Writing Exercises For All Ages

Posted: July 07, 2016 - to Essay WritingBy: Natalie
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Creative Writing Exercises – All Ages, All Purposes

Writing is not a skill that will soon be taken out of school curricula – elementary, secondary, or college. In fact, writing is the mainstay skill that is used in most other courses that students take. As for adults? Every profession or career will require writing of some type. Just consider the following:

  • Business writing in the form of memos, reports, projects and proposals all require decent writing skills

  • Marketers must have great structural and creative writing skills, especially if they are engaged in content marketing on the Internet

  • Website developers and business owners with an Internet presence must craft great website copy as well as posts for their social media pages.

As much as we would like to think that technology will ultimately take the place of writing, that is not the reality yet, and all age groups will still be writing for years to come. Because of this, individuals who are not superior and exceptional writers will be well served to do those things that will improve their skills – for their personal and professional purposes. Locating and engaging in regular writing exercises will keep good skills intact and improve skills in other areas.

Creative Writing Exercises for Adults

Adults who are in professions that require writing will often search for exercises for writers who are in those professions. These can relate to specific challenges for individual writing tasks, and there are plenty of them all over the web. Fortunately, adults in writing professions are usually able to assess their own strengths and weaknesses and select which exercises for writers will best apply to their own challenges.

Writing Exercises for Adults Who are Authors

Writer’s block is the biggest issue that authors face. There are just times when they stare at a blank page for hours, without a thought to write down. During these times, engaging in some thinking and writing exercises can help a lot. We've got some writers' favorite for you:

  1. Freewriting: When writer’s block hits, just sitting down and writing anything that comes to mind is a good exercise.

  2. Get away from the screen and freewrite with paper and pencil/pen. There is something about connecting the brain with body movement that neurologists say enhances thought processes.

  3. Go through a magazine and pick out a picture of someone – cut it out. Make that person a character and write a backstory for him/her.

  4. Write descriptions about big events in your life.

Creative Writing Exercises for Adults Who are Content Marketers

Content marketers are often under stress because they have calendars and deadlines to meet. And their additional challenge is to write content that is highly engaging, often entertaining, and sometimes inspirational. Writing exercises for adults in this profession should focus on stimulating creativity. There are some great websites with great exercises to help out these marketers:

  • There are lots of apps to download and use – “Unstuck,” “Inkflow,” and “Get Prompts” are just three of hundreds out there.

  • Re-write some great creative content that another marketer has written

  • Make up a story about someone using the product or service that you are supposed to market in your post or article.

  • Write a short poem about the product or service to be marketed.

Creative Writing Exercises for Adults Who are Journalists

Journalists have unique positions, because they are not considered creative writers the way authors and content marketers are. They must report news or write editorial opinions, and they must deal in facts. In fact their jobs are to answer the “W’s” of journalism – who, what, where, when, and why.

Journalists, however, must also be creative writers in their jobs. Their titles, headings, sub-headings, and text must grab quick attention, engage readers immediately, and keep them engaged while the information or opinion is relayed.

Journalists also experience writer’s block, and writing exercises can help during these times.

  • Take a current event and write five headlines for it

  • Draw a picture of an event or situation before writing about it. this will engage the right side of the brain, and that will stimulate creative thinking

  • Access a journalist exercise website and complete the exercises that are contained – there are some great ones you can use.

  • Watch the evening or morning news. Write Leads for the major stories that are reported. Do the same thing with news articles on competitors’ sites or journals.

Writing Exercises for 1 – 6th Grades

The foundation for writing is established early in a person’s life. Educators tell us that those kids who develop good basic writing skills at an early age tend to be good writers as teens, college students and as adults. One of the most important things to do at this age, then, is to make writing as enjoyable as possible, so that kids will not see writing as drudgery, as boring, or as something that is attached to grades. There is time for the attachment to grades later on. Instead, give plenty of fun and free writing exercises. Mix these in with the grammar and composition skills that must be taught, so that children have breaks from what they may see as drudgery.

The other really important thing about teaching writing is to give students writing exercises and topics that are highly motivating. There are a number of strategies and resources that teachers can use to get kids writing.

