re done practicing it and they know what it means, challenge them to use it in a story as creatively as possible. 

14. Teach citations

Great for: Grades 1 to 12

Footnotes, endnotes and bibliographies are the least exciting part of writing, but they’re essential skills. As students write more complex research papers, they need to know how to give credit where credit is due. Thankfully, there are lots of online resources to help!

The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers teachers and students resources for all stages of the writing process, including citations. To practice, students can write an annotated bibliography as part of a project-based learning assignment or the first step in writing a longer research paper. 

Young girls works with her father on writing activities on their couch.

Writing isn’t just something happening in the classroom. These at-home writing ideas can help you support your child as they experiment with prose and poetry.

15. Write letters to a pen pal

Great for: Grades 3 and up

Everyone likes getting mail! Got a friend with kids in a different part of the country, or far-away family members? A pen pal can be a great way for kids to build friendships and practice their writing skills at the same time. 

16. Bring a home object to life

“It’s as big as a mountain!”

“That’s the fluffiest thing I’ve ever felt!”

The ways kids describe things can crack us up sometimes. Full of wonder and hyperbole, it’s the perfect spark for creative writing, too.

Encourage kids to practice their figurative language skills with a description of something in your home. Let them pack as much alliteration and exaggeration into the description as they can, then do a dramatic reading out loud.  

17. Write reading reactions

If you want to boost reading comprehension and writing skills at the same time, this is the perfect activity. After your child is done reading, encourage them to write a few sentences about what they just read. 

Did they like it? What do they think happens next? Which character was their favorite and why? Learning how to express opinions in writing is a valuable skill. 

18. Document family stories

Great for: Grades 4 and up

Every family has a unique story, including yours. Make memories with your child when you share stories about important family events or your childhood. 

Kids can even interview grandparents, aunts and uncles to record their memories. When you’re done, store them in a shared space so everyone can go back and reminisce.

A person sits at a desk with a notebook, paper, pen and coffee cup.

Writing is a muscle, and you have to flex it every day to get stronger. Use these daily writing activities to make writing part of your everyday routine. 

19. Journaling

Great for: Everyone

Sometimes, you’ve just gotta write it out. 

Whether you’re trying to make sense of life or just need a place to organize your thoughts, journaling is a great way to unwind, practice mindfulness and build social emotional skills . 

All kids need to get started is a notebook and a pen. Let them know you’re not going to read it, but they’re welcome to come to you if there’s something they want to talk about. 

20. Blog about your interests

Great for: High school and up

Everyone’s passionate about something. Whatever your students love, encourage them to share it with the world! Blogging is an accessible and fun way to express themselves, nerd out about the things that bring them joy and share their opinions with the world. 

Sites like WordPress and Wix offer free website builders to help students get started. This is a great way for kids to build computer skills and digital literacy .

21. Free writing

Write, write, write and don’t stop. That’s the premise behind free writing, a writing practice that can help unlock creativity, discover new ideas and take the pressure out of a blank page. 

Give students a five-minute timer and challenge them to write continuously, without worrying about formatting, spelling or grammar. They can write about whatever they want, but there’s only one rule: don’t stop. 

22. Answer daily writing prompts

Make time to exercise your brain with daily writing prompts! At the start of the day or as a quick brain break , set aside time for students to respond to a quick daily writing prompt. 

Students should have a dedicated journal or binder to make it a seamless part of your lessons. Whether or not you choose to read their writing is up to you, but it’s important to build good daily habits. 

Teacher and child sit in the classroom and work on writing activities together.

A blank page can be a scary sight for a student who doesn’t know what to write about. 

Use writing prompts to:

  • Kickstart a student’s imagination
  • Start your lesson with a fun writing activity
  • Give students a topic to debate in writing

Some of our favorite simple writing prompts include:

  • Write a story about a wooden door, a can of soda and a blue shoe. 
  • If you met a monster looking for new friends, what would you do?
  • What’s your favorite season? What makes it the best?
  • If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
  • Describe your dream birthday cake. 
  • Write a story about being cold without using the word “cold.”
  • If you could decorate your bedroom any way you wanted, what would it look like?
  • Is it better to have lots of friends or just a few really good friends?
  • Write a story in 10 words or less.
  • Write a story about the best surprise you’ve ever received. 

For more writing prompts you can use in and out of the classroom, check out our full list of 225 writing prompts for kids .

Writing activities can bring reluctant writers out of their shells

Writing is hard and can be intimidating for a lot of students. 

But even the quietest and most reluctant students have lots of stories to tell! You just have to encourage them to get their words out. 

Writing activities help remove some of the pressure and give students:

  • A fun way to approach writing 
  • A starting point for their stories
  • Chances to share their writing with students

No two stories are the same, just like your students. Every story can start in a different way, and that’s the beauty of writing prompts.

Whether it’s writing activities or math problems, there are lots of ways to get reluctant learners excited about your lessons with educational activities. 

Here are some of our favorites:

  • 37 Quick & Easy Brain Breaks for Kids
  • 30 Virtual School Activities Students & Educators Love  
  • 27 Best Educational Games for Kids to Play Sorted by Subject  
  • 15 Geometry Activities to Engage Students Across Grade Levels
  • 36 Fun Word Games for Kids To Help with Vocabulary & Literacy
  • 15 Fun, Free & Effective Multiplication Games For Your Classroom
  • 20 Exciting Math Games for Kids to Skyrocket New Math Skills On-The-Go
  • 21 Classroom Games to Boost Teacher Effectiveness and Student Learning
  • 25 Social Emotional Learning Activities & How They Promote Student Well-Being

Which ones can you use in your next lesson?

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  • Triangle Method of Character Development
  • Children’s Book Editing
  • Copy Editing
  • Novel Editing
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  • General Books
  • Children’s Books

50 Fantastic Creative Writing Exercises

writing activities assignments

Good question.

Creative writing exercises are designed to teach a technique. They are highly specific, more specific than creative writing prompts, and much more specific than story generators.

Creative writing exercises for adults are not designed to lead the writer into crafting a full story, but are only designed to help them improve as a writer in a narrow, specific category of writing skills.

I’ve broken the exercises below into categories so you can choose what category of skill you’d like to practice. Can you guess which category in this list has the most prompts?

If you guessed characters, then you’re right. I think characters are the heart blood of every story, and that a majority of any writing prompts or writing exercises should focus on them.

But I also think any of these will help you create a narrative, and a plot, and help you generate all kinds of dialogue, whether for short stories or for novels. These writing exercises are pretty much guaranteed to improve your writing and eliminate writer’s block. 

Also, if you’re a fledgling writer who needs help writing their novel, check out my comprehensive guide to novel writing.

Enjoy the five categories of writing exercises below, and happy writing!

five senses

1. Think of the most deafening sound you can imagine. Describe it in great detail, and have your character hear it for the first time at the start of a story.

2. Have a man cooking for a woman on a third date, and have her describe the aromas in such loving and extended detail that she realizes that she’s in love with him.

3. Pick a line from one of your favorite songs, and identify the main emotion. Now write a character who is feeling that emotion and hears the song. Try to describe the type of music in such a beautiful way that you will make the reader yearn to hear the song as well.

4. Have a character dine at a blind restaurant, a restaurant in pitch blackness where all the servers are blind, and describe for a full paragraph how the tablecloth, their clothing, and the hand of their dining partner feels different in the darkness.

5. Select a dish representative of a national cuisine, and have a character describe it in such detail that the reader salivates and the personality of the character is revealed.

Dialogue exercises

7. Describe two characters having a wordless conversation, communicating only through gestures. Try to see how long you can keep the conversation going without any words spoken, but end it with one of them saying a single word, and the other one repeating the same word.

8. In a public place from the last vacation you took, have two characters arguing, but make it clear by the end of the argument that they’re not arguing about what they’re really upset about.

9. Write a scene composed mostly of dialogue with a child talking to a stranger. Your mission is to show the child as heartbreakingly cute. At the same time, avoid sentimentality. 

10. Have two character have a conversation with only a single word, creating emphasis and context so that the word communicates different things each time it is spoken. The prime example of this is in the television show “The Wire,” where Jimmy and Bunk investigate a crime scene repeating only a single expletive.

writing activities assignments

11. Pick an object that is ugly, and create a character who finds it very beautiful. Have the character describe the object in a way that convinces the reader of its beauty. Now write a second version where you convince the reader (through describing the object alone) that the character is mentally unstable.

12. Write down five emotions on slips of paper and slip them into a hat. Now go outside and find a tree. Draw one emotion from the hat, and try to describe that tree from the perspective of a character feeling that emotion. (Don’t mention the emotion in your writing — try to describe the tree so the reader could guess the emotion).

13. Describe a character’s bedroom in such a way that it tells us about a person’s greatest fears and hopes.

14. Root through your desk drawer until you find a strange object, an object that would probably not be in other people’s drawers. Have a character who is devastated to find this object, and tell the story of why this object devastates them.

15. Go to an art-based Pinterest page and find your favorite piece of art. Now imagine a living room inspired by that flavor of artwork, and show the room after a husband and wife have had the worst fight of their marriage.

16. Pick a simple object like a vase, a broom, or a light bulb, and write a scene that makes the reader cry when they see the object.

writing activities assignments

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writing activities assignments

17. Make a list of the top five fears in your life. Write a character who is forced to confront one of those fears.

18. Write an entire page describing the exact emotions when you learned of a happy or calamitous event in your life. Now try to condense that page into a single searing sentence.

19. Think about a time in your life when you felt shame. Now write a character in a similar situation, trying to make it even more shameful.

20. Write a paragraph with a character struggle with two conflicting emotions simultaneously. For example, a character who learns of his father’s death and feels both satisfaction and pain.

21. Write a paragraph where a character starts in one emotional register, and through a process of thought, completely evolves into a different emotion.


writing activities assignments

22. Create a minor character based upon someone you dislike. Now have your main character encounter them and feel sympathy and empathy for them despite their faults.

23. Have a kooky character tell a story inside a pre-established form: an instruction manual, traffic update, email exchange, weather report, text message.

24. Write about a character who does something they swore they would never do.

25. Have a character who has memorized something (the names of positions in the Kama Sutra, the entire book of Revelations) recite it while doing something completely at odds with what they’re reciting. For instance, bench pressing while reciting the emperors in a Chinese dynasty.

26. Write a paragraph where a character does a simple action, like turning on a light switch, and make the reader marvel at how strange and odd it truly is.

27. Have a couple fight while playing a board game. Have the fight be about something related to the board game: fighting about money, have them play monopoly. Fighting about politics, let them play chess.

28. Write about two characters angry at each other, but have both of them pretend the problems don’t exist. Instead, have them fight passive-aggressively, through small, snide comments.

29. Describe a character walking across an expanse field or lot and describe how he walks. The reader should perfectly understand his personality simply by the way you describe his walk.

30. Write a first-person POV of a character under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and try to make the prose as woozy and tipsy as the character.

31. Describe the first time that a character realizes he is not as smart as he thought.

32. Describe an hour in the life of a character who has recently lost their ability to do what they love most (a pianist who has severe arthritis; a runner who became a quadriplegic).

33. Write an argument where a husband or wife complains of a physical ailment, but their spouse refuses to believe it’s real.

34. Write a scene where a stranger stops your main character, saying that they know them, and insisting your main character is someone they are not. Describe exactly how this case of mistaken identity makes your character feel.

35. Describe a small personality trait about a person you love, and make the reader love them, too.

36. Write a personality-revealing scene with a character inside a public restroom. Do they press a thumb against the mirror to leave a subtle mark? Do they write a plea for help on the inside of the stall door? Do they brag about the size of what they’ve just dumped off?

37. Give your character an extremely unusual response to a national tragedy like a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Maybe have them be aware their response is unusual, and try to cloak it from others, or have them be completely unaware and display it without any self-consciousness.

38. Have one of your main characters come up with an idea for a comic book, and tell a close friend about the idea. What about this idea would surprise the friend, upsetting what he thought he knew about your main character? Also, what would the main character learn about himself from the comic book idea?

39. Think of an illness someone you love has suffered from. How does your character respond when someone close to them has this illness?

40. Have your main character invent an extremely offensive idea for a book, and show their personality faults through discussing it with others.

41. Have your character write down a list considering how to respond to their stalker.

42. Write a scene where a man hits on a woman, and although the woman acts repulsed and begs her friends to get him away from her, it becomes apparent that she likes the attention.

43. Write about a 20-something confronting his parents over their disapproval of his lifestyle.

44. Have your character write a funny to-do list about the steps to get a boyfriend or girlfriend.

45. Have a risk-adverse character stuck in a hostage situation with a risk-happy character.

46. For the next week, watch strangers carefully and take notes in your phone about any peculiar gestures or body language. Combine the three most interesting ones to describe a character as she goes grocery shopping.

47. Buy a package of the pills that expand into foam animals, and put a random one in a glass of warm water. Whatever it turns out to be, have that animal surprise your main character in a scene.

48. Have your character faced with a decision witness a rare, awe-inspiring event, and describe how it helps them make their decision.

49. Imagine if your character met for the first time his or her long-lost identical twin. What personality traits would they share and which ones would have changed because of their unique experiences? 

50. If a character got burned by a hot pan, what type of strange reaction would they have that would reveal what they value most?

Once you’ve taken a stab at some of these exercises, I’d recommend you use them in your actual writing.

And for instruction on that, you need a guide to writing your novel . 

That link will change your life and your novel. Click it now.

Creative Writing Exercises

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John Fox, you have some excellent resources, and I thank you. I read your comments, then scrolled down to glance at the list of 50 exercises. The FIRST one, “loud noise’ is already in my head. My Hero is going to be side swiped in my Cozy. I was side swiped on a state highway here in Virginia a couple of weeks ago and, although the damage was minor, the sound of that big SUV “glancing” off my little car was SCARY!!! I once heard a fast-moving car REAR-END is stand-still car; that sound was something I’ll never forget. So, your exercise is very timely. THANK YOU!!!

This is a great list! Thanks!

You know what would be motivating? If we could turn these in to someone and get like a grade lol

I can really see the benefit of doing these writing exercises. (Versus using prompts) The purpose is so much clearer. Some I can imagine my response fairly easily. (Though the task of not jumping on the obvious might make it harder than I imagine at this point) Some however I would struggle with ( number 42 for example), where I have zero sympathy for the main character’s plight. Hhhmmmm. But maybe they are the very ones I should be tackling – to see if I can develop them in a way that explains their behaviour and so creates sympathy. Thank you. Much food for thought.

I’ve been thinking a lot about “how to master writing,” and this is the first time that I found an article that makes it clear the difference between prompts and exercises. I fully agree with you. These are bound to make you a better writer if you focus on doing a variation of them daily.

An excellent list – thank you very much. I run a small writing group and we’ll be trying some.

Yes, thank you. I too run a small writing group and you got me out of a slump for tomorrow’s group!

yes,thank you . It’s good for improve your writing skills.

  • Pingback: Writing Exercises for Adults That Can Help You Write Better

What a lovely list! I am working on the final draft of my very first novel, and am constantly working at improving the final product. Your exercises are just what I need to kickstart my writing day. Thank you so very much.

Thank you very much When I turned50 I received my diploma from Children’s Institute in West Redding Ct I got my inspiration from being near water however now that I am in Oregon I have had a writing block thanks to your list my creative juices are flowing

I suppose I better have good punctuation, seeing this is about Writing. Thank you for this great list. I am the Chair of our small Writing group in Otorohanga and we start again last week of Feb. I have sent out a homework email, to write a A4 page of something exciting that has happened over the holiday break and they must read it out to the group with passion and excitement in their voices. That will get them out of their comfort zone!

