Tag Archives: Writing Exercise

Open Your Notebook Newsletter – Volume 1, Issue 5

In The Pocket Muse Endless Inspiration: New Ideas for Writing (Writers Digest Books, 2006), author Monica Wood cautions writers in the folly of re-visiting earlier works.

“Reviewing an old subject, one
that still haunts you, will work only if you begin afresh without
looking back. Otherwise you will waste your energy troubleshooting some
other writer’s work – because you are no longer that writer
Wish your earlier work well. Do
not scorn it. Be generous to the younger you who wrote it. This was the
best you could do; be glad that you can now do better. Then say goodbye
to that work, and begin something that the younger you would not have

Think back – what subject was outside your reach a few decades, years, or weeks ago. Open Your Notebook and commit to ten minutes of writing what you are now experienced enough to write about.

Open Your Notebook Newsletter – Volume 1, Issue 4

 What I fear in writing is the safe direction.”

-Anne Rice
Sooner or later all writers have
to deal with emotion. The more skilled you become translating feelings
into words on a page, the more effective you will be in communicating
emotionally charged issues to the reader.

Honesty counts.
Open Your Notebook and
for 10 minutes write a note to a person you are in conflict with,
expressing your point of view. For this exercise don’t focus on if you
will or will not ever share your writing, the point is to write the
emotion. Does it start raw and uncontrolled for you? Or do you start
stilted and awkward? When you look back on what you’ve written pay
attention to how your control of the written emotion changes the longer
you are into the exercise.

Open Your Notebook Newsletter – Volume 1, Issue 1

“What I write when I force myself is generally just as good as what I write when I’m feeling inspired.”  -Tom Wolfe
It might seem counterintuitive for a writing newsletter to say – but say it we will (and often). Reading about writing isn’t writing. Writing is writing.
That’s why Open Your Notebook,
the bi-weekly e-newsletter about writing from authors Chris
Clarke-Epstein and Miriam Phillips, will be short on keeping you
reading and long on provoking ideas for writing. Every other week you
can expect something to think about and a writing exercise. So, buy a
notebook, sharpen your pencil, and prepare to write. Remembering, of
course, that intending to write isn’t writing, writing is writing!

Most writing exercises are geared
towards creative writers, writers of fiction vs. non-fiction. But no
matter your medium, you must learn and practice your craft. Non-fiction
is no exception.
The first thing to do is to identify
your voice; that is, the style, manner, and written sound you want to
convey. Try this exercise from Fred White’s The Daily Writer: 366 Meditations to Cultivate a Productive and Meaningful Writing Life (Writer’s Digest Books, 2008).
How can you help yourself uncover your
natural voice? Write a page in which you describe, in a relaxed,
informal manner, without groping for impressive words, how you feel
about one of the front page stories appearing in this morning’s
newspaper. After you finish the page, read it aloud. If it doesn’t
sound like you, circle the phrases or sentences that seem artificial or
forced. Then keep revising the paragraph until it seems to capture your
natural voice.

Now apply the voice test to your
current work in progress. Turn to any page, read it aloud, and if it
sounds artificial, get busy revising it.

To subscribe to the bi-weekly Open Your Notebook Newsletter, send an email to Miriam@OpenYourNotebook.com with your name in the body of the message and “Subscribe to Open Your Notebook” in the subject line.