When you’re short on time, it’s handy to have some quick creative writing activities you can turn to at a moment’s notice. Here are three that I’m enjoying right now. They’re fun, straightforward and versatile.
First, a quick note… Each activity below includes an element of stream of consciousness writing to help generate ideas. If it feels as though ideas aren’t coming at first, go with whatever pops into your head. Don’t judge it, just keep writing. Remember to trust the process. You might just surprise yourself.
‘Cut & Paste’ Poem
This writing activity is great for getting the creative juices flowing.
Here’s what you do…
- First, choose a topic. It could be anything that takes your fancy, such as: a happy memory, an interesting place, an intriguing news story, or a day-dream that you’d like to come true…
- Next, give yourself at least three minutes to write down everything you can about your topic (longer if you wish and have the time). What thoughts or phrases come to mind when you consider the topic? Write about the topic using all five senses (sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures) and your emotions too – how does the topic make you feel?
- Go back over what you’ve written and underline any phrases that jump out at you. Aim for at least 4 phrases.
- Now, take those phrases and write them out again, but this time in the shape of a free verse poem. Change their order, add or take away words, add in whole new phrases… play with your poem however you wish. Just have fun! Your final poem may be very short or it might be fairly long. It doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you enjoy writing it.
‘Happy List’ Acrostic
This feel-good activity offers a way to celebrate life’s happy side. I use it as a sort of ‘gratitude list’ exercise, with the bonus being that I get a piece of creative writing at the end.
Here’s what you do…
- Write a list of ten things you like/love.
- Choose one of those things on the list – whichever inspires you most in that moment. If your chosen like/love is currently written out as a phrase, think about a single word that encapsulates it.
- Write your single word vertically down the page. This will be the framework for your acrostic poem. Acrostics come in different varieties, but for this writing activity I suggest you use each letter of your chosen word as the start of a new line. Your task is to fill out each line with ideas or imagery that relate back to your original word (see an example of an acrostic here).
- Now it’s time to fill out your acrostic. If you’re feeling ‘in the zone’, you may want to fill out the lines of your poem straightaway. If you get stuck, spend a few minutes just mind-splurging some ideas onto the page. What thoughts or phrases come to mind when you consider your chosen word? Write about your word using all five senses and your emotions too – how does the word make you feel? Use this mind-splurge to help you fill out your acrostic poem.
‘Pot Luck’ Gogyohka
The serendipity of life often makes me smile. This activity is a great way to invite the element of surprise into your creative writing, and then have fun distilling your ideas into a short poem.
Here’s what you do…
- Look around you for a book, magazine or newspaper. Open it at a random page and choose one word. You can close your eyes and point, or go with the very first word that catches your eye. Turn to another page and choose a second word. Then turn to a final page and choose a third word.
- Next, give yourself at least three minutes to write down everything you can about the relationship between those three words (spend longer if you wish and have the time). What thoughts or phrases come to mind when you consider those three words? Write about your words using all five senses (sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures) and your emotions too.
- Read back over what you’ve just written and make a mental note of any ideas or phrases that particularly interest you.
- Now it’s time to create your Gogyohka. Very simply, a Gogyohka is a five-line poem where each line represents a single phrase. There are no restrictions on how many syllables are in each line and there’s no need to make the lines rhyme. You can see an example of a Gogyohka here. Use your mind-splurge writing to help you create your five-line poem. You may wish to include your original three words in the poem, or not. It’s up to you!
Hope you have fun with these quick creative writing activities. Let me know how you get on, and do explore some of the other writing ideas on this blog.