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Writing has been an enjoyable pass time of mine for a good few years now but I've always just avoided doing so if I had no ideas. After all, for me writing is supposed to be fun and when you're suffering from 'writers block' it becomes frustrating, painful and stressful hence not so fun anymore leaving me unwilling to do it.
This year I have decided to complete a creative writing module as part of my English Literature degree which means, for the time being, I can longer only write when I have something in my head. I have deadlines and word counts to stick to, if there is nothing there I simply have to find something without compromising on the quality of my work. This is proving to be rather difficult although I have found certain writing exercises prove useful. Free writing, mainly. When my fingers refuse to type and my mind goes completely blank to the point where I can barely remember my own name, I'll take a word or phrase and just write down anything and everything that comes to mind. It can take a while but, eventually, something will come to me which I can work with.
When I found 'The five-minute writer' on Amazon I added it to my basket immediately. This book gives us an entire fifty eight quick writing exercises which, just like free writing, are simple enough to complete and really get the creative juices flowing! It sounded perfect for those days where I simply had nothing but still needed to write.
The book is written by Margret Geraghty, a British Author and creative writing tutor. Geraghty takes the time to introduce each exercise to us in a simple, quick and informative way allowing us to see the benefits of each one before giving us the actual exercise to complete as well as the occasional tip for completing it. As the title of the book suggests, all of these exercises can be done in five minutes, or there about, making them extremely useful for creating a quick source of ideas and inspiration.
The idea behind the book, as explained in Geraghty's introduction on the first few pages, is to enable us to develop a writing routine. She claims that by completing one of these exercises for just five minutes a day (and really, who can't spare just five minutes each day?) will inspire us when it comes to our writing, gaining us access to our own new ideas and helping us to shape our story or poem with ease. I would agree that this does indeed work.
To be honest I enjoy completing these exercises so much that it is very rare I will only commit to them for five minutes. Often what was supposed to be a quick jolt of ideas before bed has turned into a very late night with pen to paper! The exercises go from making lists and describing our everyday rituals in detail to creating 'word paintings', character name generators and writing 'minimum stories' (a five minute story)!
All fifty eight exercises allow us to gain ideas for plots, settings and characters from the very basic outlines to great in-depth details. I now have a notebook full of these completed exercises which I just skim through when stuck for ideas until I find something useful (and I nearly always do). If I have a bit of time to spare I'll just open a page in this book at random and complete the exercise given, even if I've already done so before, changing the trigger word, scenario or emotion generates a whole new list of ideas using the same technique.
Whether writing for enjoyment, money or a good grade (perhaps even a combination of all three) this book will surely come in very handy and release the creativity you didn't even know you had!
Published by How To Books Ltd - 2009
ISBN - 978 184528 339 1
Pages - 185
Price - £5.69 from Amazon (from £4.35 used and £3.91 new). Kindle Addition £4.19