Category Archives: Writing

The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate your Writing

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer is a fun book. I don’t write-brainusually go absolutely nuts about writing prompts, but that is really what this book is. Every page has a new exercise, made up of a combination of pictures, graphic elements, and writing ideas that can be done in any one of several different ways depending on your mood, or if you change the wording in the prompt just slightly, or who you read it with . . . I found my kids flipping through it one day, and we looked at a few of the pages together, reading the exercises and looking at the pictures, and each of us had a completely different idea of what we thought we would write about each page. Fun! Even after writing a few pages bases on one of the prompts, I was able to come back to the same one from a different angle and come up with something different, and that is what is so great about this book. Each page has a “take the next step” that gives you a different twist, or an idea that can be used over and over for an endless number of original ideas. For example on day 133, it has “List 6 different snapshots from your life that took place in May. Use these to prompt further writing.” You could change May to any month, and combining different snippets of memories can give you a lot to write about. This is the kind of book you will find that you want your own copy, because the library only lets you check it out so many times in a row!

Another Fun Writing Excercise

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Raising a Writer

For something fun that can help break you out of a rut when you’re stuck, try going through the dictionary for a bunch of interesting words, and then put them together into a poem or story. You never know exactly what you will end up with.

The Reverie

in my reverie i rode along the zodiac
past scorpio and sagittarius
i heard the zither play
i was sitting with xerxes
eating grapes, discussing the zeitgeist of zoroastrianism
drinking some sort of zymurgy
when the wind rushed through my soul
then, i was riding on a camel
with a yemen sheikh
past men in yarmulke
praying at the wall
in a caravan to zaire or zambia or zanzibar
with a bunch of xenophobiacs
a zulu warrior and his pet zebu
a zouave munching zwiebacks
making zounds to crush the yahoos of spain
and suddenly the world expanded
and i was blown like a leaf
into the xylem of a yucca
bringing me to stand
in the peyote hut of a zuni warrior chief
in a sand painting of the clouds
racing through the sky in a zeppelin on a zephyr
when i came up out of the ocean
off the coast of guam
with water in my snorkel and zoophytes on my arms
and a bad case of the bends.

You can also try words that only start with a particular letter for a fun excercise in alliteration:

Anopheles

Avast! The axial anopheles lurking in the azalea
avaricious in its ardor of
the aliphatic crimson heat;
his greedy brain’s abaci
prematurely counting out his prize.

Rising to the apex
of his azimuth—
a fleshy airdrome
agog—an amateurish astrogator
on the aphelion of grace
actuating his annular descent
an agnostic tourist visiting Alsace-Lorraine;
an aquanaut exploring depths
never before explored

He paid no heed to the accelerometer
Paid no heed to the slapping hands . . .
He gleefully dodged them, refusing to abdicate,
But to no avail—buzzing through the arnica
At last arriving at the abattoir
Of his apoplectic end

(Now, wasn’t that way more fun than just saying the circling mosquito got smacked? Take it and run!)