Journaling

Children love to use their imaginations, and being given prompts to write about in a daily journal is the perfect way to get them to see writing as fun. They can try 5 words game, for example. Here are some examples of journaling prompts that will stimulate writing:

  • If you could become invisible at any time, what are some things you would choose to do?

  • If you were president for a day, what would you do?

  • What is your favorite toy and why?

  • What was your best day ever?

  • What do you do when you are really sad?

Scaffolding

While journaling may get kids motivated to write, it does not necessarily make them good writers. They still have to learn how to organize their thoughts in a logical manner so that their writing develops coherency.

Educators and builders understand scaffolding. In education, it means that there is a “building” process used to develop skills in children. Writing is best taught through scaffolding, because it combines enjoyable activities with the building of skills. There are four steps to this scaffolding process:

  • Teacher Modeling of Writing: Children need to learn to brainstorm and then to organize their thoughts for writing. Once this is accomplished, they need to master the concept of introduction, body, and conclusions and sentence/paragraph structure. Teachers can do this by planning writing exercises in which s/he asks the students to help her write an essay on a topic. Using the kids’ input, the teacher then goes through the process from brainstorming to writing the final product. Kids actually see the process while they participate.

  • Shared Writing: this step in the building process involves students actually assisting with the writing. The teacher chooses a topic, and the group brainstorms and organizes the ideas. Then, the teacher asks for sentences from the students for each part of the essay until it is completed.

  • Guided Writing: Either in small groups or as individuals, students write their own short essays, with the teacher acting as a coach, asking questions, giving suggestions, etc. For basic writing topic, individual writing is probably good; for creative writing, groups may do better, as some students may have trouble generating creative ideas on their own.

  • Independent Writing: This is the final stage, and once students reach this point, they can then be assigned essays on a wealth of topics in other subject areas, especially social studies and science. Each time students engage in these exercises for writers, they will become a bit better.

Creative Writing Exercises for Elementary School Children

Teachers and parents both will find a wealth of fun and free writing exercises from any number of Internet resources. There are also some great apps that will stimulate creative thought and problem-solving for kids at all grade levels. Teachers in particular should look for easy games to incorporate into the classroom that will foster creative thought that is such an important precursor to writing.

Writing Exercises for High School Students

High school students are “tough customers.” Many of them are really jaded by their technology and their screens and the thought of actually sitting down and engaging in writing exercises, even though they can use a screen for that too is just not an exciting prospect for them. English teachers who are charged with turning these teens into good writers so that they can get into good colleges have their work cut out for them. But there are some things that they can do to engage, encourage and motivate.

Use Technology

There are hundreds of writing apps for high school students, and many of them are in a game format. Fortunately, some very creative educators and app developers have gotten together and created game apps that are sophisticated, have contemporary music, chases, car races, superheroes tracking down villains, and so forth. Fortunately, the basic apps are free or at minimal apps, so assigning a certain number of writing exercises from certain apps is easy.

Set up a class blog. Teenagers love their opinions – about everything. And they can get motivated to talk about issues that are important to them all day long. Turn their passions for opinions into writing exercises by having them write blog posts and comment on each other’s posts. Commenting on blog posts is just like texting and posting on Facebook – they’ll take to it.

Do not ask kids to write by hand – it is time consuming and they are much more comfortable with a keyboard. Nothing is worse than making anything about writing seem like drudgery.

Use Freewriting

Teens love freewriting, because they don’t have to be so concerned about grammar and punctuation. They can just get their thoughts down on paper as they roll out of their brains. Here are a couple of exercises for this:

  • Show a large image or photograph to the students. Ask them to describe it if they were in a bad mood. Then, ask them to describe it if they were in a good mood. This is a great way to give a writing exercise that also teaches perspective.

  • Journaling should continue in English classes throughout high school. This is freewriting at its best, if the prompts given are relevant to their lives.

Use Oral Discussion as a Pre-Writing Exercise

Teens have all sorts of topics of interest. Throw out a topic for a class discussion – one on which there will be multiple opinions. Let students discuss the topic until it is fairly exhausted. Then, ask students to write their own perspective/opinion on the topic. They will be motivated to do this, because the discussion will have instilled more passion.