A formidable yet inspiring list. Thank you very much for this. This is really very helpful. I am from India, and very new to writing and have started my first project, which I want to make it into a Novel. This has been very helpful and is very challenging too. Prompts look sissy when compared to this, frankly speaking. Thank you very much again.

Where can I get the answers for these?

There aren’t “answers.” You create responses to these exercises.

Thank you so much for the detailed suggestions focusing on HOW to put the WHAT into practice; really helpful & inspiring.

Just started rough drafting a story I’ve always wanted to write. Do you have any advice for someone writing their first real story? I’m having trouble starting it; I just want it to be perfect.

I consider this very helpful. Just started my journey as a creative writer, and will be coming back to this page to aid my daily writing goal.

I have always loved writing exercises and these are perfect practice for my competition. I have tried lots of different things that other websites have told me to try, but this by far is the most descriptive and helpful site that i have seen so far.

This is really a creative blog. An expert writer is an amateur who didn’t stop. I trust myself that a decent writer doesn’t actually should be advised anything but to keep at it. Keep it up!

I’ve always enjoyed writing from a little girl. Since I’ve been taking it a bit more seriously as does everybody else it seems; I’ve lost the fun and sponteneity. Until now…..this is a marvelous blog to get back the basic joy and freedom in writing. Or should that be of?:) These exercises are perfect to get the creative juices flowing again…..thank you:)

These are interesting exercises for writing.

These are fantastic! I started reading a really awesome book on creative writing but it just didn’t get any good or easy to follow exercises. So I found your site and having been having a lot of fun with these. Exactly what I was looking for, thank you!

creative and inspiring, thank you

I always wanted to have an exercise where a friend and I each wrote a random sentence and sent it to each other to write a short story from that beginning sentence, then exchange the stories for reading and/or critique. Maybe both writers start with the same sentence and see how different the stories turn out.

Thanks for these exercises. Some are really challenging. To truly tackle them I’m having to spend as long beforehand thinking “how the HECK am I going to do this?” as I do with ink on paper. Would be a great resource if other authors submitted their replies and thoughts about how they went about each exercise.

Start the conversation: submit one of yours.

I think I can use these to inspire my students.

Hi there. Thank you for posting this list- it’s great! Can I ask you to consider removing number 42 or perhaps changing it somewhat? I teach sex ed and every year am shocked by how many young people don’t understand issues around consent. Stories about woman who ‘say no but really mean yes’ are deeply unhelpful. Really appreciate your post but felt I had to ask. Thanks.

What’s wrong with the number 42?

It promulgates the belief that when a woman says no, she doesn’t mean it, potentially resulting in sexual assault.

I just make this list a part of my teaching in Creative Writing Classes. Very good list of ideas!

Thank you so much for posting this! I have used it to create a creative playwriting activity for my high school creative writing class–so much good stuff here for me to pick through and select for my kiddos that will allow them to shine and improve their knowledge of writing as a craft!

These exercises are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

writing activities assignments

Every writer NEEDS this book.

It’s a guide to writing the pivotal moments of your novel.

Whether writing your book or revising it, this will be the most helpful book you’ll ever buy.

20 Creative Writing Activities for Elementary Students

By andy minshew.

  • November 23, 2021

Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month? While your young learners are probably not ready to write an entire book, this month is a great time to practice creative writing skills with your students. Not only can creative writing be helpful for teaching vocabulary and sentence structure, but it can also encourage students to use imaginative thinkin g —and even find a genuine love of writing!

All of these 20 creative writing activities can be used with elementary school students to practice reading and writing skills. We’ve included options for both early elementary students, who may still be learning to write, and elementary students in upper grades who are ready to work on projects of their choosing.

writing activities assignments

1. Join the NaNoWriMo organization’s Young Writers Program (YWP) ! Together, your students can work on all sorts of age-appropriate writing challenges and activities throughout the year—including a project of their choice in November!

2. To practice pre-writing skills and collaborating on a project, try these shared writing project activities .

3. If you have any budding cartoonists in your class, this Finish the Comic activity from author Jarrett Lerner can be a great way for younger students to practice writing dialogue.

4. Teach your students about adjectives and writing descriptions with this Popcorn Adjectives activity .

5. Students can learn about creative writing by studying imagery and poetry by established authors. Using this writing worksheet , kids can write out their thoughts about a poem and draw images that stand out to them.

6. To teach creative thinking skills with kindergarteners and early elementary students, try this Mystery Seed writing activity .

7. Get families involved, too! Share these fun home writing activities with your student’s families to help them practice at home.

8. Print out and put together a Writing Jar with tons of creative writing prompts to inspire your students.

9. Check out this resource for even more writing prompts focused on imaginative thinking.

writing activities assignments

10. Try blackout poetry , an activity that encourages students to make their own beautiful art from a work that already exists.

11. Creative writing isn’t limited to fiction. This narrative writing activity can teach students to write events clearly and in sequence from their real life.

12. For a creative writing project that’s just plain fun, try this Roll a Story activity.

13. This nonfiction project helps children learn to write a letter as they write to a loved one of their choice.

14. If you want to give your students some freedom in choosing a writing assignment, hang up this Writing Prompt Choice Board in your classroom and let them answer whichever prompt they’d like!

15. Encourage students to keep their own journal throughout the year. You could even give them time each morning to respond to a journal prompt .

16. Use this journal page template to help students structure and compile journal entries.

17. These printable Mad Libs can teach children different parts of a sentence while they use their imaginations to create a story.

18. Use this What? So What? Now What? exercise (#6 at the link) to help students structure their creative writing projects.

19. To teach children how to create descriptive sentences, play this Show, Don’t Tell writing activity .

20. If you’d like to hold a month-long creative writing activity, try this 30-Day Writing Challenge for kids .

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Happy Juneteenth! This American holiday is celebrated annually on June 19th and marks a significant historical moment in Black American heritage. Originating as a Texas

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Writing practice worksheets terms of use, finish the story writing worksheets.

  • Beginning Finish the Story - The Snow Day
  • Beginning Finish the Story - The Fair
  • Beginning Finish the Story - Summer Camp
  • Beginning Finish the Story - The Birthday Party
  • Beginning Finish the Story - The Halloween Costume
  • Beginning Finish the Story - The 4th of July
  • Intermediate Finish the Story - The Beach Trip
  • Intermediate Finish the Story - The Great Find
  • Intermediate Finish the Story - Which Way?
  • Intermediate Finish the Story - Finding Muffin
  • Intermediate Finish the Story - The Zoo
  • Advanced Finish the Story - The Troublemaker

Question Response Writing Worksheets

  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Color
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Day
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Number
  • Beginning Question Response - In Your Family
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Sport
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Clothes
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Favorite Music
  • Beginning Question Response - How You Relax
  • Beginning Question Response - Lunch Time
  • Beginning Question Response - With Your Friends
  • Beginning Question Response - Collecting Stamps
  • Beginning Question Response - Your Birthplace
  • Beginning Question Response - Starting Your Day
  • Intermediate Question Response - Your Favorite Food
  • Intermediate Question Response - Your Favorite Movie
  • Intermediate Question Response - Your Favorite Song
  • Intermediate Question Response - TV Programs
  • Intermediate Question Response - Your Favorite Time
  • Intermediate Question Response - Which Country?
  • Intermediate Question Response - The Wisest Person
  • Intermediate Question Response - Someone You Admire
  • Advanced Question Response - A Great Accomplishment
  • Advanced Question Response - The Most Exciting Thing
  • Advanced Question Response - Oldest Memory
  • Advanced Question Response - The Most Productive Day of the Week
  • Advanced Question Response - An Interesting Person
  • Advanced Question Response - What Have You Built?
  • Advanced Question Response - What You Like to Read

Practical Writing Worksheets

  • Beginning Practical - Grocery List
  • Beginning Practical - TO Do List
  • Beginning Practical - At the Beach
  • Beginning Practical - The Newspaper
  • Intermediate Practical - Absent From Work
  • Intermediate Practical - Your Invitation
  • Intermediate Practical - Paycheck
  • Intermediate Practical - The New House
  • Advanced Practical - Soccer Game Meeting
  • Advanced Practical - Note About Dinner
  • Advanced Practical - A Problem
  • Advanced Practical - A Letter to Your Landlord
  • Advanced Practical - A Product

Argumentative Writing Worksheets

  • Intermediate Argumentative - Cat, Star, or Book?
  • Intermediate Argumentative - Soccer or Basketball?
  • Intermediate Argumentative - Giving and Receiving
  • Intermediate Argumentative - Does Practice Make Perfect?
  • Advanced Argumentative - Five Dollars or a Lottery Ticket?
  • Advanced Argumentative - The Most Important Word
  • Advanced Argumentative - An Apple
  • Advanced Argumentative - Too Many Cooks

Writing Worksheets

  • Beginning Writing Worksheet
  • Intermediate Writing Worksheet
  • Advanced Writing Worksheet

Using Precise Language

  • Using Precise Language - An Introduction
  • Using Precise Language Practice Quiz

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73 ESL Writing Activities

From a student’s point of view, writing assignments are something to dread.

But from an ESL teacher’s point of view, they should be a challenge worth accepting.

The challenge for you is to motivate your students enough to actually be excited about writing.

Sounds impossible? It’s actually quite simple.

The key is a strong pre-writing activity that boosts their confidence and adds to their vocabulary at the same time.

So, how do you get your students’ writing off to a great start?

In this post, we’ll look at some different ESL writing activities that will transform your students from hesitant writers to confident wordsmiths in their own right.

Writing Assignments Based on Stories

Writing activities prompted by music, writing practice exercises based on images or pictures, writing assignments based on food, writing activities based on mysteries, exercises to practice writing emails, activities to practice writing advertisements, assignments to practice writing reports, creative writing activity: class newsletter/newspaper.

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

People of all ages love a well-told story, and using stories to teach ESL is a sure winner.

A story for a pre-writing activity could be in the form of:

  • A  movie . It could be a biography, sci-fi film, thriller, action-packed adventure, fairy tale or even a cartoon.
  • A  story read aloud from a book. If you’re using this, read in a way that brings the characters’ voices to life (including the narrator’s), hold the book up to show any pictures within or scan them and project onto a screen as you read. You can also search YouTube videos of famous authors or celebrities reading a book aloud, and show these in class.
  • A  story from the news . It could be from the TV, radio, newspaper or an online news site .
  • A story read by your students. In this case, you could let them read a story silently or with a partner, and take as long as they like to think about the important parts.

No matter what you choose, it’ll be a great lead-in to the ESL writing exercises below.

1. Re-tell the story as is, or summarize it. (This works best for beginners, who are still getting their feet wet in the waters of English comprehension.)

2. After watching “Finding Nemo” : Tell the story from the point of view of the whale, the dentist’s daughter or Bruce the shark.

3. Explain to Marlin how he should take care of Nemo better.

4. Make up a story about a farm animal/zoo animal/jungle animal. What if a baby ___ was lost? What if a child was lost in the city? What if you found a lost child?

5. After the story of “Goldilocks” : Tell the story from the baby bear’s point of view.

6. What if the baby bear and Goldilocks became best buds? What would happen?

7. After discussing “The Gingerbread Man” : Tell the story from the fox’s or gingerbread man’s point of view.

8. What did the old woman do wrong that made the gingerbread man run away?

9. How do you make a gingerbread man? What other shapes could be made instead?

10. After “Little Red Riding Hood” : Write the story in the first person—from the point of view of either Red Riding Hood or the wolf.

11. What should Red Riding Hood have done when she met the wolf?

12. After watching a “Lord of the Rings” movie: What would you do if you had the One Ring? Write about a magical quest you and several friends would have if you could.

13. After watching a “Pirates of the Caribbean”  movie: What if you were a pirate? What adventures would you have if you were a pirate?

14. After watching “Titanic” : Write about what you discover when you dive onto the wreck. Or imagine you were on the ship when it sank, and talk about how you escaped.

15. Whose fault was it that so many people drowned on the Titanic? What should they have done?

16. After watching a “Star Wars”  movie: Imagine you’re a space explorer and write about what happens when you meet some characters from “Star Wars.”

17. After watching a “Terminator”  movie: Imagine your teacher is a robot that has come back from the future. Or imagine you have come back from the future—what would it be like?

18. After watching a “Harry Potter” movie: Make up some magic spells and explain how you’d use them.

Everybody loves music! Watch your students’ faces light up as soon as they realize that they’re about to be treated to some songs rather than chalk-and-talk. Music stirs the emotions, after all, and can get your students excited about writing.

Here are some ideas for music you can incorporate into ESL writing activities:

  • Classical music. There are some pieces of well-known classical music that specifically tell a story , and many of these are available on YouTube.
  • “Fantasia 2000,” particularly “Rhapsody in Blue.” This wonderful, wordless animated story can kick off so much great writing!
  • Movie music. The music that goes with a movie tells watchers how they should be feeling, and could be a good jumping-off point for some writing.
  • Popular songs and music. Self-explanatory. Check out the most popular or trending artists on YouTube or Spotify for ideas.
  • Kids’ songs . There’s something about singing a catchy little tune that makes the words stick in your mind more than just saying them. These can lead to some interesting writing, too.

19. After Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” : Tell the story from Peter’s point of view.

20. After Saint-Saëns’ “The Carnival of the Animals” : Imagine walking through the scenes with the animals and interacting with them. Write a story from the point of view of one of the animals.

21. Describe the animals in “The Carnival of the Animals.”

22. After Tchaikovsky’s “Romeo and Juliet” : Re-tell this classic Shakespeare story, adding a twist.

23. After watching and listening to “Rhapsody in Blue” : Tell all/part of the story.

24. If you were the main character in “Rhapsody in Blue,” what would you do?

25. Listen to a piece of classical/instrumental music and tell the story that it might be a background to. Imagine that it’s the background music for a movie.

26. Tell the story (real or made up) behind some popular songs like Taylor Swift’s “Wildest Dreams.”

27. Describe meeting someone special like in the aforementioned Taylor Swift song.

28. What happens in your wildest dreams?

29. What if you were a famous pop star or musician? What would it be like? What would you do?

30. Give instructions on how to find your favorite song on the Internet, both music and lyrics.

31. If you play an instrument, or have a relative who plays one, write about some of the basics of how to play. (This could also work as a speaking and listening activity, and then the whole class could write about it.)

32. What is your favorite genre of music, and why? (Be sure to explain what “genre” means !)

33. Do you think young children should be allowed to freely watch music videos?

Some pictures you can use for ESL writing activities include:

  • Pictures from social media. If you use social media at all, you doubtless have a barrage of amazing photos and videos on your feed, all of which make for excellent writing prompts.
  • Pictures from Google Images . A quick Google search on any (classroom-safe) image will turn up plenty.
  • Cartoons . If you have young students, they’ll definitely enjoy this one.
  • Pictures selected by your students. Not sure what to choose? Have your students pick their own pictures to write about. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how vibrant their writing can be when they’re writing about subjects they actually care about.

Regardless of the picture you (or your students) choose, here are some writing prompts you can consider.

