Creating content is essential for SEO. However, if you’re a blogger or content creator of some kind, chances are that you feel stuck from time to time. You’ve made the time to write, but nothing comes to mind. A writer’s block. This is where creative writing exercises can help: they give your brain the space it needs to dream up new concepts and connect them in unique ways. So, let’s explore some exercises to get your creativity flowing!
Writing exercises to spark creativity
Let’s start this list with my favorite creative writing exercise: freewriting. Freewriting is aimed at capturing your ideas as they occur, without any judgment. It comes down to writing whatever comes to mind about a specific topic for a set amount of time, without editing what you write straight away. You let the words flow from your fingers without pausing to question or criticize what you’ve written.
How to freewrite
How do you go about freewriting? You can follow these steps:
- First, set a timer for a certain amount of time – for example, 10 minutes.
- Then, pick a topic you’d like to write about. Having trouble coming up with a topic? Check out our tips to find inspiration. You can freewrite about anything.
- After you’ve picked something, start writing whatever comes to mind about the topic, and don’t stop until the time is up!
After you’re finished, take a look at what you’ve written. Are there any words, phrases, or sentences that you could use for your content?
2. Extend and advance
The second writing exercise I’d like to share with you is called extend and advance. This is an improvisation exercise, just like freewriting. Only this time, when the timer beeps, you’ll extend on whatever point you’re writing about at that point, to see where your thoughts take you. And, when the timer beeps again, you’ll advance to a new point.
How to extend and advance
So, how does this writing exercise work? Make sure to set a timer at certain intervals or keep track of time by watching the clock. The intervals could look like this:
- Freewriting to get your gears going (1 minute)
- When the timer goes off, extend on whatever point you’re at (1 minute)
- Advance to a new point (1 minute)
- Extend again on the point where you’re at now (1 minute)
- Advance to a new point (1 minute)
- Wrap things up! (30 seconds)
Extending and advancing can help you generate new ideas or explore old ones in a different way. Also, it’s an excellent exercise for improving your ability to write short content quickly.
3. Engage with your audience
Another writing exercise to get your creative juices flowing is to engage with your audience. If you have a blog, reach out to your readers, send them a message, or even schedule a call with one or two of them. Ask them questions like “what would you like to read on my blog?”, “what are you struggling with?”, or “what do you want to know about my product or service?”
This is a great way to find out what kind of content your audience would like to see. You’ll be surprised by the insights that come up, and you can definitely use those for your writing!
Read more: Audience research: how to analyze your audience
4. Use creative writing prompts
Finally, another fun way to work those creative writing muscles is to use prompts. There are lots of creative writing prompts available online, or you can create your own. Examples of these prompts are: write about the first day at a new job, write about navigating through an unfamiliar city, write about how to make the perfect omelet (or pizza!), write about what year you would travel to if you could time travel, and so on.
Need more ideas? Check out these writing prompt resources:
- 365 creative writing prompts by Thinkwritten
- Creative writing prompts by Writer’s Digest
- 31 blog writing prompts to break your writer’s block by HubSpot
Of course, there are also many SEO-proof prompts out there. You could use AnswerThePublic, for example. This tool allows you to enter a term and uses the auto-suggest results provided by Google and Bing to make a list of questions people search for concerning that term.
Do you have a blog about yoga? Try typing in “yoga” and you’ll see a list of questions, like “where did yoga originate?”, “are yoga blocks useful?”, and “will yoga build muscle?” This is a fantastic way to get SEO-proof prompts for your content.
Read more: Keyword research tools: which ones to use?
So, to sum up, with these creative writing exercises, you can improve your writing and produce some interesting insights! You could try freewriting, extending and advancing, engaging with your audience, or using prompts. I’d love to hear what your favorite writing exercise is!
And, of course, improving your writing skills is an ongoing process. After you’ve done these exercises, you could check out our tips on becoming a better writer, read how Yoast SEO’s readability analysis can help you write readable content, or check our ultimate guide to content SEO. Good luck!
4 creative writing exercises to improve your writing – Yoast.