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Creative writing exercises
Creative writing includes a lot of thought and hard work on the writer's part. But trust me, it is just as much fun! Creative writing gives you all the freedom in the world. You can write anything that comes to your mind, no rules and no restrictions. You can play around with words to develop interesting plots and characters. Add humor to it or even add drama, just let your mind wander and write whatever it is that comes to your mind. After all, that is what creative writing is all about!
But it is not necessary that you be your creative self at all times. Very often, it so happens that you cannot think of anything to write about, or even if you do, you get stuck every now and then. This can make your writing experience boring, or rather frustrating; as a result of which, you might feel like quitting altogether. So why not try some fun exercises to avoid such a situation? Not only will you be able to rejuvenate your mind, you'll also be able to come up with some refreshing ideas to start with.
Journal or Diary Writing
Maintaining a journal or a diary is an excellent idea for beginners. You can easily pen down your experiences, thoughts, etc., on a daily basis. Not only does it improve your writing skills, it also acts as a great stress buster. You can pour out all your anger or your frustrations in the diary, which helps you feel relieved. You can jot down interesting story ideas that come to your mind too.
You can also fill up your journal with sudden thoughts, dreams, something that you have experienced in the past, a childhood memory, etc. You can even write about different people you meet or people who are close to you, their body language, the manner in which they talk, the importance that they have in your life, and so on. Apart from this, it is also important that you go through your journal regularly, because even a line or a phrase has the ability to trigger an idea for a whole story.
Free Writing
Many think of free writing as something like journal writing. However, it is a different kind of writing altogether. Free writing is when you write whatever comes to your mind. It is an unstructured way of writing where you set down a specific time and write continuously during this time. It need not be meaningful or connected.A word, a phrase, or a sentence, may trigger your imagination and inspire you to write a poem or a story.
Brainstorming
Take a large sheet of paper and write a word in the center. Make arrow marks around the word and write down words that come to your mind while you look at the word, and continue the same thing with other words. When you have a cluster of words, try to connect them with each other, and come up with a fabulous plot, character, setting, etc., for your story. Try to develop this further, and in the end, put them all together to come up with an interesting character.
For example, you write 'a 25-year old woman' on the paper and circle it. Now jot down everything that comes to your mind when you think about such a woman. It may be her name, career, family, childhood, education, personality, mannerisms, background or traumatic events in her life, or just anything.
Captions
Photographs are a good way to come up with stories. Choose a photograph from your family album or any random picture from a magazine. Observe the picture carefully and write whatever you feel about the people in it, the background, the event, etc. Comment on the expressions of the people, what might be on their minds or what they might have felt when the picture was clicked. It may not become a full-fledged story, but will help in creating the basis on which you weave the rest of the plot.
Newspapers
Newspapers are full of different kinds of people - politicians, celebrities, sports stars, etc., who you can write about. If that doesn't interest you, you can turn to the scandal section and write about the issues that a common man faces. Just choose any news like robbery, murder, assault and start writing about it. This need not be the truth. Write what you think must have happened, what measures should be taken to avoid such situations etc.
Useful Tips
» Carry a notebook everywhere you go and write whenever you feel like.

» Don't concentrate on getting it right at once. Remember, perfection comes only with practice.

» Start with writing about incidents in your day-to-day life, about the people you meet, the way they look, the way they behave, something that you like about them, and even the things that you hate.
» Let someone read your work, someone who will give an honest opinion. Ask them what they think about your piece, and make sure you accept criticism, if any.
» Write about anything and everything, anywhere and everywhere.

» Meet people who share your passion, observe their writing style, and adopt new writing techniques.

» Read, read and read! Not only will it help you expand your knowledge, you will also be able to explore the various styles of writing.
These exercises are not applicable only to adults, but can also be tried with children and teens to improve their writing skills. They would help the person in thinking out-of-the-box, and stretch out his creative limitations to come up with an inspiring story.