34. Tell a story—real or imagined—of what is happening in the picture.

35. Write about what happens next from the pictured moment.

36. Write about what was happening just before the pictured incident.

37. What if that was you in the picture?

38. What if you were the person who took the picture?

39. What if you knew the people in the picture? What would you say to them?

40. Describe all of the elements in the picture. This is great for vocabulary practice.

41. Describe how someone in the picture might be feeling.

42. Explain how to get into  a pictured predicament (for example, in the picture here , how did he get into the boat without the crocodile eating him?) as well as how to get out of it.

43. Express an opinion about the rights and wrongs of the pictured situation. For example, for the same picture above: Should crocodiles be hunted and killed? What should happen if a crocodile kills someone?

Many of your students likely enjoy thinking and talking about food. So why wouldn’t they be motivated to write about it?

How you integrate food into your ESL writing assignments depends on your classroom arrangements and the amount of time you’re willing to put into preparation.

In any case, here are some ideas:

  • Start with the preparation and sharing of food before writing about it.
  • Look at pictures of food, and talk about them before moving on to writing.
  • Have students research food-related topics on the internet.
  • Start with a story about food.

Here are the specific food writing prompts:

44. After the story of “The Gingerbread Man”: Think about food that develops a life of its own, and what would happen with it. (This can also open up a discussion about cultural foods.) For example, make up a similar story about another piece of food (e.g., spaghetti or rice that comes alive). What if you felt something moving in your mouth after you bit into your burger?

45. Write a story (real or imagined) about being very hungry and/or finding/buying/stealing food to meet a desperate need.

46. Write a story about trying a new, unfamiliar kind of food—maybe in a (relevant) cross-cultural setting.

47. Write a story about finding and eating a food that has magical properties. (Maybe read or watch some or all of “Alice in Wonderland”  first.)

48. Describe interesting/disgusting/unusual/delicious/colorful foods, especially after a class tasting lesson. (Prepare students first with suitable taste vocabulary .)

49. Describe a food that’s unfamiliar to most students in the class. (This is particularly helpful for classes where there are students belonging to minority groups who hesitate to speak up.)

50. Describe an imaginary magical food.

51. Give instructions for preparing a particular recipe.

52. After a class activity or demonstration involving food: Write down what you have learned.

53. Give instructions for producing food—growing vegetables, keeping animals, etc.

54. Give instructions for buying the best food—what to look for, looking at labels, checking prices and the like.

55. Write about your opinion on food and health in First World and Third World countries. (Explain what makes a country “First,” “Second” or “Third World” first.)

56. Write about your opinion on the cost of food.

57. Write about your opinion on GMOs or genetically engineered foods .

There’s nothing quite like a good “whodunnit,” and students will always enjoy a good puzzle. You can base various pre-writing activities around the two games below to get the class warmed up for ESL writing practice.

  • Conundrum. This is an example of a game that can be played as a speaking and listening activity, and can lead into some good writing. The game starts with a simple statement or description of a situation like the ones described in situation puzzles . Students ask questions and receive yes/no answers until they work out the explanation for the situation.

After Conundrum, here are some of the activities your students can do:

58. Write a story about the sequence of events involved in a situation brought up in the game.

59. Devise and describe your own situation puzzle.

  • Putting their hands inside a cloth bag (or just feeling the outside) to guess what an object is.
  • Smelling substances in opaque jars with perforated lids, and trying to guess what they are.
  • Tasting mystery foods on plastic spoons (with blindfolds).
  • Looking at pictures of mysterious objects from obscure angles.
  • Listening to and guessing the origins of sound effects. (You can record your own, or use some from the Internet .)

(Important: Make sure that whatever you’re using for your guessing game is safe for your students, especially if they involve having to touch, taste or smell the object.)

After a guessing game, your students can:

60. Write about a possible mystery object and a magical quality it could possess.

61. Describe what you thought you saw, heard, felt, tasted or smelled.

For both games, here are some writing prompts you can do:

62. Give instructions for playing one of the games.

63. Give instructions for the perfect crime.

64. Give your opinion about a recent crime and the punishment for it.

Emailing can often be a scary task for your students, especially if they’re using a new, strange language like English. You can utilize an email writing activity to help your students build confidence and get more comfortable writing in English.

Email can also teach your students things like proper language (formal or informal), structure and format. Email-related writing activities for ESL students can offer ample opportunities to teach all of these three aspects.

Since emails involve two parties (the sender and the receiver), you’ll need to pair your students up for this activity. Here’s how to prepare for it:

  • Create one set of worksheets explaining details relevant to the sender. For example, it could contain information about a sender’s upcoming birthday party that they want to invite the receiver to.
  • Create another set of worksheets with the receiver’s details. The worksheets could contain questions about food dishes or gifts, or it could say that the receiver can’t make it for one reason or other.

Once the above has been done, give one set of worksheets to the “senders” and the other to the “receivers.” Then, here’s what your students will do:

65. Based on the senders’ worksheets, write an email inviting the receiver and explaining the key aspects of the event featured in the worksheet.

66. Based on the receivers’ worksheets, write an email explaining why you can or cannot make it to the party, and/or what other information you need about the event.

Advertisements are everywhere, and you can bet that your students have a few favorite ads of their own. Advertisement-related writing activities work across age groups and can be adapted to most students and their needs.

This great ESL writing assignment can help your students put the adjectives they’ve learned into good use, as well as showcase their creative writing and persuasion skills.

You can find advertisements everywhere, including:

  • YouTube videos
  • Newspapers and magazines

You can also bring an object (or handful of objects) to class that your students can write ads about.

67. After your students carefully examine the object(s) you brought into class: Write all the adjectives you can think of about it.

68. For a more challenging writing exercise: Write an ad about the object. How would you persuade someone who knows nothing about the object whatsoever to buy it? (Your students may or may not use the adjectives they wrote down earlier. Encourage them to be creative!)

Your students have likely already done some kind of report during the course of their studies. Also, writing reports is a skill that’ll be useful to them once they enter college or the corporate world (if they aren’t in it already). If you feel that they need a little more practice in this area, use this ESL writing assignment.

First, discuss how research and structure matter to reports—and perhaps show them a few samples. Then, give them a few questions to base their reports on, like:

69. What can you say about (insert topic here) in terms of (insert specific angle here)? (For example, “What can you say about the government’s efforts to improve the local park in terms of its impact on the general public?” Of course, you should adapt this question to the level of your students.)

70. After talking about a YouTube video on bears eating salmon : What would happen to the bears if the salmon ran out? 

This ESL writing activity is a bit more intensive and will allow your students to employ many different aspects of their ESL knowledge. Crafting a class newsletter will build collaboration, communication, listening, speaking and, of course, writing skills. If they’re not sure how to build a newsletter or newspaper from scratch, they can always swipe from premade templates like this one .

The newsletter/newspaper can follow a specific theme, or the articles can consist of a hodgepodge of random topics based on questions like:

71. What is the most interesting thing that happened in school this year? It can be the funniest/scariest/most heartwarming incident. Write a feature article about it. (Make sure to explain what a “feature article” is .)

72. Write a report highlighting the key events in some recent local festivals or concerts.

73. Going off of the last exercise, write an ad inviting the reader to buy a product or attend an event.

Once all of the articles are done, you can start putting them together. Make sure to walk your students through these newspaper layout tips . And when the newsletter/newspaper is finally published and circulated out there for the world to see, remember to congratulate your students for a job well done!

No matter what writing assignments you choose, make sure to keep the excitement level high so that your students are enthusiastic for your next writing session.

Whether they write by hand or type on a computer, remember to encourage them as much as you can by focusing on the good points rather than just running all over their mistakes with a red pen.

Lastly, find ways for them to share their efforts—whether online, on the classroom wall, bound together in a book to be passed around, etc.

They can also read aloud to each other, share with their parents and siblings and even share with other classes!

For more ESL assignment ideas, check out this post: 

Great ESL homework ideas can be difficult to come up with. So check out these 13 great ideas for ESL homework assignments that your students will love. Not only are they…

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  • Writing Activities

18+ Creative Writing Activities To Make Writing Fun

Make writing less boring with these 12 fun creative writing activities for kids. 

When most children think of writing, they think of lined paper with thousands of words written on it, line by line with the occasional spacing for paragraphs. But writing doesn’t need to be that boring and gloomy. Today we bring you12 creative writing activities to make writing fun and colourful!

How to Make Writing Fun

It is important to show your kids that there’s more to writing than just homework and long essays. Writing can be fun and it doesn’t always involve writing thousands of words in a formal structure. It’s time to stop worrying about sentence structure, grammar and spelling mistakes. Instead, encourage your kids to explore their creativity and write down their thoughts as they come in any format they like. Here are 12 fun creative writing activities that will boost your child’s creativity, imagination and encourage them to write for fun.

18+ Fun Creative Writing Activities

Use story maps.

Story maps are a great way to unleash your child’s imagination. You can either create your own or print out one of these free story map templates . To create your own story map, you’ll first need a location. This could be anywhere, a planet , an island , the woods or even your hometown. Don’t worry, you don’t actually need to leave your home to enjoy this activity. 

Next draw out a simple map of the location. The map must have a starting point and an endpoint. Here is an example of our treasure island story map:

Island Story Map Example

You can see that we marked the starting point with a star. And the end point with a red cross. Once this is done, you need to put loads of obstacles, challenges and interesting things on the map for your child to explore and engage with in their imagination. This could be a giant octopus monster, a lava lake, a cunning princess or even some secret symbols or lettering. 

Once you have completed creating your action-packed story map (or printed out one of our free templates) – It’s time for the real adventure to begin. Give the map to your child and together you can pretend that you have landed in a whole new location. 

Start from your bedroom (or your imaginary pirate ship) and make your way through the obstacles to find the secret treasure located in a mysterious cave (or the shed in your backyard). As you go through the map, think about the characters you might encounter, items you might find and even challenges you could face.

After your little adventure, your child will be inspired and ready to write about the adventure they just experienced! Go ahead and check out these free story map templates to get you started:

  • Forest Story Map
  • Island Story map

Create Some Paper Finger Puppets

Puppets and toys are a great way to stimulate imaginative play. In particular, creating your own paper finger puppets is a brilliant creative activity to boost your child’s imagination and make story-telling more fun. When creating your own finger puppets, your child can create any character they like. If they love football , try creating some famous football players, and if they love Harry Potter , get them to create some wizard themed characters. Whatever your child’s interest, combine it with story-telling, and make storytime extra fun.

make paper finger puppets tutorial

To get you started, you can download our free paper finger puppet templates by signing up to Imagine Forest:

free printable paper finger puppets template

Create your own paper characters, props and background. Then let the role-playing begin!

Would You Rather Game

Kids love playing games. The Would You Rather game is a great way to boost logical thinking and communication skills. Print out our free Would You Rather game cards pack, to get a mix of funny, gross and Disney themed questions. Then get at least three players in a team to begin the game. The purpose of the game is to convince the whole team that your answer to the question is the best one and to get other players to agree with you. This game is guaranteed to get your kids laughing and thinking logically about the answers they pick. 


Telephone Pictionary Game

Another brilliant creative writing activity is the Telephone Pictionary Game . The basic idea behind this game is to write a story collaboratively with your team using drawings and phrases. Together as team members take turns to write/draw something down. They’ll be improving skills such as creativity, teamwork and communication skills. And when the game is over, they’ll have a really funny story to read!

Telephone Pictionary

Create Some Shape Poetry

Poetry is a quick and short writing activity to get kids engaged in creative writing. But writing a typical haiku or limerick can get boring over time. To add a little more excitement gets your kids to write poems in the shape of something. For example, your child could write a poem about cats , in the shape of a cat:

Cat Shape Poem Example

Not only are these poems great to read, but they also make wonderful pieces of artwork. For more inspirations, check out our Alice in Wonderland inspired shape poetry .

Finish The Story Game

The finish the story game is the simplest creative writing activity in our list. In a team of at least 2 players, each player takes turns completing a story. Start off with a random story starter and then each player takes turns to continue this story. Which way will the story go? No-one knows. And that’s the real beauty of this game. Let your child explore their imagination and come up with wild ideas to keep the story interesting. And by the end of the game, you’ll have a really unique and funny story to read. 

Use Image Prompts

Image prompts are a great source of inspiration. And can be used in a number of ways to encourage your child to write. For instance, you can ask your child to write a quick snappy slogan for a random image or photograph. Alternatively, you could play a whole game centred around a single image, such as the Round Robin Tournament game explained in our post on storytelling games using image prompts .

Story Cubes To Inspire

Inspiration is key in making writing fun for kids. That’s where story cubes come in handy. You either buy ready-made story cubes or make your own story cubes at home. If you’re interested in making your own story cubes, check out these 9 free story cube templates for ideas. Once you have a bunch of story cubes, you can simply roll them like dice and then challenge your kids to write a story based on the images they get. For game ideas using story cubes, check out this post on how to use story cubes . 

story cube images story

Create A Comic Strip

If your kids hate writing but love drawing, then comic strips are a great creative activity to sneak in some minor writing with huge levels of imagination. Pick a topic, any topic you like. This could be related to your child’s interest and then ask them to create a short comic strip about that topic. For example, if you child loves dinosaurs, ask them to create their own comic strip about dinosaurs. For more inspiration and ideas, check out this post on how to create your own comic strip and comic books at home. 

Comic Strip Example

Make Your Own Pop-up Book

Another fun way to get your kids to write more is by creating your own pop-book books. Pop-up books seem really complicated to create, but in reality, they are really easy to make at home. All you need is some paper, scissors and glue. Check out this super easy tutorial on how to create your own pop-book at home for quick step-by-step instructions. Similar to comic strips, pop-up books are a great way of combining drawing with writing to get your kids writing more in a quick and fun way. 

easy pop-up book tutorial for kids

Create Mini Booklets

Turn your child’s story into a real book! You can buy blank books from Amazon or create your own mini paper book, using this easy mini notebook tutorial . With this tutorial you can create a fully customisable book, with your own cover, back page and you can even draw your own illustrations inside! This is a really fun and cute way to gets your kids writing in their spare time.

How to Make a Mini Paper Notebook Tutorial

Write A Letter With a Fun Twist

Forgot ordinary boring letters! Check out our Paper craft animal envelopes to encourage your kids to write letters to their friends, family, heroes, aliens, anyone they like! Inside the child can write any message they like, such as “how were your holidays…” or “We’re having a party this weekend…” And on the outside they can create any animal or creature they like as envelopes. 

DIY Animal Envelopes tutorial

Describe a Monster

Ask your child to draw their own monster or character and describe it. – What are its strengths, and weaknesses, where does it live, what does it like doing and so on? This creative writing activity is quick, simple and full of imagination! And you could even take this a step further by creating your own monster flip books !

How to create a Monster Flip Book

Use Story Starters

Use story starters to inspire reluctant writers. These can be simple sentences, such as “It was Timmy’s first day at school and he was excited…” and your child can continue writing the rest of the story. Or you could use photos and your child’s drawings to inspire story-writing by asking the child to describe what’s happening in this image. Take a look at this post on 60+ first-line prompts to inspire you or you could view our mega list of over 300 writing prompts for kids .

Create Your Own Greeting Cards

Get your child to create their own Christmas cards , greeting cards or get well cards to send to someone they know. They can write their own personal message inside and draw a picture on the outside. Quick activities like this are a great way to sneak in some writing with some arts and crafts. 


