Mindful Writing Exercises

And now for something waaaay different this week!

Awhile ago, I put out a call on Twitter asking if anyone would like to be a guinea pig for some writing exercises that I was working on. They’re all written, and instead of placing them on a dedicated page on the site, I’m putting them here, just in case you could use them, too.

Ready? All you need are pen and paper (or something to type on), along with close access to the best thing you’ve read recently.¬†Here we go!

1. SPEAKING v. WRITING: Write down a description of yourself, however you might explain yourself to someone else. Then, record yourself speaking a description of you. If that feels weird, have someone else ask you to describe yourself, and have them record the answer. Once you have both versions of the same question, take note of the following:

  • Are there differences between the written and recorded answers?
  • If so, what are they?
  • Did one version *feel* different than the other? If so, how?
  • Which one feels stronger?

Comparing how we verbally express ourselves vs. describe ourselves in writing can show our strengths. Some people are going to feel better about their spoken answer, while others are going to feel better about their written one. If your written answer was not as strong as your spoken answer, try reading the written answer out loud and seeing how it feels. If your spoken answer was not as strong as your written answer, try writing out the spoken answer and seeing how it feels.

The point here is to check in and see if your writing and your inner voice are one and the same. If they are the same, great! If not, try working with the weaker one until it feels (or sounds) stronger.


2. SETTING THE SCENE: If you want to explore your fiction voice, create a scene in your head. If you want to explore your non-fiction voice, look around you.

Then, write down 3 – 5 descriptive sentences for each scene.


3. TAKING NOTE OF CONVENTIONS: Read over what you wrote for #2. What senses did you use? Only sight? Only sound? Usually we rely on the same senses over and over again, with the most often used being sight and sound. But what are we missing by only using 2 of our 5 senses?

Go back and write 3 – 5 sentences for each scene using all 5 senses (seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touching).


4. COMPARISONS: Look over the sentences you wrote in #3, which ones connect with you the most?  Which ones were difficult to write? Compare your answer for #2 with your answer for #3. Which one would you rather read?


5. CONNECTION: Go back and re-read the last article/piece/page(s) of the last thing that moved you, something that you revisited in your mind after you finished reading the words. Write down a list of which senses the author used within the piece, and which moments you most connected with as a reader.


Taking stock of these types of answers means better understanding: 1) if you’re stronger in your writing and with your speech and 2) what kind of writing you connect with, while also highlighting how far (or near!) your writing style is to what you like best. Sometimes we get so used to doing things one way, we forget to see how far we’ve strayed from our own strengths and our own interests.

I’ll be back next week with another craft-related post, but wanted to share these in case you are having trouble connecting with your own writing. For those of you who make your own crafts, using all 5 senses are important in your descriptions, too, so even if you’re not a self-described writer, taking note of what senses you rely on (and what you forget all together) can help you hit your content even more out of the park!


2 Responses to Mindful Writing Exercises

  1. Becky June 7, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    I really like these ideas. Well written, as well. Shared on twitter :)

    • Betsy June 10, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

      Thanks for the kind words and for sharing, Becky!

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