Creative Writing Exercises for High Schoolers

Again, the way to get students excited about writing is to focus the topics on their interests. Here are some great methods to bring creative writing into a high school English classroom.

  • Teens love their music, no matter what specific type different groups love – rap, alternative, hard rock, country-western, etc. Either as individuals or in small groups, have them write a song they can take a melody that they already know and write new words to it or, if they are a bit musical, come up with an original melody.

  • Use games. Put students in small groups. One stude3nt begins a story with the opening sentence. Then each takes turns at the computer or table and adds a sentence. They keep going around until the story is complete. You can set a minimum length – you don’t want just a paragraph. There is a great game called the Five-Word Game. There are several variations of this game, but students will have to draw or be given 5 random words and use them in a piece of writing, either their own creative story, or in a book review or summary that they must write.

Grammar – Kids Hate it, but It Can be Made More Palatable

Students do have to learn sentence structure, verb tenses, paragraph and essay composition, and mechanics. Most would rather have a root canal than study grammar from a textbook. Rather than teach grammar per se, let kids learn it by exercises that are a bit more enjoyable.

  1. Read grammar exercises to them, rather than have them do them on a screen. Tell students, for example, that they must fill in the blank with a form of “to do” or “to make.” Read a sentence and let them decide as a class. Or, use your smart board, write the sentence and let them fill in the blank as a group.

  2. Write humorous pieces with faulty structure and grammar, bad spelling and incorrect punctuation. This is easy to do with Internet resources. You can “Google” humorous stories and get loads of them. Take one and re-write it with poor grammar. Put it up on your smart board, and have them correct it.

The point is this: Writing exercises for high school cannot be in the format that adults were taught at the same age. This is a new time and a new place. Make those exercises relevant, entertaining, and engaging.

Writing Exercises for College Students

By the time students get into college, the days of writing exercises are pretty much gone. Unless you are majoring in English, literature, film, journalism or marketing, you take a single English comp course which focuses on writing scholarly essays and papers, in an effort to improve formal writing skills for all of the essays and papers you will face in your other coursework. And, if you struggle with these skills, you, like many other students, can get help with your writing from essay writing services.

Journalism and Marketing

Writing exercises for college students will come into play, however, for students who are majoring in print journalism and marketing, for in these two major fields, writing for an audience requires some very specific skills that must be practiced and mastered. The types of writing exercises, however, will be very different from those that students encountered in high school. They will all relate to students’ major fields and will most often consist of organizing information that it to be included in press releases, news articles, content marketing blog posts and articles, and even the design of social media accounts and pages. And once that content is organized, they will actually write those posts, articles and press releases.

Film and Screenwriting

Students who major in this fine art will spend a great deal of time on writing exercises that develop story boards for plots and create character personas. They will write dialogue and descriptions of sets. They may even be asked to take screen writers’ favorite skits and/or episodes from popular shows or movies and re-write them.

Creative Writing Exercises for College Students

In addition to re-writing skits and episodes, an exercise primarily for film and screenwriting students, there are a number of creative writing exercises that students in journalism and marketing fields will also engage in. For example, taking a story or an event and crafting 5 different creative titles for the piece is a common exercise. As well, such students may be asked to take a rather uninteresting piece of content or news and re-write it, so as to make it engaging, captivating, or inspiring to a reader.

Conclusion

Developing writing skills begins the day children walk into their Kindergarten classrooms for the first time. It begins with verbal communication, stories, and exercises. It graduates to simple writing exercises during early elementary years to scaffolding learning in later elementary years.

By the time students are in middle and high school, they are using all sorts of technology in their completion of writing exercises, but still they are making those brain connections that are solidifying their writing skills.

Every college student is familiar with the dreaded English comp course required of all freshmen and the huge load of essay and paper writing they have during their college careers. While they are not completing formal writing exercises in the classroom, they do complete pre-writing exercises in order to organize their thoughts and organize themselves for crafting their essays and papers.

Many adults are in professions directly related to writing. It is up to them to identify their writing challenges and to locate activities and exercises that will overcome those challenges and become better writers for their professional futures.

We all write. We all need to keep writing, whether it is informal or formal. Writing helps our brains make important hemispheric connections and continue to develop critical ad creative thinking – both skills that will never be replaced by machines.

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