Create Your Own Newspaper

Ask your child to write their own newspaper article or create their own newspaper about the daily events that happen at home or at school. Remember the use of the 5 W’s and 1 H when writing newspaper articles. Our newspaper challenge online activity is great for creating fun newspaper articles.

imagine forest newspaper writing activity

Make A Shopping List

Get the kids involved in the weekly grocery shopping! Ask them to write the shopping list with drawings. If the grocery shopping list is too boring, then get them to create a wish list of items they dream of owning or even a list of goals they want to accomplish. You can buy some really pretty shopping list pads from Amazon , which could be a great way to encourage your kids to get writing!

Re-tell some fairytales

Fairytales have been around for centuries and by now they need a modern twist. Challenge your child to update an old classic. And you could even use this free ‘Retell a fairy tale pack ’ to help you. Re-telling a fairytale is a lot easier than creating a whole new one – Simply ask your child to change one or two key elements in the story and see how it changes the entire fairytale. For example, what if Cinderella was the villain? Alternatively, you could go wacky and add a whole new character to a classic fairytale, such as Spiderman making an appearance in Jack and the Beanstalk. The possibilities really are endless!

Write Your Own Movie Script

Ask your child to write their own short movie script, they can create a cast list and give all the different characters different things to say. You can find a free script and cast list template here ! Think about the conversation between the characters, what problems would they encounter, who is the villain in this story? We also think these free finger puppets printable could be great for story-telling.

writing activities assignments

Hand-written Blogs

Ask your child to keep a simple hand-written blog about their hobbies and interests. This can be done in a journal or notebook. Ask them the following questions: What do they like doing in their spare time and why do they enjoy this. Maybe ask them to provide instructions on how someone else can also be good at this hobby. They can update their hand-written blog everyday with new tips and interesting pieces of information on their hobby.

Wanted Posters

Create a ‘Wanted’ poster for famous villains in storybooks, such as Miss Trunchbull from Matilda or Cinderella’s Stepmother. You can find a free blank template here . Alternatively try out the Most Wanted online activity on Imagine Forest, to create your own wanted posters online:

most wanted online writing game


Writing a whole story down can be cumbersome. That’s why storyboarding can make a really good creative writing activity. Instead of asking a child to write a whole story down, get them to think about the key events in the story and plan it out using a storyboard template . Planning their story out beforehand could even encourage your child to write a complete story down afterwards. The first step is always planning out what you are going to write, and this could give your child the confidence to keep going. 

Storyboard Template Completed

Know anymore fun writing activities for kids? Tell us your ideas below.

Top 10 Writing Activities to Make Writing Fun!

Marty the wizard is the master of Imagine Forest. When he's not reading a ton of books or writing some of his own tales, he loves to be surrounded by the magical creatures that live in Imagine Forest. While living in his tree house he has devoted his time to helping children around the world with their writing skills and creativity.

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writing activities assignments

55 Creative Writing Activities and Exercises

Creating writing activities

Have you ever heard these questions or statements from your students?

  • I don’t know where to begin.
  • How can I make my story interesting?
  • I’m just not creative.
  • What should my story be about?

If so, you won’t want to miss these creative writing activities. 

What Are Creative Writing Activities?

Activities that teach creative writing serve as drills to exercise your student’s writing muscle. When used effectively, they help reluctant writers get past that intimidating blank paper and encourage the words to flow. 

When I think of creative writing exercises , writing prompts immediately come to mind. And, yes, writing from a prompt is certainly an example of a creative writing activity (a highly effective one). 

However, writing prompts are only one way to teach creative writing. Other types of activities include games, collaboration with others, sensory activities, and comic strip creation to name a few.

Unlike writing assignments, creative writing activities aren’t necessarily meant to create a perfectly polished finished project. 

Instead, they serve as more of a warmup and imagination boost.

Picture-based writing exercises are especially fun. You can download one for free below!

Creative Writing Exercises

get this picture prompt printable for free!

How to use creative writing exercises effectively.

When teaching creative writing , the most effective exercises inspire and engage the student. 

Remember that worn-out prompt your teacher probably hauled out every year? 

“What I Did This Summer…” 

Cue the groaning. 

Instead of presenting your student with lackluster topics like that one, let’s talk about ways to engage and excite them. 

For Kids or Beginners

Early writers tend to possess misconceptions about writing. Many picture sitting down for hours straight, polishing a story from beginning to end. 

Even for experienced writers, this is next-to-impossible to do. It’s preconceived ideas like these that overwhelm and discourage students before they’ve even started. 

Instead of assigning an essay to complete, start with simple, short writing exercises for elementary students such as:

  • Creating comic strips using a template
  • Talking out loud about a recent dream
  • Writing a poem using rhyming words you provide
  • Creating an acrostic from a special word

Creative writing exercises don’t have to end in a finished piece of work. If the exercise encouraged creative thinking and helped the student put pen to paper, it’s done its job. 

For Middle School

Creative writing activities for middle school can be a little more inventive. They now have the fundamental reading and writing skills to wield their words properly. 

Here are some ideas for middle school writing exercises you can try at home:

  • Creating Mad Lib-style stories by changing out nouns, verbs, and adjectives in their favorite tales
  • Storyboarding a short film
  • Writing a family newsletter
  • Creating crossword puzzles

For High School 

Your high school student may be starting to prepare for college essays and other important creative writing assignments. 

It’s more critical than ever for her to exercise her writing skills on a regular basis. 

One great way to keep your high schooler’s mind thinking creatively is to have her make “listicles” of tips or facts about something she’s interested in already. 

Another fun and effective creative writing exercise for high school is to have your student retell classic stories with a twist. 

List of 55 Creative Writing Activities for Students of All Ages

No matter what age range your students may be, I think you’ll find something that suits their personality and interests in this list of creative writing ideas. Enjoy! 

  • Using only the sense of hearing, describe your surroundings. 
  • Write a paragraph from your shoes’ point of view. How do they view the world? What does a “day in the life of a shoe” look like?
  • Imagine what the world will be like in 200 years. Describe it. 
  • Write a letter to someone you know who moved away. What has he or she missed? Should he or she move back? Why? 
  • Make up an imaginary friend. What does he or she look like? What does he or she like to do?
  • Create a story about a person you know. Use as many details as possible.
  • Write a poem that describes a place you have been.
  • Soak up the season you’re in with seasonal creative writing prompts. Here are some ideas for fall and winter .
  • Write a song where each line starts with the next letter in the alphabet. 
  • Create a list of words related to something you love.
  • Write a short story based on a true event in your life.
  • Rewrite a chapter of your favorite book from the antagonist’s point of view. 
  • Write a letter to your future self. What do you want to make sure you remember?
  • Go on a five-senses scavenger hunt. Find three items for each sense. Create a story using the items you found. 
  • Create a story around an interesting picture ( try these fun picture writing prompts! )
  • Find an ad in a magazine or elsewhere and rewrite the description to convince people NOT to buy the advertised item.
  • Write a story using the last word of each sentence as the first word of the next.
  • Describe everything you’re sensing right now, using all five senses.
  • Write a list of animals A to Z with a one-sentence description of each one. Feel free to include imaginary animals.
  • Design your dream room in detail.
  • Write a script of yourself interviewing a famous person. Include his or her answers.
  • Describe what high school would be like if you lived on the moon. What would you be learning about? How would you be learning it?
  • Describe a day in the life of a famous person in history. Include both mundane and exciting details of things they may have experienced on a normal day.
  • Pick up something on a bookshelf or end table nearby. Now write a commercial script for it to convince your audience that they absolutely must own this thing.
  • Plan a birthday party for your best friend. Describe the decorations, food, and everything else.
  • Write a very short story about three siblings fighting over a toy. Now rewrite it twice, each time from a different character’s perspective.
  • Tell a story from the point of view of a pigeon on a city street.
  • Create a menu for a deli you’ll be opening soon. Name each sandwich after something or someone in real life and list the fillings and type of bread.
  • Pretend you just became famous for something. Write 3 exciting newspaper headlines about the topic or reason behind your newfound fame.
  • Keep a one-line-a-day journal. Every day, write down one thought or sentence about something that happened that day or how you felt about the day.
  • Have you ever had a nightmare? Write what happened but with a new ending where everything turns out okay (perhaps the monster was your dad in a costume, preparing to surprise you at your birthday party).
  • Write a “tweet” about something that happened to you recently, using only 140 characters. 
  • Take an important event in your life or the life of someone in your family. Write one sentence answering each of the 6 journalistic questions: Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.
  • Set a timer for 5 minutes and write nonstop, starting with the words “I remember.” If you get stuck, write “I remember” again until you get unstuck.
  • Pick something you use often (a toothbrush, your desk, etc). Then tell the story of how it was invented. If you don’t know, make something up.
  • Choose a princess or hero and write a one-paragraph story about him or her traveling to a distant land.
  • Pretend you are a tour guide for a local attraction. It can be a library, a park, or a museum, but it could also be a place that wouldn’t normally hold tours (such as an arcade). Write a speech about what you tell your tour group as you walk around the attraction.
  • Create a marketing brochure for your favorite activity or fun place to go.
  • Make a list of 10 future story settings. Write one sentence describing each. For example, “ in the dark, musty cellar of my grandmother’s house, surrounded by dried-up jars of canned peaches… ”
  • Make a list of foods included in a dinner party catered by the world’s worst cook, describing how each course looks, smells, and tastes. Include your reactions while eating it.
  • Write out your own version of instructions for playing your favorite game.
  • Pretend you’ve lost your sight for one night. Describe going out to eat at a restaurant, using smells, textures, and sounds to tell your story.
  • Write a script for an interesting phone conversation in which the reader can only hear one side. 
  • Tell the story of an object someone threw away from the perspective of the person who tossed it out. Then tell the story of that same object from the perspective of a person who finds it and deems it a treasure.
  • List your 3 least favorite chores. Pick one and write a one paragraph detailing why you can’t possibly complete that chore ever again.
  • Write an excerpt from your dog’s diary (pretend he keeps one).
  • Write the script for a movie trailer—real or imagined.
  • Create an acrostic for a holiday of your choice. 
  • Pretend you’re the master of a role-playing game, describing a sticky situation in which the other players now find themselves. Describe the scenario in writing.
  • Compose a funny or dramatic caption for a photo.
  • Parents, place a textured object in a box without letting your student see it. Have him or her reach in, touch the object, and then describe how it feels.
  • Write lyrics for a parody of a song.
  • Make a list of 10-20 songs that would be played if a movie was made about your life.
  • Describe the sounds, smells, sights, and textures you’d experience if you went to the beach for the day.
  • Write an election speech with ludicrous and impossible campaign promises.

One of the best ways to encourage students to write regularly is by providing fun creative writing activities . 

They serve to encourage both the habit and mindset of writing with imagination. If you need extra help with that, check out Creative Freewriting Adventure :

Creative Freewriting Adventure

bring excitement into your student’s writing – no prep required!

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ESL Activities

ESL Games, Activities, Lesson Plans, Jobs & More

ESL Writing Activities, Games, Worksheets & Lesson Plans

If you’re teaching writing and are looking for some of the best ESL writing activities, along with worksheets, lesson plans and more then you’re in the right place. Keep on reading for everything you need to know about teaching English writing.

ESL writing exercises and games

Let’s check out the top ESOL writing exercises and activities to consider trying out with your students.

ESL Writing Activities and Games for All Ages

Are you ready to get into the ESL writing exercises? Then let’s get to the best English writing ideas. Also, check out some great writing prompts ideas to use in your writing lesson.

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#1: 3 Things ESL Writing Activity

I’m ALL about simple and easy for writing activities in emergency situations when you don’t have a lot of time to prep. 3 Things is ideal because it requires nothing except a pen and paper and also requires no prep time.

The way it works is that students think of 3 random things. Then, they give those words to a partner who has to write a short story using them. It can be serious or silly and kind of depends on the words chosen.

Do you want to give it a try with your students? Check out all the details here: 3 Things English Writing Activity .

#2: Journaling for English Learners

When I teach ESL writing classes, I always have students keep a journal. It can either be with pen and paper or online. It’s a fun way for students to work on writing fluency and have some freedom to write about topics they want to write about, not just the ones that I assign.

If you want to see how I set up this ESL writing exercise, check out the following: Journaling for ESL Students . It makes a nice free write activity.

#3: Postcards ESOL Writing Exercise

If you’re looking for a simple, fun ESL writing activity, then you may want to consider having your students write some postcards. Ideally, you could get your hands of a stack of blank, unused postcards. But, if not, students can design their own and then trade with someone else who can fill in the back.

Learn more about this fun writing activity here: ESL Postcard Writing Activity .

#4: A to Z Alphabet Game

Remember that writing is more than a 5-paragraph essay. It’s any time a student is writing something, even one word. With that in mind, you may want to try out this ESL writing game for beginners.

The way it works is that you name a topic. Jobs or animals for example. Then, students have to think of one word for each letter. I give my students a certain amount of time and the team with the most words is the winner.

Do you want to give this writing activity for beginners a try? Check it out here: A-Z ESL Writing Activity .

#5: Conjunctions and Transitions

Words like but, so, and, however, etc. are key in English writing because they join ideas, sentences and paragraphs together. This makes writing easier to understand and helps it to flow better. Even beginners can learn about using things like and or but.

Here are some of the ideas for teaching these words: ESL Conjunction and Transition Activities .

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  • Bolen, Jackie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 85 Pages - 02/02/2020 (Publication Date)

#6: Whiteboard Games for ESL Writing Practice 

I don’t know why, but students really love to write on the whiteboard. There are a ton of relay type ESL writing activities that you can do. Here are some of the best ones:

ESL Whiteboard Activities .

#7: Dictogloss ESOL Writing Exercise

If you want to challenge your students with some serious listening and writing, then consider this dictogloss ESL activity. The way it works is that you find a passage or write one at an appropriate level for your students.

Then, put the student into pairs and read out the passage at a slightly faster pace than normal. Students have to take notes and then attempt to recreate what they heard by writing. Read the passage again and students add to what they have. Finally, they can compare their version with the original one.

Do you want to give it a try? Read this first: Dictogloss ESL Writing and Listening Activity .

#8: How to Teach English Writing to Beginners

Back when I did the CELTA course, my tutor told me that writing doesn’t have to be a 5 paragraph essay. It can actually be any time the students are writing something in English. With this in mind, here are some of the best activities for absolute beginners to English writing:

Teaching ESL Writing to Beginners .

#9: Fill out an Application Form

One very practical writing activity that we can do with our students is getting them to fill out an application form. If they plan on living in an English speaking country, they’ll certainly have to do this. And, there’s often some very specific vocabulary and expected answers that you can help them with.

More details here: ESL Writing Application Form .

#10: Sentence Structure Activities

Try out these activities to give students some ESL writing practice opportunities.

In speaking, our students can sometimes get away without having great sentence structure. This is because people often speak in sentence fragments and rarely in full sentences.

However, in writing, sentence structure is key and vital to helping our students get their ideas across on paper. Here are some of the best activities to help our students practice this:

ESL Sentence Structure Games and Activities .

ESL writing games and activities

#11: Is that Sentence Correct?

A simple reading and writing activity is this one that focuses on error correction. The way it works is that you make some sentences, some of which have errors and some that do not. Students have to decide which ones are incorrect and them correct them. It’s ideal for review at the end of class or the beginning of the next one.

Learn more about this writing activity here: ESL Error Correction Activity .

