3 Short, Fun, Writing Exercises

3 Short, Fun, Writing Exercises for Your Spare Moments


Cole Smith

By Cole Smith


Do you want to flex your writing muscles more often? Stuck in a waiting room with too much time to sit idly, but not enough to dive into your WIP?


All of us have a few moments to spare for creative play. The next time you have a notebook (or a smartphone) and a little break, try these short, fun writing exercises:


Color Scenes

Remember that song from the 90s about the color blue? This song. (Now it’s stuck in your head for the rest of the week – you’re welcome!) Everything in the song was blue. Pick a color and write a scene that is immersed in that color–but don’t say its name. Which emotions and moods go along with your color? What kind of character roams the scene? Write all around the color, filling in the details to express what you see in your pigment-saturated imagination.



Character Animals

Do you remember the game, “If You Were An Animal You’d Be…?” (Well, if you never played it, you’ve missed the opportunity to feel bent out of shape when someone suggests you’d be a chipmunk. It still stings!) This exercise is a little like that game. Come up with an antagonist who’s like a vulture. What does he wear? Where does he live? Is he a loner, or does he hang out with other vulture-types? How about a best friend who’s like a golden retriever? Faithful, enthusiastic, and sometimes a little ditzy…

See if you can link a character with his or her animal doppelganger. Have fun with this!



Favorite Smell

Scents can evoke powerful memories: the cologne your ex-boyfriend wore, the ripe, baked mud smell of an island at low tide, the aroma of homemade waffle cones at the ice cream parlor. Pick a scent and, without mentioning it, write a few paragraphs about the memories or images that come to mind. Need suggestions? Try cardamom, the ionized air after a summer rain, or smoke curling from an ornate, polished pipe.



Just because you’re stuck in a seemingly-endless checkout line or waiting at the DMV doesn’t mean you can’t redeem the time by sharpening your imagination and honing your writing skills. Try these short, fun exercises the next time you’ve got a little chunk of time. Who knows? You may even unearth a character to incorporate into your work in progress.


How do you pass the time while you’re trapped in traffic or waiting rooms?




Cole Smith is the author of Waiting for Jacob. She’s a writer, teacher, and mountain biker in West Virginia–the best Virginia! She enjoys good coffee and great stories, and shares inspiration, encouragement, and tips for creative overwhelm at www.colesmithwrites.com.


Waiting forJacob

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14 thoughts on “3 Short, Fun, Writing Exercises

  1. I’d never heard that blue song, so that was interesting. Before I could escape out of that video, another came up. I think it’s called Barbie Girl, and that’s the song that’ll be going through my head the rest of the day and possibly inspiring a blog post about barbie dolls.


  2. I often pray, think about my WIP, or try to describe the character I see so I can use them in a novel. However, out of sight out of mind usually for that. Ya, reading Abbie’s comment, I now have traded Barbie Girl for Blue songs too.


      1. Oh no, it’s not your fault I didn’t hit the back button fast enough. Besides, that song can also inspire an exercise. Write about your favorite doll. Of course this is something men wouldn’t be able to do. Smile emoticon.


  3. Reminds me a bit of an writing exercise I do. I use painting or photo prompts. Make up a story to go with the illustration, and then start writing, letting the story unfold.


    1. I love these, especially the exercise having to do with smell. Some of my fondest memories have smells to describe them. Smells are like old songs. You can remember where you were when you heard it, or smelled it.


  4. I always have a notebook handy. I have written blog while sitting in a traffic jam. Written letters to friends in a parking lot. I took a couple notes from you suggestions and put them in my notebook. I suspect I will be trying each of them soon.
    Thanks for sharing.


  5. Good exercises, though I might have trouble with the one with color. I see scenes but dialogue is always running through my head. It’s how I create characters. Scent–new mown grass and watermelons and me sitting in my swing while my uncle mowed the grass. Thank you for the Blue song–yes, it’s in my head. I don’t know the Barbie song, thank goodness, but Barbie sounds like Georgie, so Georgie Girl is waiting for Blue to leave.


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