5 Daily Creative Writing Exercises You (Probably) Haven’t Seen Before

The more you search the internet for daily creative writing exercises as you explore writing as a creative outlet, the more you begin to think the Internet only has a total of 10 that have been reworded several thousand different ways.

Daily journaling? Yeah-yeah-yeah, that’s Writing 101. 

You might bite your tongue a little too hard if you read another suggestion like, Be sure to read every day, too!

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some daily writing exercises that are actually innovative? That don’t make you feel like you’re cultivating a dead garden? Here are five unique daily creative writing exercises you’re sure to love…

Text unique daily creative writing exercises on white background over image of journal, pen, coffee mug stacked on open laptop sitting on white couch.

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5 Fabulous Creative Writing Exercises

Get your pen ready and clear your mind… these exercises are just what you need to regain your excitement about writing!

1. Rico Clusters

Rico clusters are closely related to mind mapping. But mind mapping is not specifically tailored to writing. Rico clusters are.

Sit down with a pen and a sheet of paper. Choose a word. Any word. Pick a random word from a book if you have to. 

Circle that word.

Write down the next word or concept that immediately comes to mind. Write it down and circle it also. Connect the two bubbles with a line. Continue this process. 

Let new associations form from the old as they fill up the paper. Either when you have a page full of bubbles with words in them, or when you feel like you’ve had a eureka moment, you can start writing. 

Gabriele Rico, the person who authored the method, recommended writing a vignette of poetry or prose using the concepts and words generated by the clustering session.

If you do this daily, you will have an inexhaustible supply of ideas to fall back on, and you’ll limber up your brain’s ability to form creative ideas out of thin air. 

2. Freewriting/Automatic Writing

To practice freewriting or automatic writing, you sit down with a pen and paper — or a keyboard — and you relax. Then you write the first things that come to mind and you keep going for a set amount of time, or until you fill a set number of pages. It’s vital that you keep the pen moving.

If you freeze up, preselect a letter before the writing exercise and start the next word with that letter.

It’s usually advised that you write as fast as you can, but don’t be afraid to play with a method and write at varying speeds until you find a speed that flows in a way you like. 

Later, go back over the material you’ve written and fish out ideas and images that appeal to you. This works best if you put the writing away for a few days, so you can easily have an assembly line of ideas to add to your creative inspiration collection.

There’s always a little thrill when you go back and don’t remember writing any of the stuff that’s scribbled on the paper. 😉 

3. Image Streaming

This method taps into the subconscious in a similar way that automatic writing does. Like the fruits of automatic writing, what will be produced by your image streaming sessions will be easy to forget unless you have a way of recording them. So you’ll either want to enlist a friend to transcribe the things that you say, or use a voice-to-text app on your phone or computer. My favorite is otter.ai.

For a set length of time, close your eyes and describe what you see in your mind’s eye. Get all your senses involved. If scenes and details start to shift, don’t hesitate to follow the changes.

The images and sensations in your brain will transform like clouds in the sky, and the discoveries this can lead to are exhilarating. 

When you go back over your recordings, you may find that you don’t remember saying some of the things you did. It’s a feeling of discovery that never loses its shine and never fails to produce gems for future writing. 

Journal, pen, coffee mug stacked on open laptop sitting on white couch.

4. Deliberately Defecating on Your Keyboard

Throw your inner critic for a loop and write a few paragraphs of prose in the most trite, cliche, boring, grammatically rancid fashion you can. It’ll hurt like childbirth, but do it anyway.

Then go back and edit it into the sparkling piece of writing you want it to be.

This will eventually become the way you get all of your writing done. First, you get it down instead of getting it right. Then you get it right on the second pass.

You’ll see every day that it’s easier to polish something that’s already been written than it is to create perfect writing from nothing. Doing it daily will keep your inner critic from reclaiming the throne. 

5. Rolling Dice

Steal a six-sided die from your Yahtzee set. Make a list of six random words. Perhaps something like this:

  1. Autumn
  2. Ghost hunter
  3. Love triangle
  4. Mafia boss’s daughter
  5. Area 51
  6. Zombie virus

There doesn’t have to be any rhyme or reason to the items. 

Then comes the fun part. Roll the die! 

If you roll at least twice, you get some interesting juxtapositions. Rolling 2-4 times seems to be the sweet spot. 

So let’s say you rolled and got:

Ghost hunter + Mafia boss’s daughter

Now write short synopses of possible stories inspired by the combination of those two results.

Are you getting ideas? Maybe a paranormal investigator that’s been kidnapped by the mafia in order to find out why their crib is haunted and why they keep having such bad luck? Perhaps the mafia boss’s daughter’s ghost is stuck and is making life miserable for her living family until they get to the bottom of how she really died?

The same result could generate a story about the boss daughter of a smaller crime syndicate that not only hunts ghosts, but has found a way to bend them to her will. She pulls strings behind the veil so that her crime family does better than they would on their own. But someone out there found a way to nullify her talents as a spook whisperer.

The real fun happens when you make multiple tables to roll on and roll on each one of them. Do this daily and you’ll have a stack of original ideas, each of them coming to you with the thrill of unpremeditated discovery. 

More Creative Journaling and Writing Inspiration

Need more fun writing ideas? These 5 creative journal topics will spark endless writing possibilities.

For creative writing beginners, you may enjoy Maggie Hamand’s Creative Writing Exercises For Dummies.

What’s your favorite time of the day to write? Here’s what I discovered about the magic of getting up early and writing 500 words and why I will always love morning writing.

Need a place to hold your new writing ideas born of these daily creative writing exercises? This refillable personalized leather journal with elastic closure from OxAndPine is just the ticket. It holds 4 different notebooks, so you can switch them out for different types of paper or when one gets full. 

As mentioned earlier, the Rico Clusters exercise was invented by Dr. Gabriele Rico. To read more about her writing philosophy, check out Writing the Natural Way: Turn the Task of Writing into the Joy of Writing.

I also love these 14 creative things to write in a journal… perfect for creative writing!

Now… Take Action and Start Writing

Are you ready to roll some dice, create some clusters, and stream some amazing writing? I have to say, right now this is my favorite list of fun daily creative writing exercises! 

I’m sure you can’t wait to get started! Have fun, get inspired, and put these exercises to work as you explore your creativity.

Enjoy the write! 

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