#12: Proof-Reading and Editing

A key part of writing well is proof-reading and editing. Everyone does it, even professional writers! Instead of the students relying on me to correct their errors for them, I like to teach them do to edit their own work. It’s a key skill in the writing process but often overlooked by many English teachers.

Check out this activity for helping students with this writing skill: ESL Proofreading and Editing .

  • 146 Pages - 06/18/2020 (Publication Date)

Spending some time working on self-editing skills, instead of relying on the teacher-editing model is a nice way to improve student autonomy in English writing classes.

#13: Focus on Fluency Activity

ESL Warm-Up Activity: Free writing time | IESL Warm-Up Activities and Games

Many ESL writing textbooks (and teachers too) focus on accuracy in English writing at the expense of fluency. However, both are needed if students are to become proficient in English essay writing. After all, no employer is going to appreciate an employee who can write a simple, but perfect email in half a day! Most would expect it to happen in a few minutes. But, this nice free write activity helps students with writing more quickly.

Check out this ESOL writing exercise to help our students out with this: Fluency ESL Writing Activity .

#14: How to Teach ESL Writing on the Let’s Talk TEFL Podcast

#15: word association.

I like to use this quick writing activity if I know that students have studied the topic of the day before. For example, jobs and weather are very common in almost all ESL textbooks and if students are at a high-beginner or intermediate level, I guarantee that they already know some of these vocabulary items.

You can find out how to do it right here: ESL Word Association Activity .

#16 : ESL Surveys

I love to use surveys in my classes. They are a super versatile activity that covers all 4 skills, including writing. It’s also easy to make a survey for just about any topic or grammar point. See why I love them so much?

If you want to know more, then you’ll want to check this out: TEFL Surveys.

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#17: Opinion Activities and Games

Opinion essays are a classic writing activity for both English learners and students in high school or university. That’s why I like to give my students some chances to practice writing and supporting their opinions in my classes. Do you want to try out some of the best ones? You can find out all the details right here:

ESL Opinion Activities .

#18: Parts of Speech Activities for ESL

English writing is ALL about parts of speech. After all, if you don’t know where the verb, subject, object, adjectives and adverbs go, how can you have any chance of making a coherent English sentence? It’s nearly impossible!

That’s why I like to do some worksheets and practice with my students related to this. If you want to try it out too, here are some of the best ideas:

ESL Parts of Speech Activities .

Top 17 ESL writing games and activities

#19: Spelling Challenge Game

Spelling is an important, but often neglected part of writing. In my opinion, it’s worth spending some classroom time on and one way to do that is with this word challenge game. Because it’s done on the whiteboard, it’s ideal for smaller classes.

Want to find out what it’s all about? You can right here: ESL Spelling Challenge Activity.

#20: Dictation 

A nice TEFL writing activity that you might want to try out is dictation. It covers not only writing, but also listening, spelling, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary in a big way. Is it obvious why I like it so much?

Try it out with your students today. Learn more here: ESL Dictation Writing Activity .

#21: Write an Interesting Story in English

It can be fun to get students to write their own stories in English. Check out these 6 simple steps to get started:

Writing and Interesting English Story .

#22: TEFL Writing Activities and Games

#23: brainstorm games and activities.

One of my favourite, simple ESL writing activities is to get students to brainstorm words or things related to a certain topic or category. It’s a nice way to get some creative juices flowing and can also be used for a quick warmer or review activity.

There are a number of engaging, student-centred activities to consider. Here are some of my favourites: Brain Storming Games.

#24: Freeze Writing Activity

Group writing activities for TEFL classes are few and far between. However, freeze is one of the best ones to consider. Students have to work collaboratively to make stories, line by line is a fun and engaging way.

Want to give it a try? Find out how: Freeze Activity .

#25: Five-Paragraph Essay Writing

For higher-level students, it can be a worthwhile activity to teach students how to write academic essays. Here’s an outline and some tips for how to do that:

Five-Paragraph Essay Template . 

#26: More Ideas for TEFL Writing

#27: fill in the blank sentences games.

A nice option for beginners in English writing is to use fill in the blanks. This adds a bit of structure to it and makes it much easier for students! Have a look at some of my favourite options:

Fill In The Blank Sentences Games .

#28: Round Robin Story

Try out this simple story writing activity that can be used for speaking & listening, or writing. Learn more:

Round Robin Story .

#29: Five Senses

Try out this simple activity that involves a lot of adjectives. It can be done with speaking or writing.

#30: Story Starters ESOL Writing Exercise

Provide students with a sentence or a short paragraph to serve as a story starter. Students then continue the story, adding their own ideas and developing the plot. This game encourages creativity, storytelling, and writing fluency. Try out one of my favourite ESOL writing exercises!

#31: Picture Prompts

Show students a captivating image or provide them with a set of pictures. Ask them to choose one or a combination of pictures and write a story, description, or dialogue based on the visuals. Pictures can stimulate imagination and inspire students to write.

#32: Sentence Relay

Divide the class into teams. Give each team a writing prompt or topic. The first student from each team writes a sentence based on the prompt, then passes the paper to the next student, who adds another sentence. The relay continues, and students build a coherent piece of writing. The team with the most creative and well-structured writing wins.

#33: ESL Writing Olympics

Create a series of writing challenges that test different writing skills, such as grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, or creative writing. Set a time limit for each challenge, and award points to students based on their performance. Students can compete individually or in teams, making it a lively and competitive writing activity.

ESL Writing FAQs

There are a number of common questions that people have about teaching English writing. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.

What is ESL Writing?

ESL technically refers to English as a Second Language but the more common usage is anyone who is a non-native speaker of English, whether or not it’s their second, third or fourth language. ESL writing focus specifically on writing skills.

How can ESL Students Improve Writing?

There are a number of ways that ESL students can improve their writing skills:

  • Practice, both in class and outside of class is key.
  • Give students a reason to write.
  • Use peer correction.
  • Offer self-editing checklists.
  • Give students some freedom to choose what to write about.
  • Use a variety of writing activities and games.
  • Give students a chance to revise their work based on feedback.
  • Strive to make English writing fun and engaging
  • Make it relevant to real-life.
  • Ensure that your ESL writing classes target the level of the students.

How Can ESL Beginners Learn to Write?

Remember that ESL beginners will not be able to write a 5-paragraph academic essay. Instead, you may want to focus on things like filling in the blanks on a worksheet or writing very simple sentences with a subject, verb, and object.

Why is Writing Difficult for ESL Students?

Writing can be a little bit difficult for ESL students because it not only involves vocabulary and grammar, but things like punctuation, capital letters as well as style and other writing conventions. What does make it easier is that it doesn’t happen in real time like with speaking.

What types of writing assignments are suitable for English learners?

Start with simple assignments like journal writing, personal narratives, and gradually progress to more complex assignments such as essays and reports.

How can I make writing more engaging for English learners?

Make it engaging by using interesting prompts, creative assignments, and real-life scenarios that connect to their experiences and interests.

Should I focus on grammar and vocabulary in writing instruction?

Yes, grammar and vocabulary are essential components of writing. Students should learn to use them correctly to convey their ideas effectively.

What’s the role of peer review in teaching writing to English learners?

Peer review helps students develop critical reading and editing skills, and it allows them to receive feedback from peers before finalizing their work.

How can I help English learners overcome writer’s block?

Encourage them to start with a simple outline, use writing prompts, and create a supportive, low-pressure writing environment in the classroom.

What strategies can I use to assess English learners’ writing effectively?

Use rubrics and clear criteria for assessing content, organization, grammar, and vocabulary. Offer specific feedback to help students understand their strengths and weaknesses.

Did you Like these ESOL Writing Exercises?

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Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book you can easily find on Amazon: ESL Writing Activities, Games & Teaching Tips . It’s the first and only ESL activity book dedicated exclusively to teaching writing and it’s a must-have if you’re teaching these kinds of classes.

You can easily get these ESL writing activities in both digital and print formats. Consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference guide. Or, bring the digital version with you on your phone or tablet to your favourite coffee shop for some serious lesson planning for your English writing classes.

It really is that easy to have ESL writing classes! Check out the book on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:

Do you Have an ESL Writing Grading Rubric?

If you’re looking for a bit of guidance on how to evaluate your students’ writing, then you’re in the right place. We strongly recommend using a simple rubric that’ll save you a ton of time. Plus, students will understand why they got the grade that they did. All the details can be found here:

ESL Writing Grading Rubric .

ESL Writing Lesson Plans

If you’re looking for some ready-made writing lesson plans that can help your students improve their skills in a big way, you’ll want to check out our top recommendations:

One Stop English

ESL Library

Writing practice for English learners

ESL Writing Worksheets

The good news for English teachers is that there are a ton of English writing worksheets to help you out with just about anything! Why reinvent the wheel if another English teacher has already done the hard work, right? Here are some of the best ESL writing worksheets:

Busy Teacher

ESL Writing Assignments

If you’re not sure about writing assignment options for your ESL/EFL students, here are some of the best ideas that you’ll want to check out:

Tips for Teaching Writing to English Learners

Teaching writing to ESL learners requires a combination of strategies to develop their skills and confidence. Here are some tips to enhance your ESL writing lessons:

Provide Clear Instructions

Begin each writing task by clearly explaining the objectives, requirements, and expectations to the students. Break down the task into smaller steps to make it more manageable.

Model Writing

Show students examples of well-written texts in the target genre or format. Analyze the structure, language features, and organization. Model the thought process and decision-making involved in writing.

Teach the Writing Process

Introduce students to the writing process, which includes prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Emphasize the importance of brainstorming, organizing ideas, and revising for clarity and coherence.

Develop Vocabulary and Language Skills

Help students expand their vocabulary and language skills by providing word banks, relevant phrases, and sentence starters. Teach them how to use transition words and cohesive devices to enhance the flow of their writing.

Focus on Grammar and Sentence Structure in TEFL Writing Games and Activities

Address common grammar errors and sentence structure issues that students may encounter. Incorporate targeted grammar exercises and provide feedback on their writing to improve accuracy.

Encourage Pre-writing Activities

Engage students in pre-writing activities, such as brainstorming, mind mapping, or outlining, to generate ideas and organize their thoughts before starting to write. This helps students structure their writing more effectively.

Provide Writing Prompts

Offer a variety of engaging and relevant writing prompts to spark students’ creativity and interest. Ensure the prompts are aligned with their language proficiency level and encourage critical thinking and personal expression. Here are some ideas:

Peer Feedback and Revision

Incorporate peer feedback sessions where students exchange their writing with classmates for constructive feedback. Encourage students to revise their work based on the suggestions provided, promoting collaboration and revision skills.

Offer Individualized Support

Provide one-on-one guidance and support to students who may require additional assistance. Offer personalized feedback and suggestions for improvement based on their individual writing challenges.

Celebrate Progress

Recognize and celebrate students’ progress in writing. Highlight their strengths and areas of improvement, and provide specific feedback on their achievements. Encourage a growth mindset and foster a positive writing environment.

Encourage Frequent Writing Practice

Assign regular writing assignments to give students ample opportunities to practice their writing skills. Provide a variety of writing tasks, such as descriptive essays, opinion pieces, narratives, or reflective journal entries.

Use Authentic Materials for ESL Writing Activities

Integrate authentic materials like newspaper articles, short stories, or blog posts to expose students to real-life writing and develop their understanding of different writing styles and genres.

Have your say about these ESL Writing Activities and Exercises

What do you think about these writing ESL activities? Did you try out one of them from this or have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.  We’d love to hear from you.

Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other busy English teachers, like yourself find this useful resource for teaching English writing.

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About Jackie

Jackie Bolen has been teaching English for more than 15 years to students in South Korea and Canada. She's taught all ages, levels and kinds of TEFL classes. She holds an MA degree, along with the Celta and Delta English teaching certifications.

Jackie is the author of more than 60 books for English teachers and English learners, including Business English Vocabulary Builder and 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Speaking Activities for Teenagers and Adults . She loves to share her ESL games, activities, teaching tips, and more with other teachers throughout the world.

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How To Create More Authentic Writing Assignments For Students

To create authentic writing assignments, you should have a clear purpose & resistant audience in mind — one students must work to engage.

What Is An Authentic Writing Assignment?

An ‘authentic’ writing assignment is one designed to have an actual purpose or goal (usually to an external audience outside of the classroom). A useful way to understand authentic writing assignments is in contrast to academic writing assignments whose purpose is to meet academic criteria (usually to an internal audience within the classroom).

So how can you create authentic writing assignments for students? It has to do with audience and purpose. As background, let’s look more broadly at content with a few premises:

I. Writing should communicate something : an experience, an idea, a reflection, information, etc.

II. The underlying assumption of any writing that is intended to be published–that is, made public–is that the content is something others (i.e., the ‘public’) might want or need to know. (Otherwise, what’s the point of making it public?)

III. Published writing also has the added responsibility of being either useful or compelling–ideally both. Publishable writing, then, is writing that is something others might want or need to know that is useful and/or compelling.

IV. There is an added burden of ‘publishability’ in digital contexts: competition for attention. There’s a functionally infinite number of media and media forms and, for better or for worse, those wanting their writing to be read are ‘competing’ to be read.

With that in mind, let’s consider a student writing a short essay on climate change. Generally, the ‘audience’ of an essay like this is the teacher and the goal is to meet quality criteria communicated by the teacher–often in the form of a rubric or scoring guide of some kind.

In this case, the ‘audience’ (i.e., the teacher) has a strong inherent interest in the quality of the writing but a reduced interest in the content of the writing.

If the student was, instead, writing to a more authentic ‘external’ audience of some kind–a local business with a weak or strong record of polluting local creeks, rivers, and watersheds–the reader would likely care less about the quality (though obviously quality matters) and more about the purpose and content (and tone) of the essay.

Since students often write with the teacher and/or peers as their audience, the audience in these cases is compulsory and the feedback loop de-emphasizes content and emphasizes ‘quality’ (as dictated by academic standards, the teacher, etc.) Over time, students can be conditioned to believe that someone wants to read what they write–which can make as much sense as a politician campaigning under the assumption that everyone already wants to vote for them.

In that way, all writing has at least some persuasive elements to it: writers are attempting to convince the reader to accept their thesis, or to suspend disbelief while reading their fiction, and so on.

The easiest way to add authenticity to any writing assignment is to start with an authentic (to the student) audience and purpose. That is, help the writer develop a specific purpose with a specific audience. Spend a lot of time here as a kind of pre-writing. Brainstorm. Consider other compelling writing and backward-engineer it. Ask students, ‘Who are you writing to and why? What do you hope the writing ‘does’?’ And if you and the student together can’t come up with a precise and compelling answer, go back to the drawing board.

Is it possible that a reader will finish reading the writing and shrug, thinking, ‘So what?’ or even ‘Okay, now what?’

Start with something simple like a text message to a parent or friend. Who is the audience and what’s the purpose? Now get a little more complex–a nursery rhyme or YouTube video, maybe. Who’s the audience and what’s the purpose? What about Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of Myself’? The American Declaration of Independence? The Pali Canon ?

In How David Foster Wallace Taught Students To Respond To One Another’s Writing , I quoted David Foster Wallace”

“Creative  also suggests that this kind of nonfiction tends to bear traces of its own artificing; the essay’s author usually wants us to see and understand her as the text’s maker. This does not, however, mean that an essayist’s main goal is simply to “share” or “express herself” or whatever feel-good term you might have got taught in high school. In the grown-up world, creative nonfiction is not  expressive  writing but rather  communicative  writing. And an axiom of communicative writing is that the reader does not automatically care about you (the writer), nor does she find you fascinating as a person, nor does she feel a deep natural interest in the same things that interest you. The reader, in fact, will feel about you, your subject, and your essay only what your written words themselves induce her to feel.”

