4 creative writing exercises to improve your writing

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

1. Freewriting

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:

SEO-proof prompts

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.

Example of SEO-proof prompts generated by AnswerThePublic

Read more: SEO for sports, fitness and gyms: 5 tips to get you ranking »

Conclusion

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!

Coming up next!


18 Responses to 4 creative writing exercises to improve your writing

  1. Wilfredo Sanio-Brussel
    Wilfredo Sanio-Brussel  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for the Tip on the Free writing, words or thoughts without judging or questioning (oneself) right away.

    This seems to help the brain from automatically going back to the constraints that cause lack of new ideas in the first place !

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

      Hi Wilfredo, it’s great to hear you find it easier getting over your writer’s block with these techniques. Keep up the good work!

  2. Cian Pacifico
    Cian Pacifico  • 4 months ago

    Writers block is a common phenomenon for both professional writers and amateurs i guess. The only way to overcome it is to write. Like i am writing this comment. 😃. Nice post. Started following yoast articles a lot recently and is helping me to advance my SEO skills.

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 4 months ago

      Haha, you’re right, Cian! Just starting can definitely help you get going :) Thanks for your comment and great to hear that our articles are helping you with your SEO!

  3. Aditi Kapur
    Aditi Kapur  • 4 months ago

    Very useful blog. I have been facing writer’s block and needed this badly.

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

      Hi Aditi,
      Writer’s block can be tough! It’s good to hear that our blog post helped. Keep up the good work!

  4. Luciano Ascenzi
    Luciano Ascenzi  • 4 months ago

    mi arrivano le vostre mail e ogni tanto le leggo, sono sempre interessanti, anche questo

    • Camille Cunningham
      Camille Cunningham  • 4 months ago

      Grazie, Luciano!

  5. Ur Tutor
    Ur Tutor  • 4 months ago

    I follow this writing tips for blog creation and It really helps.
    Good work

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

      We’re glad you found it useful! Here are some more quick tips you can use to improve your blog engagement, if you’re looking for inspiration.

  6. Zola Johnson
    Zola Johnson  • 4 months ago

    Thanks for providing these tips! I’ve noticed that what works for me when blogging is engaging with my audience (finding what’s popular on social media), as well as doing SEO-proof prompts. I hope to keep doing these and find other ways to get inspiration.

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

      Hi Zola, we’re glad the tips are helpful for you.
      Using social media to find out what kind of content and trends your audience is engaging with is a great idea, too! Thanks for sharing, and keep up the good work!

  7. Chantal
    Chantal  • 4 months ago

    Excellent article. Thank you!

    • Amy Lees
      Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

      Thanks Chantal, we’re glad you enjoyed it!

  8. Baguio
    Baguio  • 5 months ago

    Hi,
    I’ve been doing my Freewriting routine since January, and I find it really helpful in engaging myself in different types of topics, but sometimes I find it hard to find inspiration. I’ve saved the link you’ve provided on How to find inspiration, hopefully It’ll come in handy.

    Thank you so much, this is really informative.

    • Edwin Toonen
      Edwin Toonen  • 5 months ago

      Thanks, Baguio! I hope the tips will prove helpful for you in the future.

      • AMAN
        AMAN  • 4 months ago

        Sir Please help me, I wrote All Thing Perfect in my Post After that why does not rank my post in Google
        SEO And Readibility are Good

        • Amy Lees
          Amy Lees  • 4 months ago

          Hi there! It’s great to see that your SEO and readability results are good.
          It can sometimes take a little while for Google to crawl new posts on your site (or updates you’ve made to existing posts). You could check again in a few days and see if your page is ranking yet. If not, then maybe it’s a good idea to read our Guide to Keyword Research and make sure you’re using a suitable keyword strategy. Good luck!