Do you remember the creative writing exercises you used to do when you were younger? Do you remember how simple they were? Are there any exercises in particular that you remember clearly to this day?
For our first activity, I have put together a few simple writing exercises that can be found in elementary level classrooms. These exercises might be harder to write than you expect. Sure, they are simple exercises, but sometimes it's harder to write at an elementary level as an adult than it is as a child - especially if your creative mind feels restricted like mine.
I have included these exercises to remind us what it was like to be young, and to hopefully shake some extra imagination out of the depths of our brain and onto the surface for safekeeping.
Try not let doubt creep into your mind when writing. Maybe that's easier said than done, but I hope that you try to just let go of your stressors and anxieties (whatever they may be about) and just write to write. Let your imagination run as wild as it can. This might take some practice - I know it will for me! And I will be doing these exercises right there with you.
I encourage you to use exercises like these in your classrooms or even by your lonesome from time to time. Give these exercises to your students when they feel stuck, or just need to take their mind off of something hard or troubling. Let them know it's okay to go back to their roots and go back to writing like a kid for a little bit. It might surprise them (and you) what a simple writing exercise might do for them.
Now for the fun part! In order to do these exercises, I ask that if it is at all possible for you to complete your writings for this workshop on paper and not the computer. You can use any paper you want! It can be a journal, blank computer paper, lined paper, etc. Heck, go steal some construction paper from your kids’ art supplies if you have kids! Or maybe you have fancy paper you use for special occasions. Use that! Maybe you have parchment paper? Try that out! Get creative. (Originally, I was going to supply many different colors of construction paper as well as markers and crayons and colored pencils.) Break out the fun pens and markers or the colored pencils you use for coloring. Allow yourself to be colorful and funky. You deserve it.
Of course, if you aren't able to write on paper and must use the computer, that is perfectly fine. If this is the case, perhaps type in different fonts and colors as you go along, and don't be afraid to add in pictures.
Try and find a quiet and safe space for you to write and let loose. Get a snack and a cup of coffee or tea or water if you'd like. Get settled and write for as long as you would like, and most importantly, please have fun with these!
Are you ready to get creative and let your imagination come back? Let's get started:
1: Write about what it would be like if you had your favorite dinosaur as a pet.
(Note: If you don't like dinosaurs, try and pick a mythical creature that you could see yourself having as a pet.)
2. List times you felt strong emotions, without going into detail. Alternate colors for each memory.
For example: That one time when I was seven and I tried to save a squirrel but it ended up biting me, my first day of college, getting into a car wreck at seventeen, etc.
3. Tell me about something funny that happened when you were young.
Try and use as much detail as you can. Don't restrict yourself in this exercise. Your memory does not have to be chronological or even in story form. It can be in bits and pieces. Be creative with your memory.
After you have completed these three simple exercises, please go to Blog Post 1: Discussion.