Of course, this is a less urgent burden for a 1st-grader than a professional writer like Wallace. The point is that as humans, we constantly affect the world. We change it through interactions, work, art, and so on. And writing is a microcosm of that. In the ‘real world,’ we write to communicate–to inform or persuade, for example. Informing is simpler than persuading but both take real work to be ‘successful.’

An example that may not be familiar to most, in boxing or grappling, one of the most useful teachers is a willful, resisting opponent–someone who is trying to avoid and counter everything you’re trying to do. This sharpens both practitioners. A sparring partner who just stood there letting you punch them would give you a false sense of confidence and, worse, keep you from developing any real skill.

Writing is the same way. Authentic writing must be written with a ‘resistant’ reader in mind (in the same way that a good lesson must be written by teachers with ‘resistant’ students in mind).

The easiest way to create authentic writing assignments is to start with a clear and authentic audience and purpose and work backward from there.

More Tips For Creating Authentic Writing Assignments For Students

1. Ask students for ideas. (They almost always have good ideas and when they don’t, that can be informative as well.)

2. Use real-world ‘writing’ as models and examples. Think of books, songs, video game narratives and dialogue, screenplays, etc.

3. Experiment with media forms. You can start with text and have them convert it to a podcast or short video. Or start with a song or motivational video and turn it into text.

4. Look for problems to solve–ideally problems ‘native’ and authentic to each student individually.

5. Keep a writing portfolio. This alone won’t necessarily make an assignment ‘authentic’ but it will make it more enduring (in the classroom) and seem to have a point beyond being graded and forgotten.

6. Use anonymous pre and post-assignment polling to see how many readers have been persuaded to change their stance on an issue, for example. (This is the approach Oxford-style debates take.)

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Story Writing Academy

10 Fun Writing Activities for Kids to Improve Writing Skills

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Do your students grumble when it’s time to practice writing? Is getting them to write an essay about as much fun as getting grapefruit juice in your eye? Maybe it’s time to try some fun writing activities instead. Here are ten of our favorite fun writing activities for kids.  

10 fun creative writing activities for kids - text overlay with two pictures of a little girl writing

Breaking Kids out of a Writing Rut

We’ve been through so many stages of learning to write in our homeschool: reluctant writers, frustrated writers, bored writers, curious writers, and obsessive writers (my favorite!).

Over the years, we’ve tried countless writing programs and curricula in a constant effort to keep writing fun and interesting. While we’ve had success stories with a few programs, I find one of the best ways to keep kids engaged with writing is to integrate a fun activity alongside our regular curriculum.

When kids are having fun, they want to write more, which helps them develop stronger creative writing skills and become better writers. Introducing them to different ways of generating creative writing ideas and thinking about writing turns a once-stressful activity into a much-loved pastime.

Here are ten of our favorite ways to make writing fun for kids.

10 fun writing activities for kids video link

10 Fun Writing Activities for Kids

1. write a comic book/graphic novel.

Using a template, students create their own comic strip or graphic novel complete with speech bubbles and annotations.

First, you’ll need a comic strip template. You can draw your own or allow kids to do so if they choose. Or, download the companion files at the end of this post to grab some pre-formatted templates.

sample comic strip template

The amount of guidance each student needs will vary depending on their age and ability.  By design, comics and graphic novels are straight to the point. They don’t have room for any superfluous content.  

Therefore, it’s a good idea to take time beforehand and plan what’s going to happen in the short story, either using a story planner or just jotting down a quick storyboard sketch. They’ll want to have a sense of what’s going to go in each square before they start drawing the pictures in earnest. 

Have them draw the pictures first and then add speech and thought bubbles and annotations. If possible, display the finished works so everyone can enjoy them.

Kids are naturally drawn to the comic book or graphic novel format. It’s fun it’s engaging, it moves quickly, and there are lots of pictures.  

But the space constraints make it necessary for them to think through their story before they start writing and this is such an important skill to develop. Usually, when we’re writing an essay or a short story , we just write whatever comes into our minds without editing as we go. Often, we write way more than we need to and when we go back to read it later, we find we haven’t even made our point.  

Learning how to outline and determine in advance the best way to get a point across is an important skill and creating comic strips is a great way to learn it. 

This writing activity can be adapted for any age range, from kindergarten to grade 12. Younger kids may need assistance with printing small letters. 

2. Write a Story Together

What it is:.

Students work in pairs or groups or with a parent or writing coach to write a short story together.

There are many ways that two or more people can work together to write a short story. The method you choose will depend on who you’re working with, how much time you have, and what your goals are for the activity.  Here are a couple of options:

  • Writing together: Kids work in pairs or groups (with or without a parent, teacher, or writing coach) to collaborate on each part of the story. Everybody pitches ideas and the group comes to a consensus about them. Kids can take turns acting as the scribe for the group (an adult can do the writing for younger children). 

Agree in advance about how you’ll know when the project is finished. Are you aiming for a certain number of words or pages? Or do you just want to see a story with a beginning, middle, and end? Perhaps you want them to practice a specific concept, like seeing how many similes and metaphors they can use. 

Determining and articulating the goal ahead of time ensures everyone knows what they’re working towards. 

  • Writing consecutively.  Students take turns writing sections of the story. For example, they might alternate paragraphs or pages, depending on how long it is. 

You can either have them agree in advance about the topic and plot points or you could add a twist by not letting them talk about it in advance and having them improvise.  

Another variation is to have a group of students working together and have each of them write a sentence or a paragraph of a story and then pass their story on to the person beside them. That person then continues on with that story while the one who started it is continuing on with another person’s story themselves. Continue passing them around in a circle until everyone has added to each story and then can share them with each other.

  • Write concurrently: Kids decide on a plot for a story and then divide and conquer. For example, they might come up with a story that has multiple perspectives and have each person can write scenes from a different perspective. After, they can integrate them into a cohesive, well-rounded story.

In my experience, kids love creating stories much more than they actually love writing them, especially when they’re younger.  The physical act of getting their thoughts onto paper is time-consuming and because their hands can’t move as fast as their thoughts, kids often get discouraged.  

Collaborating with a sibling, a friend, classmates, or adults gives them the immediate reward of progressing in a story without necessarily having to bear the burden of doing all the work themselves.

This writing activity can be adapted for any age range, from kindergarten to grade 12. Lower elementary students should work with a parent, teacher, or writing coach who can guide the collaboration and record the story for them. 

For ideas to get you going on your collaborative writing project, check out this huge list of story starters and writing prompts .

3. Retelling a Favorite Story

Reading or listening to a favorite story and retelling it or rewriting it in their own words.

Ask a student to choose one of their favorite books.  For younger kids, this would ideally be a board book or a picture book, while older students might like a chapter book or novel. If choosing a novel, make sure it’s one they’re very familiar with so they don’t need to re-read the whole thing. 

(For inspiration on this, or to build out a mini-unit on the topic of retellings, check out this list of Peter Pan retellings ).

If it’s a shorter book, read it together. Then, ask the student to either narrate or write down the major parts of the story in their own words. 

Another variation: if you have more time, get a big piece of paper or poster board and ask the kids to draw a map of the story. Then, have them draw and cut out pictures of the story’s characters and move them around the map as they tell the story.

Writers learn to write by imitating other writers. Reading a favorite story with the goal of committing its key points to memory is an important step toward becoming a better storyteller. By telling and retelling popular tales, students learn to intuit the elements of a great story and will naturally include those aspects in their own writing. 

This writing activity can be adapted for any age range, from kindergarten to grade 12. Students who are not yet reading or writing will need someone to read the story and transcribe their words. 

4. The End. Or, The New Beginning.

Students choose a book they love and give it a new ending or a sequel.

Have students choose a favorite book and decide whether they’re going to rewrite the ending or write a sequel. 

Ask them questions to help them give structure to their writing and get their creative juices flowing. Here are some examples:

If re-writing the ending:

  • What did you like about the current ending?
  • What didn’t you like?
  • What questions did you have at the end of the book?
  • What event in the story, if changed, would have resulted in a completely different outcome?
  • Did the main character get what they wanted or not? What would have happened if they didn’t (or did)?

If writing a sequel:

  • Which character(s) in this story did you wish had bigger roles? What else might you have liked to know about their sides of the story?
  • What do you think happened after the last chapter of the story?
  • What other threats or enemies might still be waiting for the main character?
  • Think about the life of the book’s characters at the end of the story. What new character or event might completely topple the balance they’ve found?

Asking students to write a new ending or sequel takes away the pressure of having to come up with an idea from scratch, while still giving them a valuable opportunity to improve their writing skills. 

Also, it helps them hone in on the skill of writing endings, which are often the hardest part of the story to write. 

This writing activity can be adapted for grades 4 to 12.

5. Dictating a Story

Dictating a story using voice typing and then editing it

Using a Google Doc, click on the Tools menu and select Voice typing (or press CTRL+Shift+S). Click on the microphone icon and have the student start dictating. 

When they’re done, click the microphone again. They can even make changes or fix punctuation as they go without disabling the microphone. 

Again, people think much faster than they write or even type. 

For emerging writers especially, printing each letter takes so long that by the time they’ve gotten a full sentence down, they may have lost their steam. Being able to dictate the story at the speed they think and talk is highly motivating and puts the focus on idea generation and plot progression, not on the physical act of writing. 

Also, this activity gives kids a wonderful opportunity to practice their editing skills. 

This writing activity can be adapted for any age range, from kindergarten to grade 12. Younger kids will need help with editing. 

6. Create Mad Libs

Students design Mad Libs for you or for each other

If your students have never played Mad Libs, you will first need to explain this writing game to them and maybe have them do a practice round to get used to the concept. Here’s a sample Mad Lib you can use. It’s also included in the companion files download at the bottom of this post.

blank sample Mad Lib

Then have them prepare the story. They can either create it from scratch or use an existing text. For example, they might copy out the first paragraph or two of a book. Have them write it on lined paper, double spaced. 

Next, they can choose some words to remove from the story. Once they’ve erased the words they want to remove, they should draw a line for the blank word and write a hint under the line to indicate what kind of word is needed. 

It’s helpful if they have an understanding of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. If they don’t, this is a great time to introduce these concepts. They might also use qualifiers such as ‘something you wear,’ or ‘a job people do.’

Here’s how a finished Mad Lib might look:

completed sample mad lib

When they’re done preparing the story, someone else (a friend, parent, teacher, etc.) gives them the words needed to fill in the blanks. As the respondent gives their answers, the student writes them in the blanks. When all the blanks are filled, the student reads the finished work aloud. 

I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love Mad Libs. They’re such a fun way to approach word choice and sentence structure! Kids get a kick out of making up a really silly story while subtly learning the differences between the various types of words. 

This writing activity can be adapted for grades 3-12. Young learners can also enjoy and benefit from Mad Libs, but they aren’t likely to be ready to create their own. Instead, just ask them to provide words for the blank spaces.

7. Custom Printing Pages

Creating custom writing worksheets for younger kids who are learning to print

I know….I promised fun writing activities . And usually, worksheets are not fun. But I think these ones are different. 

My five-year-old doesn’t enjoy practicing her letters and she puts up a huge fight when I ask her to copy things out. Fair enough—learning a challenging new skill is frustrating, even for adults. 

But then I discovered this resource . Among the many cool custom worksheets this site can generate, I discovered the customizable printing pages. You can choose the line size, the style of writing, whether you want students to trace or copy, and—most importantly—the text they’ll be copying. 

For my daughter, I wrote out a really fun story based on her life but with lots of embellishments and twists. She is the star of the story and she wants to know what happens to her. It took me about five to ten minutes to come up with enough content to fill 27 pages of writing practice sheets (about a month’s worth). I give her one page per day to copy. I haven’t heard a single complaint. 

Give it a try. Pick the settings that suit your student(s) best and write a few paragraphs that they won’t be able to stop reading. Then have them trace or copy a small amount each day. 

Young learners tend to engage more with the learning process if they think it’s a game rather than a lesson. Who wouldn’t want to read a story starring themselves? (I still have a customized Christmas book my dad ordered for me when I was three!)

It incentivizes them to practice their printing or cursive handwriting by giving them a delightful reward. This is the perfect exercise to do when you’re teaching handwriting .

This writing activity can be adapted for kindergarten to grade 6. For younger learners who need more extensive writing practice, I’m in love with these free printable alphabet worksheets for preschool . This is such a great resource for helping young kids master their letter formation skills.

8. Photographic Writing Prompts

Writing a story based on an image.

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? And nobody wants to read a thousand-word writing prompt , so why not try photographic writing prompts? This fun story writing activity is simple and can be pulled off with almost no prep time. 

First, choose an image you want to display. Then, set a timer. Have everyone (even you) write a story inspired by the picture for fifteen minutes. No planning for this one; this time we’re writing by the seat of our pants. When the timer ends, stop writing. Give students an opportunity to share their stories if they like. 

writing activities assignments

The companion files document at the bottom of this post includes ten fun images you can use as creative writing prompts.

Images are often more inspiring than words and leave more room for interpretation. This, combined with the focus on writing, rather than planning, encourages kids to simply write, rather than fretting about ideas or structure. 

Because of the timed and independent nature of this writing activity, it’s best for older children in grades 5 to 12. 

9. Convince Me

Using a creative piece of writing to influence someone’s opinion.

In this writing activity, students create a persuasive piece of writing aimed at convincing you that their favorite thing is the best, i.e. Why Wings of Fire is the Best Dragon Series You’ll Ever Read, or Why Strawberries are the One Fruit We Could All Live On. 

Offer suggestions on what format they might choose, but leave the decision up to them. They might write a short essay, a poem , a song, or a rap. Maybe they’ll even decide to create a brochure. Put as few limitations on this final product as possible to encourage maximum creativity. 

When they’re done, have them read what they’ve written to try to persuade an audience.  

Kids can be highly persuasive, but adults often shut them down when they’re trying to make an argument. For example, every time my daughter says she has a compelling list of reasons why we should let her get a hedgehog, I typically say no immediately without giving her a chance to share her list. 

Giving them the opportunity to persuade you about something that matters to them, and to do it in a format they feel comfortable with is an opportunity they won’t want to miss. This fun writing activity also helps them develop their persuasive writing skills. In your feedback, you might offer points on how they can enhance their argument even more. 

This writing activity can be adapted for grades 2 to 12. 

10. A is for Author

Using photos or drawings, along with original writing, to create a new alphabet book. 

If possible, go on a nature walk or at least go to a yard or a field. For this writing activity, it’s important that students have many things to observe. Bring notepads and pens or pencils. 

Have them try to find one thing for each letter of the alphabet. Allow them to be creative here: ‘eXcess dandelions’ might be a perfect choice to represent X. Have them use their notepads to keep a list of what they’ve found.

Then, set them to work. Let them choose how they will lay their book out. They might use a full page for each letter, a half-page, or a quarter-page. (I’ve included templates for half- and quarter-page layouts) below. 

writing activities assignments

For each letter, they should include a drawing or photograph and a small amount of writing. The writing can be as simple as ‘C is for Crane,’ or it could be more creative, such as a short poem or a paragraph about that thing. Determine how much leeway you’ll give them with the writing component based on their ages and ability. 

Have them add a cover page and then assemble their book with staples or by punching holes along the side and tying ribbon or string through each hole. 

This fun writing activity works well for both reluctant and eager writers. It takes the focus of writing by including other activities such as walking outside and drawing, while also giving ample opportunity to practice printing (for younger kids) and composition (for older kids). 

Eager writers will enjoy the opportunity to add prose or facts to their pages and appreciate the challenge of coming up with something creative for each page. 

For this activity, kids may work independently or together, depending on time and preferences. Our family worked together on a single book and it turned out great. 

Like most of the creative writing exercises here, this one can be adapted for any age range, from kindergarten to grade 12. 

Get the Companion Files

Use the form below to download everything you need to start teaching with these fun creative writing activities for kids today!

writing activities assignments

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Thursday 18th of April 2024

Love these!

Monday 20th of May 2024

Monday 2nd of October 2023

Well, can't access anything.... disappointing. I subscribed like 4 times already.

Thursday 12th of October 2023

can you please email hello @ (remove spaces) and let us know which download you're trying to access? We will send it over to you directly.

Thursday 22nd of June 2023

Very innovative ideas inculcate an interest in writing and then working on honing their writing skills

Shruti Shah

Sunday 28th of May 2023

Hi I can't see any form to fill up nor am I getting any access though I have already subscribed Pls help

Thursday 21st of September 2023

The form is at the end of this post, just above where you posted this comment. Thanks.

Friday 21st of April 2023

where the heck are the comic strip templates. I signed up 3 times!!!!!

I'm sorry you are having difficulty. Please feel free to email hello @ if you need help and we can send them to you directly.

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Writing Spaces

Readings on Writing

Activities & Assignments Archive

As an open access companion resource to the Writing Spaces textbook series, the Activities & Assignments Archive offers pedagogical resources grounded in current practice and scholarship, organized by topic. Each document presents a pedagogical activity or assignment, curated by teacher-scholars for writing students, and reviewed by the Writing Spaces editorial team. Have an idea for an Activities & Assignments submission? Send us an email at [email protected].

Rhetorical Awareness


  • Rhetorical Analysis: Creating an App Casebook – by Melvin Beavers
  • “Lend Ears!”: Creating Audio recordings of Final Drafts to Develop Rhetorical Awareness – by Heather Shearer
  • How to Write a ________ Like a _________ – by Keri Epps
  • Reflective Cover Letter by Jessa M. Wood
  • Multimodal Proposal – by Charles McGregor
  • Avoiding the Savior Complex in Community-Engaged Writing – by Charisse S. Iglesias
  • “Establishing the Who”: Professional Writing, Power Dynamics, & Improv – by Lauren Esposito
  • Exploring Community and Personal Connection as Idea Generation for Argumentative Writing – by Amanda Rachelle Warren
  • Lobsters and Second Conversations: Addressing the “So What” in Your Writing – by Stina Kasik Oakes

Invention (Prewriting)

  • Engaging Podcasts as a Dynamic Genre for Invention – by Charles Woods & Devon Ralston
  • Developing Fruitful Research Questions – by Emily Spitler-Lawson
  • Thinking out Loud: The Prewriting Interview – by Helen H. Choi

Language & Power

  • Non- standardized Grammar Assignment – by Cheyenne Franklin
  • Literacy Autobiography – by  Anita Chaudhuri  &  Subrata Bhowmik
  • Exploring Ideology in Written Language: A Translingual Approach – by Alex Way
  • Using Recipe Archives for Place-Based Research and Writing – by Ashley Beardsley
  • Writing About Writing (WAW) Synthesis Essay Assignment by Jessica Jorgenson Borchert
  • Emotionally Aware Ethnography – by  Sarah Bramblett
  • Object Ethnography for the Real-World: Using Objects and Documents for Disciplinary Development – by Meng-Hsien (Neal) Liu
  • Literacy Autobiography – by Anita Chaudhuri & Subrata Bhowmik
  • Writing Like a Game Designer – by  Elizabeth Caravella  &  Rich Shivener
  • “I Didn’t Know I Could Research That!”: Using Objects for Research Topic Invention – by Mario A. D’Agostino
  • “Upstream” and “Lateral” Moves Through Information Networks” – by Philip Longo
  • Playing with Paywalls: Information Literacy in Theory and Practice – by Arielle Bernstein & Chelsea L. Horne
  • Unpacking Abstracts: Conventions of Empirical Abstracts in Social Science Papers – by Faqryza Ab Latif
  • A Full Class Annotated Bibliography: In-Class Community Building & Applied Social Composing Practice – by Zoe McDonald
  • Dramatizing the Conversation: Creating Dialogue Scripts to Support Source Synthesis – by Kim Fahle Peck

Cultural and Identity

  • Non-standardized Grammar Assignment – by Cheyenne Franklin
  • Personal and Cultural Identity Through Food: A Multimodal Cultural Cookbook – by Andrea Janelle Dickens

Grammar & Style

  • Concise Writing Strategies – by Elizabeth Blomstedt
  • Beyond Transition Words by Roberto S. Leon

Process & Revision

  • Emotionally Aware Ethnography – by Sarah Bramblett
  • Writing Like a Game Designer – by Elizabeth Caravella & Rich Shivener
  • Using a Growth Mindset and Revision Plan to Interpret and Apply Instructor Comments – by Roger Powell
  • Using Reflection and Metacognition to Develop Your Half Essay – by Lindsay Knisely
  • Our Sonically-Composed Worlds – by Matt Hill
  • Problem-Exploring the Game ‘I Am Bread’ as a Tool for
  • Teaching Growth Mindset in First Year Writing – by Laura E. Decker
  • Towards Self-assessing Writing beyond Writing Center Consultations – by Saurabh Anand
  • Peer Review and the Writer’s Worksheet – by Anthony Edgington

Public Writing & Advocacy

  • Safety and Accessibility Problem Statement – by Kelly Scarff
  • Getting in Conversation about Activism: Group Podcast Assignment – by Jeanette Lehn
  • Engaging Audiences Beyond the University: Writing in and Reflecting on Non-Academic Rhetorical Situations – by Rebecca Chenoweth
  • Write-a-thons and Community Panels: Encouraging Students to “Go Public” with Their Writing – by Megan Heise

Digital Literacy

  • “Lend Ears!”: Creating Audio Recordings of Final Drafts to Develop Rhetorical Awareness – by Heather Shearer
  • Deep Digital Reading with Google Docs – by Ashley R. Ott

Multimodal Composition

  • The Twine Project: Engaging Metacognition and Remediation with Digital Narrative – by Brian Ernst
  • Reflective Artist’s Statement for Multimodal Assignments – by Benjamin Djain & Angela Geosits

Metacognition & Reflection

  • Putting Ourselves in the Company of Writers: Creating Successful Collaborations – by Samantha NeCamp & Connie Kendall Theado
  • Reflective Cover Letter – by Jessa M. Wood

Information Literacy

  • “Upstream” and “Lateral” Moves Through Information Networks – by Philip Longo

writing activities assignments

Microsoft 365 Life Hacks > Writing > 5 writing exercises you should try to improve your creativity

5 writing exercises you should try to improve your creativity

As we continue to develop our writing skills, occasionally we need to reacquaint ourselves with a creative boost. That’s where these five creative writing exercises can come in: they are designed to loosen up the blocks that might get in the way of our creative process. See what you can do to overcome the fear of the blank page with these fun ideas for getting the creative juices flowing.

Crumpled up piece of paper

What are creative writing exercises?

Sometimes, we can be stymied by our writing process: it is easy to fall into the all-or-nothing mentality that demands that we write a masterpiece right from the start. That’s why a creative writing exercise is a useful tool. They’re meant for writers to brainstorm and ideate potential new ideas for projects. Whether the ideas and words that we generate lead to something publishable is not the end goal: instead, they’re meant to provoke the improvisational skills that can lead to fun new ideas.

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Creative exercises to improve writing skills

Here are some ways to begin putting pen to paper:


Freewriting is the easiest creative writing exercise that can help with creative blocks. Simply write down anything that comes to your mind, without any attention paid to structure, form, or even grammar and spelling mistakes.

For example, if you’re working from a coffee shop, write based on what you notice around you: the potent smell of the barista’s latest batch of coffee… the furrowed eyebrows of the local students hard at work on their assignments.

Or, if you’re in your home office , perhaps you can observe the light that pours from your window in the morning hours as you start your 9 to 5. Or reminisce about the dusty, ill-used pens and paper clips sitting in the back of your desk drawer.

Do this for 10-15 minutes per session, uninterrupted: the Pomodoro technique can help with this.

Story starter prompts

Use an otherwise mundane phrase or sentence to kickstart a writing session and create a short story or character description. Try these sentences as story starters:

  • The old man had a look of frustration.
  • It felt like my husband had woken up angry.
  • “Open a window,” Lucinda said, “it’s mighty hot in here.”

Letter to your younger self

This exercise asks the question: what would you say to your teenage self? Or a version of you 5, 10, or 20 years younger? In this exercise, you can recast your life in a different light and offer advice, reassurance, or reexperience a special moment again. Maybe you can write from a perspective of optimism: now that you are successful, for example, you can be excited to share your accomplishments. This highly personal exercise can help you tap into all manners of emotions that can then go into character development.

Take two characters from your work, or a book that you love and rewrite their experiences and plot points while switching their points of view. Perhaps one character knows something more than the other, or another character’s perspective and thoughts have been unwritten. Switching these POVs can help you see how a storyline shifts, taking on different tones and emotional beats.

Flash fiction

Flash fiction is a type of short fiction that is 500 words or less. The objective of this exercise is to craft a narrative or a character portrait all within a highly limited constraint. Flash fiction differs from freewriting in that you write with focus, aiming towards a fully-formed story that can include plot, conflict, and a character portrait. Writing flash fiction seems deceptively easy, but it can be a challenge—which is why literary magazines and writing contests often have opportunities to publish and award great flash fiction.

If you’re looking for more ways to tap into your creativity, check out more writing tips here .

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Reading Worksheets, Spelling, Grammar, Comprehension, Lesson Plans

7th Grade Writing

For seventh graders, this Common Core area helps students gain mastery of writing skills by working collaboratively and producing written texts, understanding syntax and vocabulary, and organizing their ideas. Among the complete standards for this grade, seventh graders will be asked to: use precise language for written work, including formal style, use appropriate technology to publish writing and to collaborate on written projects, demonstrate keyboarding skill, go through the process of writing, editing and revision for their written work, conduct short research projects to answer a question, quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of supporting texts while avoiding plagiarism and using proper citation, use evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Abraham Lincoln Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about Abraham Lincoln.

Back to School Diamante Poem

Back to School Diamante Poem

Teach your students a fun way to write diamante poems using our new back to school worksheet.

Bio Poem: My Mother

Bio Poem: My Mother

A fun Mother’s Day bio poem activity for your students!

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

Bio Poem: Pilgrim

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. This printable Thanksgiving Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about Pilgrims.

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Bio Poem: Someone You Know

Students will write a bio poem about someone they know using the format set in this worksheet.

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

Christmas Tree Bio Poem

A biography poem, also called a bio poem, is a short poem which describes a person or thing. Sometimes writing a bio pem can be tricky! This printable Christmas Activity guides students through creating a bio poem about a Christmas tree.

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Correct the Transition Words Mistakes – Worksheet

Have your students revise sentences and correct transition word mistakes with this educational writing activity.

Diamante Poem: Antonyms

Diamante Poem: Antonyms

Students write an antonym diamante poem in the space provided.

Diamante Poem: Synonyms

Diamante Poem: Synonyms

A diamante poem takes its name from the shape it makes: a diamond. Diamante poems were introduced in 1969 by Iris Tiedt. Students write a synonym diamante poem in the space provided.

Edgar Allan Poe; Journalist Trickster

Edgar Allan Poe; Journalist Trickster

Students read about one of Edgar Allan Poe’s hoaxes when he was a journalist. Each student then write’s their own hoax!

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe: Secrets in Poetry

Students read from Edgar Allan Poe’s “An Enigma” and decipher the name of the woman’s whose name is hidden within the text.

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

Father’s Day Bio Poem: My Father

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Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Fourth of July Bio Poem: America

Encourage your students to learn about America with this Fourth of July Biography Poem activity.

George Washington Bio Poem

George Washington Bio Poem

Your students will write a bio poem about George Washington.

George Washington’s List of Rules

George Washington’s List of Rules

When George Washington was a young boy, he made a list of rules for himself. Students choose one of the rules and write what it means.

Halloween Bio Poem Activity: Ghost

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Main Idea Organizer

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Teach your students how to organize their writing with this helpful Main Idea Organizer. Students will be asked to complete the worksheet by writing their own main idea, three details, and a summary. This will help your students better understand how to organize their ideas for writing in the future, especially when writing an essay!

Newspaper Reporter: An Interview With President Lincoln

Newspaper Reporter: An Interview With President Lincoln

Your student is now an official reporter and their task is to interview President Abraham Lincoln! Students write three questions they would ask him and what his replies would be.

Transition Words: Complete the Sentence

Transition Words: Complete the Sentence

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Using Transition Words

Using Transition Words

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5 Ways to AI-Proof Your Writing Assignments

June 28, 2024 | John Jennings

EdTech Insights | Artificial Intelligence , Best Practices , Writing

A student is writing something by hand in the foreground while other students study and work in the background.

We spend a lot of time writing about the positive aspects of AI here at EdTech Evolved . But it’s probably disingenuous not to also address the elephant in the room that is AI-enabled cheating and plagiarism. Even as teachers become more comfortable with the idea of AI , many still feel like they are locked in a constant battle to compensate for and detect it when designing and grading assignments. Fortunately, the past two years have given us ample time to learn how to effectively “AI-proof” those assignments.

Large language models like ChatGPT are here to stay. With each iteration, their outputs are becoming harder to distinguish from human communications. Many schools have tried some form of “AI detector” software, but these programs are riddled with inaccuracies , lack transparency, and have proven to be inherently biased against non-native English speakers . In the arms race between AI-generated content and AI detection capabilities, the latter is miles behind, with no chance of ever closing the gap.

But what’s the alternative? If we can’t rely on technology to help us catch students in the act, how do we stop them from abusing these tools and making a mockery of our instruction? It’s easy to say “we need to change the way we approach writing,” but what does that look like in practical application? Here are five ways to AI-proof your writing assignments. We’ve even included some prompts and ideas for those who want to fight fire with fire by enlisting ChatGPT’s help for lesson design.

1) Break Writing Projects into Multiple Steps

The easiest way for students to game the system is to just ask for a completed essay on a given topic. By breaking projects down into multiple deliverables, both digital and non-digital, you can make it impossible for them to jump straight to an AI-generated solution.

For example, I used the following prompt to generate a five-step lesson plan. Students might be able to get help from ChatGPT for some of these steps, but not without putting in enough independent work to support their learning goals along the way.

Imagine you’re a fifth-grade reading teacher. Create an outline for a multi-step informational writing project, including: brainstorming activities for topic generation, drafting an outline, creating a rough draft, a peer review and editing step, and adding polish to the final draft. Include non-digital activities such as mind mapping wherever possible. Emphasize the importance of research and require students to identify credible sources.

You are welcome, of course, to tailor the above prompt to fit your needs. Focus on achieving the appropriate level of rigor and fitting the project within your time constraints.

2) Make it Personal

ChatGPT can be good at making up stories, but one thing it can’t do is replicate personal experiences. Ask your students to write about something they did or something that affected them. Then, validate their writing with follow-up questions. It won’t be too hard to separate those who are writing from the heart vs. those who enlisted outside assistance.

Potential prompts might include:

  • What was your favorite experience over the summer?
  • What is your favorite family tradition?
  • What is one accomplishment from the past year that you’re most proud of?
  • Write about what friendship means to you. Provide an example of a time when you were a good friend or someone was a good friend to you.
  • What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited and why?
  • What is one goal you want to achieve this year and how are you going to make it happen?

If you suspect a student of cheating on any of these assignments, you can further AI-proof this lesson by simply asking them questions that aren’t explicitly addressed in the text. When did this happen? What would you do differently next time? Who else was involved?

3) Get that Handwriting Practice In

One common thread emerging from science of reading legislation and state guidelines throughout the country is the need for more consistent explicit handwriting instruction as part of the daily routine ( example from Wisconsin’s Act 20 vendor rubric shown below ). While this is often emphasized in the early grades, it can also be a viable strategy with for those looking to AI-proof assignments for older students who might be more likely to turn to AI for assistance.

Screenshot of Wisconsin's ACT 20 science of reading rubric.

By requiring a handwritten first draft with in-class checkpoints, you can eliminate the possibility of AI assistance. Sure, savvy students might turn to AI for editing and polish, but that’s a skill we should probably be fostering and encouraging anyway. That’s not much different from autocorrect, which has been around for ages.

4) Localize It

Writing assignments based on school events or community happenings introduce obstacles that even the savviest students will have a hard time working around. Consider requiring students to write about their connections to the events. Did they participate in them? Do they know anyone who did?

One fun example we’ve heard from teachers is to build entire multidisciplinary units around writing prompts. You might, for example, explore a science or social studies topic as a whole-class, then assign group or individual projects to delve into different aspects of that topic. Ask students to write a three-part essay covering the preparation for the project or presentation, recapping how it went, and reflecting on what they learned. Not only is that the kind of thing ChatGPT can’t replicate, it’s also a fair approximation of many real-world writing applications.

Two elementary-aged students podcasting together.

5) Make it Multimedia

Not only is this a surefire way to AI-proof your lesson, it’s also something most students will find engaging. One approach this author has successfully tried with a group of fifth grade students was combining writing assignments with podcasts. Have students map out their key talking points, cite evidence, and script a powerful opening and conclusion. Then, give them free reign to have a brief conversation based on the research they’ve done. This works best in small groups of one, two, or three. There are many free podcasting options available. You can also “fake it” and avoid any privacy or security concerns by using a simple voice recorder.

Podcasts aren’t the only option. So many students now are already wrapped up in the streaming/YouTuber culture; why not give them an opportunity to be the star attraction? Script writing is still writing, and like the example in number 4, you can even incorporate some interdisciplinary topics to make the project even more impactful. Sure, it’s a little more work on the front end, but it’s a memorable experience. It can also help students feel more connected with their writing assignments.

Adjusting to a New Normal

As many predicted in the weeks and months following ChatGPT’s release, the fight against AI in the classroom is a losing battle. The long-term solution is not to catch and punish as many offenders as possible. We’ll need to change the way we approach instruction. Students have been cheating forever, with as many as 95% of high schoolers admitting to cheating in some capacity and 58% admitting to plagiarism in a 2002-2015 survey .

The key to curbing that behavior lies in understanding the motivations behind it. Weave ethical discussions into daily classroom routines. Keep students engaged by connecting with them on a deeper, more personal level. AI-proof your assignments and remove the incentives for cheating. The result will be a much clearer picture of your students’ proficiency and progress.

Stay ahead of the curve by staying on top of AI

What’s happening with AI in the classroom? How are district leaders supporting strong and meaningful adoptions? How can teachers and students leverage this powerful new technology in support of longstanding needs? Subscribe to EdTech Evolved to get articles like this delivered to your inbox every month.

eSpark is the #1 Writing Tutor for Elementary Students

eSpark Writing features high-interest topics, student choice for prompts, and AI-enabled, real-time feedback and instruction for grades 2-5. There’s no better way to incorporate independent writing assignments into your literacy blocks.

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Activity at vacant home turned clubhouse prompts multiple arrests: Euclid Police Blotter

  • Published: Jul. 02, 2024, 4:17 p.m.

Euclid police cruiser with department logo on side

Police arrested several teens who were using a vacant home that was on the market for sale as their private clubhouse.

  • Robert Higgs,

EUCLID, Ohio – Here is the Euclid Police Blotter for June 24 through June 30.

Suspicious activity: Glenridge Road

Police responded on June 28 to a report of suspicious activity at a vacant home. The caller, a neighbor, told officers that he saw four men coming and going from the vacant residence, which was on the market for sale. Officers did not find anyone inside, but they did find that the front door was open and that the knob on a side door to the house had been damaged.

Officers were sent again to the residence later June 28 when another caller reported a handful of youths had entered the vacant residence. Police arrested six juveniles for trespassing, turning them over to responsible adults. Juvenile fact sheets were completed and forwarded to the juvenile detective bureau.

Four-wheeling on ballfield leads to obstruction arrest: Euclid Police Blotter

Man who threatened co-worker found with mini arsenal: Euclid Police Blotter

Attempted vehicle grand theft: Lakeshore Boulevard

Someone broke into a Kia Sorento on June 24, peeling the steering column in an attempt to steal the car. The suspect was not located.

Vehicle grand theft: Mills Avenue

A woman told police June 24 that her car was stolen without the keys. Police had no suspects.

Grand theft by deception: Lakeshore Boulevard

A business owner reported to police on June 24 that a customer had ordered and received several appliances from the business but had failed to pay for those appliances. When the business owner tried to contact the suspect, the suspect would no longer accept the business owner’s phone calls.

Fraud: East 258th Street

A woman reported to police June 24 that she and her brother had a truck picked up by a backyard mechanic to be repaired. The mechanic had the truck in his possession for quite some time but continually gives the owners excuses for the delays. The vehicle title was left in the glove box of the truck. The woman discovered that the mechanic was using the truck and had transferred the title to the truck to his girlfriend’s name. The complainant believes that the mechanic and/or his girlfriend forged information on the title so that they could take ownership of the truck.

False identity, drug crime: Cherokee Avenue

When police stopped a car on June 25 for improper display of license plates, the vehicle’s driver gave them a false identity. During a search of the car, officers found what they believed was cocaine. The man was found to have numerous outstanding warrants for his arrest. Officers took him into custody and turned him over to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office for an active drug trafficking warrant.

Aggravated menacing: East 222nd Street

A woman reported on June 25 that her ex-boyfriend had been threatening her over voicemail and phone calls. The woman told police she believed these threats and wanted the incident documented and asked police to press charges. Officers requested that a warrant be issued for the boyfriend’s arrest for aggravated menacing.

Vehicle grand theft, Concordia Drive

A motorcycle was reported stolen June 25 from Concordia Drive.

Criminal damaging: Lakeshore Boulevard

The owner of a vehicle reported on June 25 that their car was damaged while parked at a business on Lakeshore Boulevard. No video or suspect information was available.

Vehicle grand theft: Lakeshore Boulevard

A man reported on June 26 that his car was stolen from the parking lot of an apartment complex overnight. Officers observed broken glass in the parking spot where the man said his vehicle was. The car was located later that day by Cleveland police.

When officers investigated the car theft June 26 at an apartment complex parking lot, they were directed to two other cars that were damaged and appeared to have been targeted unsuccessfully by a car thief. Officers were able to view video showing four unidentifiable men walking through the parking lot early in the morning.

A woman reported to police on June 26 that someone had broken into her car overnight in a theft attempt.

Officers located a vehicle on June 26 that had a broken rear window on the driver side and appeared to have been a target for vehicle theft. No suspects were located.

Suspicious activity: Renwood Avenue

A woman reported June 26 that three men had forcibly entered her home and tossed her out into the front lawn. When the police arrived, they searched the home but found no evidence of an unauthorized entry or individuals matching the description provided by the complainant within the residence.

Vehicle grand theft: Glenforest Road

A woman called police on June 28 to report that she returned home after having been out of town and discovered her car was missing.

Vehicle grand theft: East 244th Street

Police responded on June 28 after a woman reported that her Chevy Blazer was missing from her garage.

Attempted vehicle grand theft: East 244th Street

An unknown person smashed inward a rear window of a locked Dodge Charger on June 29 and attempted to steal it.

Vehicle grand theft: Zeman Avenue

A man reported June 29 that he left his Honda Pilot idling in the street while he was standing on his front treelawn. During that time an unknown juvenile who was walking by, got into it, and drove away.

A man reported on June 29 that he left his car idling in the parking lot at a business on Lakeshore Boulevard and that an unknown man got into the car and drove away.

Reckless vehicle operation: Lakeland Boulevard

When police sought to stop a stolen Chevrolet Silverado on June 29, the driver intentionally rammed an occupied police cruiser and then fled. Police pursued the Chevrolet, until it crashed in Cleveland. Four teenage boys ran from the stolen vehicle and were arrested. Police also confiscated two loaded handguns, one of which had been reported stolen. The Cuyahoga County Juvenile Detention Center took custody of the teens.

Vehicle grand theft: Pasnow Avenue

Police responded on June 30 to a report that a car was stolen without the keys.

Concealed weapon, improper handling: Euclid Avenue

Officer conducted a traffic stop on June 30 on a vehicle registered to an owner with multiple arrest warrants. When officers removed the man from his vehicle, he tried to access a firearm. He was restrained and secured. His gun and a bag of pills were confiscated as evidence. The man was taken to the Cuyahoga County Jail.

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More From Forbes

7 chatgpt prompts to improve your writing.

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On writing , author David Sedaris once said, “You need to do the best that you can do, and then you need to take the best that you can do and you need to rewrite it, and rewrite it, and rewrite it.” That’s the dynamic essence of the writing process. Writers refine their drafts, just like they continually refine their craft. I didn’t study writing or literature, so I was intimidated when I began contributing to major publications. But my confidence grew with each byline, and I began to find my voice.

While ChatGPT can be an impressive imitator, it can never generate your unique voice and perspective. It can, however, be a powerful tool for improving your writing, whether you’re penning business articles or important emails. It all starts with the right prompts.

Here are seven that you can use to level up your writing skills.

Automate Your Busywork

There are no shortcuts to becoming a better writer. The prolific author Stephen King once said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” That said, you can use AI tools to eliminate some of the tedious tasks involved in writing and leave more time for honing your craft. Here are some prompts to delegate your writing “busywork” to ChatGPT.

1. Generating Ideas And Topics

AI shouldn’t do your writing for you. It lacks the necessary human context and isn’t immune to errors. But it can be a powerful writing partner. As Wharton professor Christian Terwiesch (who challenged ChatGPT to come up with product ideas and compared those ideas to student ideas —ChatGPT won), has said , “Everybody should be using ChatGPT to help them generate ideas.” At worst, you reject all of them. At best, you enrich your pool of ideas.

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Here is a prompt you can use to help get the idea wheels turning:

"I'm an [role/title] writing for [outlet description] targeting [target audience]. Can you suggest some fresh and engaging topics that would appeal to this audience?"

If you’d like ideas related to a certain topic or tailored to a specific style (e.g., a “hot take” versus a personal essay), remember: the more context you provide, the more concise the results.

2. Editing For Grammar And Style

Whether you’re sending an email or publishing an article on a high-traffic website, typos are an embarrassing—and avoidable—faux pas. In today’s world, where internet content exists in perpetuity, anything attached to your name should be error-free. ChatGPT can be a near-instantaneous proofreader. Test out the following prompt:

"Can you proofread this [content] for grammar, punctuation, and style consistency? The intended audience is [audience/recipient]. Please provide a list of any suggested improvements.”

3. Hitting The Right Tone

Spelling and grammar are a crucial part of editing, but they’re relatively objective. Perfecting the tone is more subjective and sometimes more challenging—but just as crucial.

The proper tone can ensure that your text is engaging. It can foster trust and understanding with colleagues and business partners. It can persuade your audience to get on board with your viewpoint. Writing that misses the mark on tone, however, can cause misunderstandings, hurt feelings, damage your credibility, and lose your reader’s interest.

With that in mind, here’s a prompt that can help you achieve the right tone in your writing:

"Can you help me rewrite this [content] for [audience], ensuring it maintains a [describe the desired tone]?

Add context to make ChatGPT’s reply more helpful. For example, if your content should show sensitivity to a certain issue or audience, add it to the prompt.

4. Adding Data And Research

One lesson I’ve learned from contributing to Forbes and other widely-read publications is that my word alone is rarely enough. I can share my personal experiences, but research and data can strengthen any piece of writing.

Instead of researching the traditional way—reviewing your writing and identifying facts that need outside sourcing, then Googling for relevant insight—ChatGPT can speed up the process, leaving you more time to polish those personal anecdotes. Try this prompt:

"I’m writing [describe the content and subject matter] for [target audience] and want to include relevant data and research. Can you review the following text and provide researched-backed statistics and insights on this topic?"

Importantly, always check the sources that ChatGPT generates. It will almost certainly come up with helpful results but they’re not always accurate—that’s where you, human editor, come into play.

Refine Your Craft

To continually improve your writing skills, you can take a page from the habits of professional writers. The following prompts can help you develop practices to become a stronger writer.

5. Daily Writing Prompts

I’ve written before about my morning pages . It’s a great way to clear my head before the day begins and to practice fluidly translating my thoughts into words on paper. If a blank page feels intimidating, writing prompts are a great way to get started. ChatGPT can generate writing prompts in an instant. You can keep it general:

“Can you suggest a couple of writing prompts that I can use to practice the craft of writing?”

Or, if you have a goal in mind, add more context. For example:

“I'm trying to improve engagement with my readers. Can you generate a couple of writing prompts to practice writing engaging content?”

6. Experiment With Different Styles And Voices

If you call your grandmother on the telephone, I’d bet your voice and speaking style sound vastly different from when you’re chatting with your best friend. Writing is the same.

ChatGPT can help you practice toggling between different styles and voices, and in doing so, help you find yours. You can ask ChatGPT for writing prompts to practice a certain style. For example:

“Can you generate three short exercises to help me practice writing in different voices and styles?”

ChatGPT will not only generate exercises, it will also break down the structure and elements of different writing styles and specify the tone.

Or, you can submit text to ChatGPT and ask it to analyze the style and voice. Try this prompt:

“Can you analyze the voice and style of the following text: [insert text].”

I used this prompt to assess the introduction to one of my recent Forbes stories, and ChatGPT said it was “Conversational and Relatable,” “Encouraging and Reassuring,” and “Informative and Practical”—encouraging feedback from my AI editor.

7. Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite

In A Moveable Feast , Ernest Hemingway wrote, “The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

If you want to become a writer, you have to embrace rewriting, whether you’re retyping every word or pouring over (and over) a Google Doc draft. Here are a couple of prompts you can use so that ChatGPT can assist in the rewriting process, one excerpt at a time:

“Rewrite this paragraph in the style of [Ernest Hemingway or any other author]."

“Rewrite this introduction so that it sounds like a story in [publication]”

“Rewrite this email so that it will resonate with [audience].”

“Rewrite this paragraph for clarity and concision.”

Importantly, ChatGPT only does part of the work. It falls to the writer to analyze the results, apply those lessons in future drafts, and, of course, to keep writing.

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